Reply To: Real Seriously Rough Water Self Rescue Practice: for discussion

Roland Stefani

I had forgotten about the Newton Wave pool practice session that Bob Maher mentioned.  But that had to be well over 10 years ago.  It was after my experience at that wave pool session that I got the idea of rough water rescue practice because I was dissatisfied afterward:   Honestly, I found doing self-rescue in the wave pool just as easy as doing it in flat water.   That was a surprise.  The experience left me wondering what it would be like in real world conditions:  cold water, fierce wind, white caps, etc.   Rather than risk learning about that in a real world experience that I might not survive,  the idea of doing rough water practice with safeguards logically followed.

Mike Gilbert asks: “Very few are skilled enough to be on the water in conditions requiring immediate action by Coast Guard.  Why would you want to be out there in the first place?”.    Exactly my point, though I am not suggesting the practice in hurricane like conditions (more below)!  Rather few are experienced  and that is exactly why a rough water practice session is needed.   Why go out unprepared or untested if we have options?

Part of the Coast Guard’s mandate is public education on water safety.    So I doubt the Coast Guard would not be willing to consider participating in a well-constructed proposal from SKABC..

It’s not that we would place people in a dangerous situation that is certain to require action by the Coast Guard.    I am confident we have leadership skill sets in SKABC that can address the on rough water challenges.  I don’t actually believe the coast guard will be needed to do an actual rescue with any high probability.  As always safety would be a priority and practice leaders would have the discretion up to the last minute of calling the event off if it just too fierce out there.   As well, I’m sure the leaders would test the concept on water themselves before offering it to the general membership.   Rather, the intend as I propose it is primarily for the Coast Guard to be on watch, firstly, to bail us out if a self or assisted rescue runs into trouble beyond the capabilities of the leaders to handle (unlikely).  Second, to provide feedback and suggestion for improvement.

I do believe we do need to wait for storm warning or big wind warning, otherwise it could be a wasted effort.    Every time I’ve kayaked Lighthouse, it’s been very mild.   The month of October or November is probably a good time to do it.