Assisted Rescues & Re-Entries in Times of Covid

  • This topic has 1 reply, 2 voices, and was last updated 4 years ago by Maureen Benzon.
  • Creator
  • #18339
    Mike Gilbert

    I was asked to put this topic up on the Forum for either discussion, information or, simply, to just think about.

    We would all like to be able to get out paddling with safety in mind.  That means not catching anything that is Covid nor infecting anyone else with it.  I believe all of us are mature and responsible enough to understand that if we are feeling down and showing any possible symptoms of Covid we just excuse ourselves from participating and keep the curve flattening.

    But if we feel great and can say “No” to all the restrictive Covid protocols (not travelled; not in contact with anyone who has travelled; etc.), we would like to begin getting out there now that many places, including municipal, provincial and federal parks, are beginning to open up.

    One of my responsibilities as one of Paddle Canada’s senior instructors has been to go through our many programs (in my case, sea kayaking) and see where the difficulties might be for instructors and students / guides and tourists while on tour or taking a course relative to Covid protocols.  Once determined, it is then our focus to see what are the options.

    Whether it is on a course, touring or just out for a paddle with friends, the possibility of tipping and going over into the water is always real.  And so this is what we would like to focus on for this topic.  The idea here is to be able to safely and successfully know how to to an assisted rescue while still maintaining a 6 foot social distance if at all possible.

    Several Paddle Canada Instructors and Instructor Trainers have taken on this challenge and I know of at least 3 videos that have been created as a result – all showing different options depending on ability and sea state.  Have a look at them then go out and practice.  I have attached the links for ease of access.

    The first video is Mike Gilbert and Mike McHolm demonstrating their trial and error efforts. Please note the first two methods that they demonstrate did not work. The third and fourth method did, but here I would like to put in a word of caution that you need to be mindful that you could snap your paddle doing either of these two methods, so practice with a cheap paddle, or wooden Greenland paddle. None of these methods have yet been tested in dynamic water.

    The second video is an effort between Jericho Beach and Deep Cove kayak. The two methods here seem to work well, but they have yet to be tested in dynamic water.

    The third video is posted by Dave Dreves Kayak and involves using a stirrup or rope. This lends a better degree of stability as it is holding the two kayaks together. However, this would take a minute longer to set up, and also has not been tested in dynamic water.

    There are also some senior instructors within the club who have also done some experimentation on their own or with others.  If you have the chance to get out with any of them before going too far on paddle trips I would highly recommend you do that.

Viewing 1 replies (of 1 total)
  • Author
  • #18340
    Maureen Benzon

    I do like the method where you climb over the rescuers boat and into your cockpit. The stirrup is probably not needed as the bow of your rescuer would be an easier climb than onto your own back deck (depending upon the size of boat of course).

    The only other method I can think of is an assisted bow rescue. The swimmer gets back into their boat while their boat is upside down. In reality it would be angled toward the rescuers boat and they will already be holding onto the rescuers bow, making it more of a scoop than a re-entry and roll. This has the disadvantage of having to pump the water out the boat.

    May I add that in that in these circumstances, our risk assessment before we leave the shore is even more important. Our risk assessment covers: land, sea, weather and the group!

    We are talking about people who have no symptoms (or they should not be in a group) and are in a healthy outdoor setting. If someone capsizes, someone WILL go to the rescue, so don’t paddle in conditions border line to your skills until this epidemic is over. Do not put yourself in a position where you could cause a friend or associate to be in a risk condition. Be sure to discuss this before you launch.

    And on that note – happy paddling everyone.  Stay safe!


Viewing 1 replies (of 1 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.