|Alec prepares to do a reenter and roll.|
But over the years, we've observed plenty of well-meaning instructors teach techniques that are not efficient, effective or particularly safe. Troubled by this, we wrote stories for both Adventure Kayak and Sea Kayaker magazines on the T-rescue (the go-to assisted rescue) in which we explained current best practices.
|An image from our Sea Kayaker story, demonstrating how a victim can move safely from his boat to the rescuer's.|
- Sending the victim to the stern of his boat.
- Failing to ask the victim to flip his own boat.
- Lifting the capsized boat in order to empty it.
- Allowing the victim to swim from boat to boat.
- Letting go of the victim's boat during the rescue.
- Placing the victim on the bow or stern of the rescuer's boat.
- Failing to hold on tightly as the victim reenters his boat.
Each of these errors slows the rescue, increases the likelihood of injury, and diminishes the chances of success in all conditions.
We distilled the essentials of the T-rescue into a few key elements:
- Encourage the victim to flip his boat.
- Have the victim transfer to the rescuer's boat, maintaining contact by holding deck lines.
- Keep the victim in front of or behind the rescuer's cockpit during the rescue.
- Roll the victim's boat over and then edge away to empty it.
- Hold tight on both sides of the victim's boat and lean on his deck as he reenters it.
|If the rescuer edges away from the victim's boat, she can empty it without straining her back or shoulders.|
Shawna Franklin and Leon Somme of Body Boat Blade International recently released a Sea Kayak Rescues DVD that covers assisted and self-rescues in flat, dynamic and rough water. There's no better way to demonstrate the importance of good technique than to see how well it works in a coastal environment with ocean current, breaking waves and rocky shorelines. This instructional DVD does exactly that, showing how to quickly and safely return yourself or a capsized paddling partner to a boat. The demonstrations are done in real time and in real conditions. Because it's short (only 30 minutes), and favors action over talk -- and because it was shot by phenomenal filmmaker Bryan Smith of Reel Water Productions -- it's an exciting and compelling film (not the adjectives commonly associated with instructional DVDs).
Here's a preview:
Sea Kayak Rescues costs $25 and can be ordered here.
We are highlighting this one DVD because there are many books, articles and videos on sea kayak rescues, but all are not authoritative. This one is, and we're convinced that if more people learned proper rescue techniques and then went out and practiced them, there would be fewer tragedies on the water.