Boating Liability

Boating events present good opportunities to engage current or prospective members in TU’s mission and to provide beneficial, on-the-water experiences for others. Boating events, however, present some risk of injury to the participants, and those events must be structured to minimize those risks. TU has prepared the following checklist for boating events sponsored by TU national, its chapters, and its councils. By complying with the items on this checklist for any boating event in which you are involved, you can help assure that your event will be safe. (The word “boats” as used here refers to any watercraft, including but not limited to float-tubes, kayaks, and canoes.)

To minimize risk of injury to the event participants, you must assure that:

  • All boats used in the event and their operators will comply with all of the requirements of federal, state, and local law concerning boating safety, including requirements concerning the wearing of life jackets/personal flotation devices by each person.
  • Regardless of the requirements of boating law, each boat associated with the event will have on it:
    • A throw-able, rescue rope
    • A life jacket/personal flotation device for each person onboard
    • A spare oar (if a drift or row boat)
  • No minors will be on a boat for the event. (If you have plans to include minors in your boating event, please contact the Vice President for Volunteer Operations well before the event.)
  • The body of water on which the event will take place is a safe environment on which to operate (Please contact the Vice President for Volunteer Operations well before the event if the event involves floating on Class 3 or more serious rapids.)
  • Your boat operators know the water on which the boats will be used and know how to operate their boats competently on that (If excess risk is present, if inexperienced boat operators may be used, or if you have any other concern about the safety of the event, please contact the Vice President for Volunteer Operations well before the event.)
  • No one associated with the event will use alcoholic beverages during the event.
  • All boats associated with the event are less than 58 feet

To assure that TU’s liability insurance will cover claims for any injuries that may occur related to the event, you must assure that:

  • No boats associated with the event will be used to carry people or property for a charge.

Please note that no part of TU (the national organization, chapters, councils, or the Coldwater Conservation Fund) should own any kind of boat. (If your chapter or council owns a boat, please contact the Vice President for Volunteer Operations before you use it in the event.)

In addition, to you must assure that:

  • Only boats that are separately insured for liability by their owners will be used for the event and proof of that liability coverage has been provided to the event (We understand that this is not possible in every case, and if that is true for your event, please contact the Vice President for Volunteer Operations before proceeding with the event. Approval for events in which uninsured boats are used can be obtained provided that the users of the uninsured boats are competent to operate their boats safely on the waters to be used for the event. )
  • A liability waiver is signed by each participant that has been reviewed by a local attorney. (A sample liability waiver can be found in the Tacklebox, but the standards for effective liability waivers vary from state to state. Thus, the form below should be reviewed by a local attorney before your event. To learn more, contact the Vice President for Volunteer Operations.)
  • A sheet describing in detail the physical activities that participants will be engaged in during the event is prepared and that that activities sheet is signed by each participant in the event.

If you have complied with the requirements of this checklist, you may proceed with organizing your TU- related boating event. We strongly encourage you to reach out to the Vice President for Volunteer Operations if you have any questions or concerns about the event.


TU Volunteer Leaders trainings are a powerful way to connect with resources, learn from fellow volunteers and grow your impact locally. Join us for the following in-person and online events:

In-Person Trainings:

2020 Annual Meeting
TBD Online Event Planned

2021 Northeast Regional Rendezvous
June 26-28 – Connecticut


Online Trainings:
View recordings of past webinars online at Online webinars are held at 8 p.m. EST unless otherwise noted.

June 4 – Planning for the Fall: What Activities Work Best (8PM)

June 9 – Tactical Succession Planning (8PM)

June 15 – Council Chair & Vice Chair Roundtable (5PM)

June 22 – Leaders Only Tools Section: Fedback from Volunteers (2PM)

June 23 – State of Eastern TU: Stories of Impact from the Field (8PM)


Your Volunteer Operations Staff is here to help! 

Nick Halle
Volunteer Operations Coordinator
(703) 284-9425
Contact Nick for:

  • Volunteer Leader Login Issues
  • Insurance Requests / Questions
  • Fundraising Program & Support
  • Membership Recruitment Tools
  • L.L. Bean Rod Donations

Lisa Beranek

Leadership Development Manager
(907) 205-0974
Contact Lisa for:

  • Leadership Recruitment & Development
  • Embrace A Stream Grants Program
  • Strategic Planning Support
  • Diversity Event Planning