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Old 06-11-2011   #1
bv, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 6
Brown's Canyon Ghost Boat

I have been a long time reader of the buzz, this is my first post.

Yesterday on the ark,.just before widow maker i saw an upside down boat floating without anyone near it. after my group had passed widow maker i saw a large group of people with 1 boat eddied out river left. we eventually chased down the boat, flipped it back over, and tied it up to a tree river right just before raft ripper.

what really make me concerned, aside from the fact that not a single person in the group stayed with the boat, was that when i passed this group (who probably swam widow after they must have flipped in #7 on the stairs) and tapped my head to see if they were alright all i got were blank stares. eventually someone yelled that they had gotten everyone out of the water.

the reason i'm posting this is that private boaters should be aware of the signals we all use on the river, especially the "are you ok" head tap.

if you're not sure how to run the rapids, why not just wait for a commercial crew to come down and follow their lines? if you don't know what your'e doing stay off the water, or book a commercial guide. save yourself, and your friends, the trouble of long swims, ESPECIALLY at high water.

just my 2 cents....

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Old 06-11-2011   #2
Avatard's Avatar
portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,188
This reminds me of a few years back my friend was r4 ing his raft down a river and picked up a guy tossed out of a boat paddled by his friends who couldn't stop their boat to get him and assumed they'd just pick him up later along the highway

He said he had just been through two flips with the group.

My friend took him in their boat and by the time they caught up with his group he politely refused to leave their boat (i think he said there was no f'in way he was going back in that boat)

He then asked if they would be so kindly willing to take him all the way to the takeout and provide the lines for his friends to follow

Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 06-11-2011   #3
Highlands Ranch, CO Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 482
This happens all too often, new boaters which I whole heartedly encourage to get into our sport but start the wrong way and never go through any sort of training other than buying the gear. They should enroll in a guide training class that most outfitters offer as part of their early season training for new guides.

I remember something similar in browns in 95 or 96 just below the 7 stairs a new Sawyer oar came floating by then a second, and then the whole upside down fully rigged new aire. As other guides chased down the gear I went up the tracks to find two individuals missing a boat. They flipped in canyon door wave and have been walking since, I found them at big drop.

We reunited them with their lost gear and they followed us out.

This is something we are probably going to be seeing a lot this season, the water is high and is only going to get higher and stay high, there are going to be newbies out floating that will need help as well as people that have been floating a stretch for ever but it is only that one weekend every year and might not be familiar with higher flows in July.

So let's all keep an eye on each other and hope for a safe season.
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Old 06-11-2011   #4
CO.rafter's Avatar
up in them thar hills, Colorado
Paddling Since: 07
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 142
Very good positive idea, I know I have learned from mistakes and I am trying to not make more. And I'm always willing to help a new boater out. Bad shit happens even to the best, so lets help each other out there.
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Old 06-11-2011   #5
Plano, Texas
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 15
Brown's Canyon @ 3500cfs

We all started out swimming & flipping more than we do now. Wayback in 1985 after a couple of years rafting various rivers, I took "Far Flung Adventures" rafting school. One week on the Arkansas, that year was like this, running high & wild. Outstanding course, I learned in one week what it would have taken me five years to learn on my own. Here's the link:
Whitewater Rafting School
We all tend to boat with others who share our skill level. So who looks after the newbies?
Either way, we're going up there next week. 3500 cfs Oh yeah!
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Old 06-11-2011   #6
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 151
Tie up your boat

In terms of Browns Canyon Ghost Boating, make sure to tie up your raft. Especially when you don't think it's necessary, such as lunchtime. Also, remember that your boat floats much higher when you unload the heavy lunch cooler.

When forgetting this, you may be able to get your unmanned boat and yourself pursuing it in the same Zoom Flume picture. A cool thing to have in your portfolio...
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Old 06-12-2011   #7
Supply Chain Management
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 18
So, to turn this into a very helpful thread, instead of just a warning to people that they should learn more, what are the, "hand signals we all use"?

Also, are there courses like the one mentioned by H2ocst, but more local to the Colorado front range? I'm in Boulder, and my wife & I have been wanting to do a close course to learn more. To date, we always run the Upper Colorado the last few years, but want to get above that level so that we can eventually run Browns & others. But just, "upping the ante" by going to a new river that we don't know & is much tougher, seems stupid...
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Old 06-12-2011   #8
caspermike's Avatar
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,507
Hand signals
Patting top helmet. If someone is doing this to you it means " are you Okey" you pat your head back means good..

Couple others are crossed arms in shape of x means something probably happened in sense of injury. Hand over neck usually means someone is in serious need of help. Usually people point where to go. Lasso signal and direction to whatever bank is eddy out.. other ones have to do with directing people through rapids on hand signals..
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Old 06-12-2011   #9
colorado_steve's Avatar
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 284
i got a hand signal for you commercial guides.... just kidding. dont forget about whistle signaling. one blast to get someones attention. three blasts = emergency. all you commercial guides should learn these signals that we use on the river so you dont put us private boaters at risk
Oh! I don't take it lightly! I've always got to know
There's an old lion a roarin' n the river down below
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Old 06-12-2011   #10
Vailboater's Avatar
Vail, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 44
Basic hand signals and whistle blasts should be in every boaters bag 'o knowledge. However, I do know that different guide companies use different signals. Also, I know for a fact that Summit Co. swift water rescue uses different signals than Eagle Co.

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