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Old 06-01-2006   #11
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
Rescuing a swimmer with a grab loop in class IV+ rapids is a challenge. Even if you can stay upright, you probably can't maneaveur like you have too.

A tow teather seems like a good option. Give the teather to a swimmer. It gives you room to maneaveur. Once you hit an eddy, you pop out of your boat and pull the swimmer in.

Besides a rescue vest, what about the Salamander waist bags with the quick release?

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Old 06-01-2006   #12
Tiggy's Avatar
Steamboat Springs, CO
Paddling Since: 1995
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Posts: 213
Running a rapid such as PC or Gore dictates slightly different safety protocol. For example 1 boat running at a time, usually the strongest boat. Running the read and run stuff there are several boats in a line and the possibility for multiple swimmers. On the big drops some sort of safety net is implied by sending the strongest boater first, followed by succesive skills. This reinforces the groups position on the river. The lead boat may have set up a throwbag, or otherwise has a good plan of attack for a rescue.
Setting up a rescue "on the fly" is much more frequent and more hectic than the "anticipated" rescue. However you get em to shore, do it quick and safely.

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Old 06-01-2006   #13
Colorado Springs Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 254
Just to add a point or two...

It is possible to roll with someone holding your grab loop. It's not ideal but I've done it before in Class III rapids and, on one occassion, the person hanging on was too busy swallowing water to realize that I had rolled.

Hauling someone on your grab loop is very hard work. Make sure they are kicking hard.

I can paddle faster if the person is on the back of my deck. This is very unstable though and I wouldn't want to be in a tiny modern playboat. Make sure they hold onto the cockpit, lay as flat as they can with their head down on the deck, and don't kick. So often they want to raise their head and look around, which makes things worse. This is most useful for ferrying someone back across the river to their boat but I've done it in mild rapids also where banging rocks would be an issue.
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Old 06-01-2006   #14
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 335
If you did a hand of God rescue and the person was still in their boat but unconscious,what then? just try to shove them into an eddy? what if you get them into the eddy, they flip again you blow the eddy,they are upside down upriver from you in an eddy thats difficult to get at from shore?Sorry if this is a dumb question,just curious how you would handle this type scenario.
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Old 06-01-2006   #15
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Summit, Colorado
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I see this as the ideal situation for the tether on the rescue vest. Hook it to one of the loops on their boat and try to push and pull them into an eddy. This keeps them close, which gives you better control over their boat and also leaves the possibility of a second hand of God, if necessary.

I second the idea of using a creek boat when you are planning on being the safety boater. One thing I really like that I've seen on some of the new creekers is the loops just behind the cockpit, in addition to the ones on the bow and stern. I've been told that these are installed more firmly than the end loops, which makes them more useful (less likely to pull out) in a pin situation. Also they work well because it allows a swimmer to grab on with both hands. From there it's easier to pull themselves onto the stern and someone who knows what they are doing can even help the paddler balance and stay upright through the rapids. As mentioned, the added stern volume of a creeker is a plus here and the additional speed of creekers would be a big advantage in both paddling with a swimmer and in getting ahead to setup rescue.

Throw bags: The best thing I've heard of recently is the poly wrapped around Spectra. Therefore, it won't stretch, but it still floats. I think this is a pretty cool idea. Anyone have any experience with one? Recommended brands that make these? Best place to get one? Length: Last situation I was in, my buddy's 55' wasn't enough but my 65' was. It was a minor situation on a small river, so I would say 65' should be the bare minimum.

I'm very disappointed in the number of people I see without knives. I learned that you don't even touch a throwbag if you don't have a knife. Question from the thread on the Bailey incident: someone mentioned tying your knife into your pfd so you don't have to worry about dropping it when the shit happens; anyone have a method of doing this in a way that doesn't increase the danger of tangling yourself or snagging on something?

Great topic. Keep it going.

