Skating safety

15 years ago

    The skating season will begin October 19 and with it come skaters of all ages and abilities. Keeping everyone safe is a major concern for ice arenas. Safety is handled by coaches and trainers during non-public sessions but assuring safety falls on the shoulders of the arena for public sessions.     Since the skills of each skater at a public session vary so greatly, allowing everyone to skate in a manner both enjoyable and safe can prove difficult at best. To help facilitate this a set of guidelines is posted in the lobby and arena with a set of rules posted at the entrance to the ice surface itself.
    The guidelines, called “Duties and Conduct of Skaters” are taken from Maine Law governing private arenas. These guidelines tell skaters that it is their responsibility to know their ability and to skate within it. The guidelines also inform the skater that it is their responsibility to maintain control of their speed and course and to be alert and observant of others. The guidelines then go on to tell the skater that the dangers involved are obvious; slips, falls, collisions, etc. and that by participating in skating they accept these dangers.
    The rules spell out actions and behavior that is dangerous or unacceptable and therefore not allowed. Breaking these rules has penalties that range from a simple warning to expulsion from the facility. These rules are enforced by Skate Patrol who are out on the ice at all times.
    The Forum handles rule infractions by a modified three strikes procedure. If the rule broken is minor a verbal warning is given, if the skater continues to break rules their name is written down on a list. Usually, once the skaters name is written down three times they are expelled from the facility and not allowed back for a week. A fourth offense means out for the season. We do temper this with younger skaters, allowing them one more chance if the parents speak to me and assure me that they have talked to the child and each know the consequences of continued misconduct. Of course, if the problem is a major one, the three chances are bypassed and the individual is dealt with according to the severity of the problem, up to and including legal action.
    Skating can be fun for everyone if we all follow the rules and make allowances for conditions and others.
    James F. Kaiser is Forum director for the city of Presque Isle. He can be reached at 764-0491 or online at