Re: Self-Rescue

Posted by Terry Mcadams on Jun 15, 2004

Nice post, Kurt.

It drives home a point that many seakayakers miss: Real conditions are not pools.

Also, the energy reserves one has in a pool will not necessarliy be there when you've been dumped into colder than expected water by a larger than expected wave in a worse than expected storm after a longer than expected day of paddling.

One other point is that relatively small bodies of water can get pretty rough if a bad enough thunderstorm blows up.

Another thing folks may not realize is that disabilities(back, shoulder, wrist problems, aging, poor conditioning) can be magnified by rough seas and fatigue. Take me, for example: I can only do a few rolls at a time, so I'll never be confident that I can roll my way out of trouble. Now, even if I could do more rolls, it's no guarantee I can get a broached boat upright and turned into or away from the waves before another knockdown. My solution, exit the boat, get up wind and hold on until someone can either help me get the boat turned, or haul my butt out of the water (last option may be preceeded by a emergency call on the VHF).

Now, waxing philosophical, some might argue that I shouldn't venture onto anything but very protected water at all, as I'll be putting myself, my paddle mates, nearby boaters and the professional search/rescue folks at risk, due to my limited self-rescue abilities. They may have a point. A similar point could be made for senior drivers, surfers, rock climbers and a myriad of other risk-takers. I guess the best that can be expected of such folks is that they limit the risks as best they can. I think this is all that most reasonbale folks will ask of risk-takers. The search/rescue folks don't want kayakers to stay off the water, only to try their best to limit their need for rescue, a need that can never be reduced to zero in a fluid environment like water (sorry for the pun).

So I never paddle alone, always watch the sky, wear the right clothing/pfd, carry the VHF, and hope I never have to ask others to risk themselves to save me.

Summer's here, all my northern hemisphere friends, and those nasty, short-notice storms lurk over every horizon. Careful out there, all of ya.


In Response to: Self-Rescue by Kurt Maurer on Jun 14, 2004