"The world would be a better place if everyone kayaked."-Brad Ludden (Valhalla)
"You only get one chance to run a drop blind."-DD
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Old 06-01-2006   #16
pnw, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3,404
I have gone to a two knife solution. I have the dull pointed bear claw on my vest.....only negative to that knife is that it requires help to stay attached to the vest. In my vest pocket I have a very thin but very sharp gerber with a sharp point. It is a very light knife so I dont notice it at all. I cant believe that anyone would be on the river without a knife, two may be overkill but it works for me. I put the sharp pointed knife away so that I can use it if needed but make sure that I have to think about it before using it.
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Old 06-01-2006   #17
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Seattle, Washington
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Two things. Yes, I did forget to mention that safety boating without a creeker is a joke. I've seen exceptional paddlers do it, but even they would be able to help better with a creeker.

Second, I would definitely try paddling around with someone sitting on your stern before trying to rescue someone that way. It may work on pool drop rivers, but I've never seen it done on the continous colorado rivers that get safety boated.

Also, if you're around rafts, I would highly recommend a very sharp tipped knife to quickly deflate the raft in an emergency (wrapped with a person underneath).

Finally, carry a CPR mask and know how to use it. Near drowning and lightening strike victims are two of the most likely victims to be successfully resusicitated. Safety boating without a CPR mask is like being a working paramedic, but without an ambulance.
I guess that's four things.
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Old 06-01-2006   #18
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
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Count asked:
someone mentioned tying your knife into your pfd so you don't have to worry about dropping it when the shit happens; anyone have a method of doing this in a way that doesn't increase the danger of tangling yourself or snagging on something?
I've got my knife tethered to its holder on my PFD with a short piece of cotton string that will prevent it from getting lost if it falls out but that I could break easily in an emergency situation. I'd love to hear what others suggest.

My knife's a blunt-tip with only one sharp side to the blade - I've got the handle marked so I'll know at a glance which way the sharp side is facing (away from me and in a way that its ready to cut rope should I ever have to grab it in an emergency situation).

Joe Keck's certainly got a very good "point" about the sharp tip around rafts (and I'm a rafter) that I'll definitely consider when I soon go to replace my Gerber, which BTW, is starting to show cracking in the plastic handle. It may just be one of those trade-off situations where I'll get a blunt tip and just slice the raft if needed.

Any suggestions on knives that will safeguard against slicing flesh when cutting rope but still be able to puncture and deflate a raft quickly in the situation Joe mentioned would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for the input, guys.

--Andy H.
Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 06-01-2006   #19
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 272
I have a thick rubber band attached to my bearclaw knife that holds it in place nicely and will break easily in rescue mode. the boys at Confluence hooked me with this approach.

something else that i learned a couple weeks ago while chasing a boat down river is this:
when you put a throwbag in the back of your boat, make sure you don't have anything else attached to it, like booties or a water bootle and make sure the throwbag is secured to something sturdy in your cockpit. besides the obvious reasons, this could help someone chasing your boat downstream and could potentioanlly mean the difference in getting your boat or not. not to mention this would enable a quick throwbag rescue if you don't have to fumble with the water bottle and your buddy floats by. so keep your throwbag easily accesible for you and someone not familier with your setup.
while chasing a boat and struggling for quite a distance through the class 4 section below the Narrows of Clear Creek coming up to Rigor, i wasn't able to push the boat to an eddy (this fokker was HEAVEY) and thought maybe I could get to the throwbag inside the boat and pull the rope end out, leaving the bag attached to the cockpit and then get out of my boat to pendulum it to the bank. this plan would have worked awsome if there wasn't a water bottle beanered to the throwbag thus i couldn't get to it easily enough to not get my hand stuck. i had to continue to struggle and finally got it into an eddy above Rigor. does that make sense and/or sound safe?
"I would drag my balls across broken glass just to hear her fart into a walkie talkie" -Jay Drury
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Old 06-01-2006   #20
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I have a blunt tip but both edges are blades. I think I could probably jam one of the corners on the edge of the blunt tip into a raft if I needed to. This way I can still cut a rope wrapped around my arm fairly safely if I need to.

"The world would be a better place if everyone kayaked."-Brad Ludden (Valhalla)
"You only get one chance to run a drop blind."-DD
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