Thursday, May 31, 2007

Paddle Safety

While I'm "preaching to the choir", my previous post this morning, I'd like to say a few more things about paddling safety, at least my philosophy.

It's a no-brainer that water sports have an inherent danger. Kayaks and canoes go in the water, we breath air. Preparation is the only way to prepare for this.

With regards safety, I place wearing a PFD as primary, having skills with rescue practice secondary, and having the appropriate equipment third.

Preparation includes having and knowing how to use the right equipment:
- Basic water safety equipment (PFD, whistle, flares etc...)
- Rescue equipment
- First-aid kit
- Repair kit
- Hypothermia kit or all weather kit
- Spare paddle

There is much on the web about the contents of these kits, I'll not go into detail here.

Probably the most important issue for me is wearing a PFD. As a paddler, a kayak instructor, swift water rescue technician, and more importantly a mother trying to set the right example. I ALWAYS wear a PFD, and have made it a rule (which I rarely break) not to paddle with those who don't.

Interestingly most races do not require that PFDs be worn, only kept in the boat. I don't agree with this philosophy. Of course I understand the hassle, and I certainly understand and have experienced the chafing.

Safety is more important.


Michael said...

Since beginning to paddle 10 years ago or so, I have twice gone out without my pfd. Both times I knew it was wrong, but went anyway. Both times I returned within minutes feeling stupid and naked without it. A good feeling to have. Hopefully I won't have to feel it any more, unless, of course, I really am stu.... na, I'm not!

Silbs said...

I constantly struggle with whether or not to use a pfd when in my SOF and wearing a tuilik which gives me lots of floatation. Of course, the boat is meant to never wet exit since I am "jammed into" it. More or less a roll or die situation. BTW, I am wondering where you "sea" kayak in your area.