Video: Preparing for Emergencies
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Oh Rob. Oh no. Oh no. Ooooh.
Emergencies can arise quicker than you think. Most of the time on sunny, calm days, like today. And they’re scary. Your adrenaline is pumping. You could be tired out from a full day of paddling already. Chances are your mind is racing and you’re just thinking, “What do I do?”
Now what you do in any situation starts long before an emergency even arises. Now the best and safest thing is to try to prevent that emergency from even happening.
So, prepare for the worst and have a plan.
Too many lives are lost from drowning. So, let’s see what we can do to try to prepare for and prevent that from happening.
Wear a life jacket or PFD.
Make sure children and all in your party are wearing theirs too.
Don’t overload your boat.
Make sure passengers and gear are balanced.
Keep your body centered and low.
Keep moving or standing to a minimum.
Check the weather.
Paddle with a partner or in a group.
Don’t paddle beyond your skill level.
Learn emergency procedures, and visualize yourself in situations where you must use and coordinate them.
Make sure you know how to swim.
As you progress, take a class from instructors certified in the type of paddling you wish to pursue.
Carry safety gear appropriate to where you’re paddling, and know how and when to use them.
Wear appropriate head protection, such as helmets on white-water.
And finally, know the waters you intend to paddle and how to get help.
First, your rescue priorities—people, paddlecraft, gear.
Now let’s take a look at some common scenarios and walk you through what to do if you get in a bad spot.
Capsized in Open Water.
The best thing to do is get back in or climb on. This can be hard to do if you haven’t practiced, so make an effort to practice doing this in safe and stable conditions, with the guidance of a coach, prior to outings.
If you lose the boat, try to find something else that’s floating and signal for help.
Two, someone falls overboard and needs rescue. Get close. Point into the wind or current. Pull them aboard or tow them safely from the stern.
Three, pinned on a rock in a heavy current. Escape by leaning toward the obstruction, so the current can push the boat to one side.
Four, heavy waves in open water.
It’s easy to end up broadside to big waves and lose control. To avoid it, stay the same speed as the waves and don’t go out unless you’re experienced enough to deal with tough conditions. If you happen to come out of your boat, just make sure that you hold on to your boat.
Five, capsized and your buddy needs to be rescued.
You can go boat-over-boat to drain and set a boat back upright.
If the boat is MIA, you can tow a paddler on your stern.
Or, you can bulldoze your buddy’s kayak toward them if it’s drifting away.
Well, that’s some things to think about. Remember, keep in mind your situation and your abilities. If in doubt, don’t go out.
All right. We’ll see you out there. Stay safe.