Author Topic: PLEASE READ: Safety equipment considerations when running rivers  (Read 4652 times)

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Offline ChristianG

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Hi Ray. I've modified the original post to address your concerns. --C.

Offline Late Ray

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Editing this post:

I also highly recommend a Swiftwater Rescue (SRT) course as it can be a life saver.  On ANY whitewater river you can be in a situation that goes wrong really quick and knowing what to do can keep the situation from escalating, save some equipment, or save a life.   

At a bare minimum, if you bring gear, learn how to use it properly and safely.  A pigtail can drown you if not installed and used correctly.  A throw rope is not effective if you haven't practised throwing and reloading it.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 04:36:30 PM by Late Ray »

Offline ChristianG

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PLEASE READ: Safety equipment considerations when running rivers
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2011, 06:55:04 PM »
Hello all.

For many of you, the 2011 season is just beginning. For some of us however this season has already been eventful and provided opportunities to ponder safety issues. I would like to take the occasion to review what I consider to be the bare minimum that EVERYONE should have when participating in runs like the Ottawa, the Gatineau or during park'n'play. In no particular order:

--A boat in good condition WITH FLOATATION BAGS. Specialised floatation systems for open boats, two floatation bags in the stern for playboats, and for larger boats: in addition to stern bags, some floatation in the bow in front of the bulkhead.

--A throw bag, with at least 50' (15 m) of floating rope, at least 1/4" (6.4 mm) thick (so-called 'regulation' throw bag--longer and thicker lines are preferable). Paddlers should be proficient at accurately throwing and quickly reloading their bag, and when they get out of their boats near whitewater, they are to TAKE THEIR THROWBAG WITH THEM: a throwbag left in a boat is useless.

--A Personnal Floatation Device with at least 15 lbs of buoyancy, with a pea-less whistle (a river knife with blunt end is recommended as well). A multi-impact helmet, well-fitting. Clothing appropriate to the air and water temperature, river booties or other kind of shoes.

--Drinking water for the day and a snack.

Collectively, the group should also carry at least one break-down paddle, 5-6 carabiners, a rescue belt (carried by an experienced paddler who knows how to use it safely) and a first aid kit.

This is the minimum, and I recall many situations requiring it. For instance, without floatation, boats are next to impossible to retrieve in the event of a swim, can endanger rescuers, and may end up way way downstream (or unrecoverably pinned, as happened to a certain WaveSport EZ on the Rouge a couple years ago...). Also, as a few members can attest, paddles DO break seemingly without reason sometimes! And occasionally feet, knuckles or faces get damaged and it's nice to be able to patch them up right away. People get hungry, dehydrated... Finally, and I can not stress this enough, throwbags are extremely important and should never be left in your boat when scouting rapids. Imagine the feeling of helplessness if someone slips and falls in the water and you can only watch because you left the rope behind...

We encourage everyone to acquire training in wilderness first aid, whitewater rescue etc. as well. Ok, that was it, and see you all soon on the water!

--Christian Gigault
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 02:03:58 PM by ChristianG »