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4:58 am
July 4, 2013



posts 172


Here is an article from Don Corkran that I felt we should all read. I hope that he doesn't mind that I borrowed it.

Many ‘accidents’ are avoidable safety violations

JUL 3, 2013
I first penned this column for B.A.S.S. Times in September 1991. Now, 20-plus years later, I had hoped that it would not be necessary to re-publish.

Unfortunately, I was wrong.

I have done a little editing to update the message, but the message is still the same: Most of the things we label as accidents are simply violations of accepted safety practices — or in other words, things we did that we should have known better than to do!

When delivered in person, I usually begin this dissertation by asking the audience to define “accident.” Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines it as “an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance” and “an unexpected happening causing loss or injury which is not due to any fault or misconduct.” My simplified definition is that an accident is an act of God; everything else we commonly call an accident is, in reality, a violation of accepted safety practices or just a lack of good old common sense. Let’s look at some common “accidents” and judge them against these definitions.

  • A driver who has had little sleep is towing a boat late at night, in horrible weather. Somewhere between the lake and home he runs off the road and overturns his vehicle. One person is killed and another seriously injured.
  • A boat operator is running at full throttle without a PFD or an engine “kill” switch attached. While making a sharp turn, he and his partner are thrown out of the boat. The engine still running, the boat turns, hits and kills the driver.
  • A tournament boat encounters a strong thunderstorm. Rather than seeking shelter, the contenders decide to continue fishing through the storm. Lightning strikes one of the anglers, causing serious injury.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. Unfortunately, all three of the above “accidents” have happened to B.A.S.S. Nation members over the years, but do the circumstances warrant the term “accident”? To determine if they were accidents or safety violations, we must ask ourselves a series of questions. To classify these events as accidents, the answers to all of the following questions must be an unequivocal “yes.”

Was it an unforeseen or unplanned event? Certainly unplanned, but was it unforeseen? That’s questionable, but for the sake of discussion we’ll give it a “yes.”

Was it an unexpected happening causing loss or injury? We’ll give this a “yes” as well, although that, too, is questionable.

Was it an unexpected happening causing loss or injury that was not due to any fault or misconduct? Certainly not!

In my humble opinion, the test for “fault or misconduct” is the true test of an accident and the one that most incidents fail. This philosophy is what guides my “act of God” definition. If you accept my analysis of these sample incidents, then you must also agree that none of them meet Webster’s or my simplified definition of an accident.

Why is this English lesson important? When we use the term “accident,” we tend to alleviate blame and dismiss the incident as unavoidable or “just one of those things.” If we recognize safety violations for exactly what they are and examine them to determine cause, we could make great strides to reduce needless loss.

Over the past 20-plus years under the B.A.S.S. Nation insurance program, we’ve had many serious losses and fatalities. When I analyze each of those losses, I rarely find that they can pass this stringent test of an “accident.” Almost all of them were preventable safety violations or lapses in judgment. I don’t mean to hurt or offend anyone by this statement, but if saying it saves one life, it was well worth saying.

So come on, Nation leadership and members, let’s lead the charge. Let’s all show our genuine concern for safety by practicing those things that we know are right and by correcting others who take safety lightly. Let’s stress safety in our tournament briefings and club meetings. Let’s put safety first!

Will this emphasis make some members angry or upset? Sure it will, but those are probably the ones who need reminding the most.

Originally printed in the August 2012 issue of B.A.S.S. Times.

Mel Hedrick
2013 Maple Bassmasters
Tournament Director

5:57 am
July 4, 2013



posts 172


I posted this article because I want you all to understand why safety is more important than getting the "early bite". As Maple's elected Tournament Director you placed this responsibility squarely on my shoulders the day you put me in the position. I recieve no compensation for doing this job and I do my best to make sure we fish the right lakes at the right times and our lodging is as convenient and cost effective as possible. There are many times that my tournament day is affected by members needing help on the water or at the ramp. I do not get to prepare for the day the way you all do because I have to ensure that everyone is at the ramp and can get on the water and collect the fees and I am always the last one to leave the tournament site. I guess what I am trying to say is that generally my job is not a fun one nor one that gives me any advantage in a points race. I do it because Maple is a CLUB with a long history and the reputation of being the finest one in Illinois. You see, this is all about being a club and looking out for each other! It is not about the Early Bite or "the start time is the start time" and it is not about Mr Bass or the six man team. It is about helping each other and making sure that everyone has a fun and safe time! We go to ramps that are difficult to put in on and we have several co-anglers that are not proficient at backing a trailer in yet and it often takes longer to help those boats get on the water. When they are rushed it just becomes an accident waiting to happen. The weather is what the weather is and I am always going to go with what I think is the safest and most enjoyable path for this club. It may entail later start times or changing a ramp and all the grumbling comments and having guys upset with me but here is the deal…YOU gave me a job to do and I am going to do it! Remember we ARE NOT the Elites and we are not fishing for $100,000. We are fishing to have a fun time on the water and to make it safely back home to our families. We should all keep that clearly in mind at all times and we should be traveling in pairs and we should all be helping at the ramps and any other time a member needs help and most of all, Remember we are a CLUB! Smile

Mel Hedrick
2013 Maple Bassmasters
Tournament Director

1:35 pm
July 7, 2013

Mike U


posts 201


Well  "said".  It's real easy to judge the job someone is doing-when you are noty willing to do that job.  No complaints by me-you do a great job, Mel.  Not at predicting the weather-at being the tournament chariman. Laugh

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