Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Safety Gear

A friend emailed me about a rescue article in the new issue of SeaKayaker Magazine, luckily it has a good ending, it also involves use of an EPIRB.   She suggested I post a list of the signal/rescue/safety gear that I ususally carry.

Some think I'm a bit over the top regards the safety gear I carry.  I just explain I'm BCU trained, and of course I usually follow the WaterTribe's required equiptment list.

So here is my list (with some associated links) of the gear I usually have on me during multiday trips or a WaterTribe event.

In or on my PFD:
  • whistle
  • knife
  • strobe light
  • PFD light
  • small red light (my white stern light is hidden behind me)
  • small backpack with fire starter, space blanket, warm cap 
  • powerbar
  • flare gun + 3 flares
  • lazer flare pen
  • PLB EPIRB (I rent)
  • VHF radio
  • hand-held compass
  • GU pack
  • nose plugs
  • personal tether (with quick release) to attach me to boat, or to get a leg up 
  • small roll duct tape (larger repair kit in kayak)
  • Ibuprophen (larger first-aid in kayak)
  • small bottle liquid skin (my cuticles are always getting ripped)
  • lip balm
  • reading glasses
On my deck:
Under my deck easily accessible:
  • 3 Smoke flares + extra aerial flares
  • kayak hand pump (also foot pump installed)
  • paddle float
  • tow belt
  • cell phone in dry bag (which I can talk thru)
And yes, I have actually done a float test to make sure that with all this gear my PFD does still provide fotation :)

Coming into CheckPoint #1 during Everglades Challenge 2005

I am making a few changes for this years EC, regards how I store accessible gear.  I've usually used a deck bag, but wanted to simplify the deck a bit.  So this year I'm wearing a drybag fanny pack to store snacks and sunscreen and hydropel.   I"m also going to install the NorthFace Under Deck Bag.  It's not a dry bag, but I'll use it to hold spare batteries (in a small dry box), my spare GPS, waterproof flashlight and headlamp, charts.  My kayak has a day hatch, but still not easily and immediately accessible as it's so big, it takes a bit of rooting around for things.

Last year I put in a bungie system under my deck in front of the cockpit, this holds my hand pump, paddle float, smoke flares, and cell phone, all clipped in.  All of this will still fit nicely above the under deck bag.

And I am going to install a hydration system in the kayak.  It's just too much weight to carry a camelbak on my back, and too hard to change it out while on the water.  I saw what looked like a good setup on this website though I won't be putting mine in the day hatch, but will attach a bladder to the hull in the cockpit behind my seat.  Kristen (KiwiBird) and David (Floatsome) are all coming over on Sunday and well start drilling holes and get it done, with only a few days left before the event.

Certainly a lot stuff and weight added, and all very secured.  I believe this extra weight stored in the cockpit (and especially under the deck) will have little effect on paddling primarily because the kayak is fully loaded for expedition.   I would not do this with an empty kayak.


Cowboygrrl said...

Sandy thanks so much for posting this information. Hand bllisters can be a problem in heat; going to be hot for my race in Sept. I've never used Hydropel. Would this be appropriate for hands?

SandyBottom said...

Although you can use it for feet etc... hydropel is what I use for my hands, as do others. A small pea sized amount applied every few hours works like a charm if your paddle tends to cause blisters.