Some "political" issues: Who Pays? I'm looking forward to Paddlesport 2011 here in Jersey, "The Largest Canoe & Kayak Show on the East Coast", next weekend. Marcus Demuth will be one of the presenters--the conqueror of the Falkland Islands, and now talking about his recent circling of the British Isles and of Tierra del Fuego. Demuth knows what he's doing, and has an excellent article in the Paddlesport mailer on Trip or Expedition Planning. Demuth urges the would-be expeditioner to bring both the SPOT personal communicator/locator AND a "real" EPIRP, and to make sure you know exactly what sort of rescue facilities will be available to you, should you need them. As it turned out, after have been forced onshore in a particularly remote part of Tierra del Fuego, Demuth and his party were rescued only by being seen by a private helicopter--this after being told via satellite phone that the Argentinian Coast Guard "does not own helicopters or all-weather lifeboats" and that "their boats were not made to rescue us in the violent conditions which raged without end in sight". I'll try to ask Demuth who paid for their rescue, after all was said and done.
One can pose legitimate questions, "political" questions: should people who get into trouble offshore or in the wilderness be presented with a bill for rescue services rendered? Should the taxpayers, like Magooch may be eager to do, pick up the tab? Should would-be adventurers, or even just weekend sea kayakers, be compelled to buy rescue insurance policies? I've got to buy auto insurance; the mortgage holders insist people buy homeowners insurance; yet there is an ongoing spasm about compelling people to buy health insurance. Tricky questions, maybe tricky answers. Inquiring minds want to know, any way you put it.