SWBA incident reports now shared with American Whitewater

Working with Charlie Wallbridge, American Whitewater’s Accident Database Manager ensures SWBA incident data leads to improved safety.

PSI Global is pleased to announce that the SWBA Incident Reporting System now automatically provides a copy of submissions to Charlie Wallbridge who oversees American Whitewater’s Accident Database.

The American Whitewater Accident Database catalogs over 1600 fatalities and close calls on whitewater rivers dating back to 1972. The project was initiated over 40 years ago, in 1975 when a fatality occurred due to foot entrapment at a slalom race. Charlie Walbridge was present for the race and described the risks of foot entrapment for the first time in a 1976 issue of the American Whitewater journal. Charlie continued to collect reports and share lessons through the American Whitewater Journal. In 2001 American Whitewater Safety Chair Tim Kelly led an effort to develop the American Whitewater Safety Database and in 2017 the database was further refined with enhanced search functionality through a website interface. There are three good reasons for writing (or sending in) a whitewater accident report: it provides an opportunity to get the real story out, serves as a learning opportunity that can educate the paddling community, and it facilitates dialogue with river managers and decision makers. American Whitewater depends on its members to forward the reports and information on accidents on the water. First-hand accounts are best, but information from a newspaper article or social media post often provides the initial information that ultimately leads to more in-depth review and follow up.

PSI’s Director Dr Steve Glassey says “We have a unique opportunity to introduce an incident reporting system from the onset of the the SWBA system and this will drive continuous improvement and provide stakeholders confidence that there is also third party independent analysis of related activities”.