Thursday, May 24, 2018

Is there anything less exciting than insurance? this is actually exciting!

You may know that to supplement my income I do drone based photography and film work. The fact is that there isn't great money in the outdoor instructor game - if I had been smart I would have been an outdoor guide. The pay is better for guides and they get tips! But alas I am an outdoor educator, and so I try and find other revenue streams. Since my background is in photography and film, when the FAA started the commercial drone "part 107" certification I was literally the first on board. I passed my FAA test on the first day it was possible to take it. In fact I have to recertify this august.

When I work a commercial flight I use a company called Verifly for insurance. As you can tell be the name they started as a company specifically to offer flight insurance to commercial drone pilots. Just before I get airborne, I open the Verifly app and based on my location I pay for an hour of insurance. It ranges between $10 and $25 an hour (usually in the $10 to $15 range). It is simple, inexpensive and easy to use. 

So what does this have to do with the outdoors or kayaking? Before I worked for a major outdoor REtaIler (see what I did there!) in their outdoor education arm, I taught kayaking privately. I did this for years. It was all cash, and I actually made pretty good money. When I lived in New York, I charged $125 a lesson, with a lesson lasting around 2 hours. When I moved to North Carolina I had to drop my price to $75 a lesson. NC is a very different market. There was also less demand, in NY people have no problem paying an expert in their field a lot of money for private lessons, in the south it seems that people prefer a group environment. But I digress, I did all this private teaching off the books and without insurance. I kept my fingers crossed and prayed nothing bad happened. The reason being that insurance was incredibly expensive and I would never know when I would need it. 

But while I was cooking dinner tonight I got an email from Verifly, announcing a new product. Actually a new app, called Verifly - general liability. You can use their app to be general liability insurance from an hour to a month, starting at $5. I checked the list of occupations that it works with and was thrilled to see under the title of "Guides" 

  • Canoe & Kayak Guides
  • Fishing Guides
  • Float Trip Guides
  • Hiking Tour Guides
  • Nature and wildlife Guides
  • Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Guides

Now I would like to check and make sure that "Guides" includes instruction, but I am assuming it does. This opens up all sorts of possibilities for private or self employed paddlers. 

I find the list of occupations that it won't cover really interesting. From the outdoor perspective it doesn't cover rock climbing which is a shame. Here is a partial list:

Ineligible operations
  • Acrobatic, aerialist, or stunt performers
  • Amusement device, rides or inflatables operators
  • Operations involving non-domestic animals
  • Exotic dancers, strippers, or adult entertainment
  • Operations involving weapons
  • Hypnotists
  • ATV tours
  • Horseback trail rides
  • Hunt clubs
  • Rock climbing
  • Skiing or Snowboarding
  • White water rafting

I find this list interesting, because it doesn't seem to make a distinction between flat water kayaking and whitewater kayaking, it just says kayaking guides. But it excludes white water rafting, which would lead me to believe they should really eliminate white water kayaking guides. I also find it odd that hypnotists are on that list of ineligible operations. 

This service isn't available yet in my state - which was the same case for the flight insurance at first - but I am sure within a few months it will be.

UPDATE: I asked Verifly if Canoe/Kayak guides included instruction, they quickly got back to me and said that they had updated the list. It does in fact include instruction. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Book Title?

Good afternoon everyone!

Book 2 is mostly completed. I am finalizing the layout, and then it will get one more round of proof reading. And while the book has had several working titles, I haven't finalized anything.

So take this survey monkey and help me out.

It will take about two minutes to complete.

If you are unaware, the book is about planning outdoor trips. I highlight three trips in the book, a weekend backpacking trip, a ten day cycling trip, and a month long paddling trip. It uses these three trips to create a framework that anyone can use to plan outdoor adventures.

Take a moment and help me out if you can.