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Trip tips

During our research, Marketplace talked to all sorts of experts with valuable insights and advice for Canadians interested in adventure sports. Here's what they had to say on waivers, tour operators and parasailing safety.

 

Advice for the aspiring adventurer

Waiver and liability lawyer Barbara Stratton offers shocking advice on how to prepare for adventure travel.

 

 

DID YOU KNOW?

If a waiver contains a clause you're not comfortable with, you can cross it out and initial it. It may not always work, Stratton warns, but it's worth an attempt.

"Sometimes I've had to put the clause back in and sometimes I've gotten away with it so it just depends. But it's certainly something you can try."

 

What can the average person do to help ensure their safety?

"It's about asking questions, and it's about getting honesty out of the operators," says outdoor guiding instructor Jeff Jackson. "So, whenever someone reads a waiver and they see a clause that sounds kind of surprising, you should bring that up and [say] 'explain to me what this means.' Now, [you can] make a decision on whether to participate or not. I think that holding your operators to account is absolutely legitimate and no operator should be offended by a real question."

 

"You're giving up your legal rights"

Danielle Gallo suffered a concussion and neck injury after a terrifying zipline collision in Whistler, B.C. She now works as a lawyer in Toronto, and has a warning for adventurers about how powerful waivers can be.

 

TAKING SAFETY SERIOUSLY

Jeff Jackson's advice on recognizing responsible tour operators:

"If an operator is making fun of your questions or blowing them off and being inappropriately humorous— I understand the humour is sometimes to kind of unload the stress level a little bit, but when they’re not taking the question seriously and answering the real questions, that’s probably cause to wonder."

 

Tips for prospective parasailers

Maritime lawyer Kevin McLaughlin says he's seen "too many cases where people have tragically lost their lives or been critically injured" while parasailing. In this clip, he talks to Tom about waivers and offers advice for Canadians planning to parasail.

 

Before takeoff

Even if you've signed the waiver and are ready to parasail, there's one last thing to consider. Mark McCulloh, founder or the Parasail Safety Council, explains.