Ouch! Seeing that woman get smacked full force with the edge of the paddle blade gives me the willies. As if I really needed another reason to wear a helmet on when I go boating.
I posted a link to the video over on the Grand Canyon Private Boater's Assoc. (GCPBA-dot-org) list because there was a thread debating the usefulness of helmets in rafting recently (it comes up about once a year). I did so mainly for the benefit of one member in particular, an attorney working in outdoor recreation litigation, who continually denies that there is any documented evidence of rafting injuries that could have been prevented wearing a helmet. The guy cites a study of accident reports, states that river velocity isn't enough to cause a concussion, and all kinds of stuff that just doesn't seem to fly but may convince a jury box full of people that don't know anything about whitewater.
For me, this video shows a major reason why commercial outfitters often put their custys in helmets on Class III or higher water and why I like to wear one in that kind of water - not necessarily because of rocks in a swim situation but all the things that you can hit your head on or get hit by.
Richard Martin ("Ricardo"), who led the GCPBA through the CRMP negotiations and had a major hand in increasing private boater access to the Grand Canyon, had the following observation on how the boat's loaded that folks here may be interested in as food for thought:
Aside from the discussion of helmets - I'd say, in my opinion the boat is somewhat overloaded with 16 people on board. I don't mean overloaded weight wise, I mean people management wise.
One of good boatman's jobs is to keep track of the folks in an emergency.That's a lot of people to keep track of, six of them are small children. A flip would be hard to deal with with people of all sizes and skills all over the place.
Also an illustration of what's wrong with "going for the gusto" - running directly into a hole for thrills when there appears to be a smooth run to the left of the raft - with a boat load of novice boaters and small children on board.
I know this makes me sound grumpy, etc (really I am a fun loving guy)
- but hey - I've been around more than one unfortunate incident when someone decided they were going for the hole cause it's cool - including a broken ankle. Pulling people out of the water, air evacs, etc. is the kind of fun I'd rather skip.
Granted its a pool-drop rapid shown but a flip, definitely possible in that hole, with that many folks could be a pretty significant cleanup operation. Rounding up 16 swimmers could foul things up and cause cascading (the phenomenon of having one mishap "cascade" into subsequent mishaps and swims because they get into trouble while busy responding to the original emergency situation), especially if they have another rapid shortly below the raft-flipper.
Just something to think about as we're going into the off-season...