I thought it would be good to elaborate on a few more lessons...
Despite the fact that we paddle together a bunch (or maybe because of it), there is a lot of familiarity, which leads to little communication... everybody does their thing. When the shit hit the fan, we stll went about doing our thing, rescue wise, without really communicating our intentions. Now clearly there's no time for a pow-wow, but at the very least we could have been better at telling the person right next to us what we are about to do next. This would have saved some confusion, and perhaps the first swimmer might not have been left on the bank for 20min before someone got back to him. Coordination became rapidly difficult as very quickly we were spear over several miles of river.
In a river that is flowing high, should you be boat based or shore based with your rescue. For our first swimmer, there were three of us (me included) that could have exited and maybe prevented the swimmer from going under the long as he was grappling rocks on the bank 40 yards above the log, but couldn't quite get a grip.
I might be wrong on this, but I don't think a whistle was used to get the second swimmers attention as he floated by ( never heard a whistle during the entire incident). The opportunity to grab a bag in swift water is fleeting, far better if the person is ready for it. Even if he had grabbed it, could have he held on? When was the last time we all grabbed a throw bag in order to pendulum to the side in fast current? There's also the issue that failing to get him all the way to the side might have exposed the swimmer to the greater hazards near the right hand bank as opposed to the center of the rapid.
Originally Posted by Dave Frank
I have been removing my tether if I am paddling class 5, and I would probably want 3 minus to warrant clipping in. I usually just float along side the boat and wait for it to pin, unless it is super mellow, or I REALLY like you.
I do think they are useful for unconscious swimmer rescues and backup lines, even on class 5 runs (but in manageable water/situations).
Originally Posted by UserName
I am curious about how the rescue harness was worn. A friend of mine with little experience came to me a few weeks ago with his Stolquist rescue harness and wanted to know how to work it. It had the plastic toggle release buckle AND a metal clasp similar to a climbing harness. His intuition was to thread it through the metal piece, then back again through the metal piece, Then through the plastic release topple. I saw that and thought 'Oh my god, that thing will never release!" Looked it up on Stolquist web site and this full fold 'option' releases at over 1000lbs. So full on Chest harness. I told him to just use the plastic toggle. Point here is he had an idea what this thing was for, but no idea how to use it.
From training with tethers, during their design evolution in the 90's, it was found that the plastic buckle was not strong enough, or popped open, under the kinds of pressure experienced in normal rescue use. The metal buckle was introduced to add friction to the system and reduce pressure on the buckle. This system should release under pressure, but is more difficult to undo otherwise. Feeding the webbing back through the buckle would lock it off making it unreleasable. Of course practice with your gear in contrived situations is imperative.