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Old 11-26-2005   #1
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 646
Breathing air from your boat in emergency

What are opinions of the article in the latest AW magazine on setting up an emergency breathing system using air from your boat. They compared it with the Rapid Air system, but instead of using a tank on your chest, they suggested running the hose into your boat, possibly even to the float bags, to breathe the air.

To me, it generally sounds like a reasonable system, but I see two glitches: a big part of making it work is having the mouth piece in the right position so you can put your mouth on it without using your hands. This is pretty tricky. It would probably take a special mount on a PFD. Getting the mouth piece right is crucial for the Rapid Air system.

Also, I don't like the idea of breathing air from your float bags. Seems too complicated. Just breathing air from your boat should work better.

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Old 11-29-2005   #2
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1
Hey Bas what's up? This is Eddie in OKC. In a pin situation at what piont do you not panic and grap for your mouth piece, if the skrit implodes your screwed unless your breathing from your float bags. Also if pull the skirt trying to exit. DR Mafia has a breath tube that takes air from the bulk head, basically the float bags.


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Old 11-29-2005   #3
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 831
I carry a Quick Air tube that is stashed in my boat. It is for use on a paddle partner. I think the most likely scenario in which one of these things would be useful would be when someone is pinned with their head "kind of" above the water.

If I pin solidly I am going to immediately put 110% effort into getting out or die trying.

I own both a Rapid Air tank and several Quick Air hoses. I have found them to be a huge distraction and no longer carry the tank. I carry the hose, but not for self-rescue. I found the valves for the Rapid Air and Quick Air to be flaky and that is why I won't consider them for self-rescue.

I keep losing the O-ring that keeps water out of the breathing tube. It is not propertly sized and easily falls off. If the O-ring is gone then water will come into the tube. If you blow on the tube to try to get the water out then your breath will go out the sides of the valve and the water would stay there because the tube is designed so your exhaled breath never enters the tube (to avoid re-breathing). I think the only way to empy a Quick Air tube would be to drink it. This is bad if you are using the Rapid Air tank in an have to I really think this tube is empty? Do I trust this valve that can't even hold an O-ring properly? Should I be drinking or breathing? I know because I tried unsuccessfully to use the tank when I was getting worked once (bad idea....just use it for a pin) and I ended up getting messed up in a swim.

If you are helping someone else by using a Quick Air hose you can rip the valve off if the O-ring has fallen out (but only if the tube isn't too slippery and your hands aren't too cold...I have practiced ripping the valve off and it ain't easy at all). My O-ring has fallen out while the Quick Air was stowed in my boat during a day's paddling....maybe cold water caused it?
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Old 11-29-2005   #4
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
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...shrinkage...hate it when that happens. So embarrassing.
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Old 11-29-2005   #5
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Summit, Colorado
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I thought the article posed some interesting ideas. Breathing is good, especially when in a pin situation. I think some sort of rig like this is a good idea, especially if you're running something with high pin/entrapment potential. The float bag and boat provide a great source for such a survival rig, but there are a few issues I have with the set-ups I've heard about:

1. It needs to be very easily accessible as many situations either pin the body or obstruct movement (reaching behind your seat may not be an option).
2. What if you are pinned/trapped when swimming? Air from your boat will probably inaccessable, unless you end up under your boat (highly unlikely). This also brings up the issue of the float bag rig: you have to be able to get your float bag out of the boat if you are not with your boat (so you'll either have to only partially inflate your float bag or deflate it while pinned).
3. If dealing with tubing, you should have a knife on your vest (even if you're not dealing with tubing, most people should carry a river knife anyways).
4. Practice would be a must with a system like this.

As a sidenote, I would think rebreathing air, while not recommended, would not be a bad thing in an emergency situation because the average person exhales 16% oxygen (courtesy Red Cross), so you can breath all the air in the bag/boat/device once and then rebreath it a second time, just with 16% of the yield. This could add valuable minutes in such a situation. Anyone know if or why this rebreathing scenario is bad?

"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 11-29-2005   #6
Join Date: Jan 2005
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This is basicly the same as an old school scuba idea from where a diver that is out of air breathes from his vest.
The down side from that is the mold/mildew/funk that grows in a moist enviroment from when you inflate your vest/floatbags then let them sit all season reinflating them as needed.

But I would rather be breathing funky air than water anytime.
And in ANY near drowning the person should see the DR. as soon as possiable and the DR. should be told you were breathing funky air and can give you antibiotics just in case.
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Old 11-29-2005   #7
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Thought-criminal, Colorado
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When I read that article I was wondering what you buzzards might have to say about it. I myself am kind of skeptical. I just don't think it would work in the confusion of being pinned under water. If you've ever been pinned it's all you can do not to freek out, let alone get at a hose that's either inside something or flopping everywhere in the forceful current that has you pinned...and this with your back against a rock/wood/hardplace. I think your best bet is to flip out and devote 100% of your juice towards moving enough that something changes and you can get out. I don't know, maybe not...only been pinned once.
I hope in the future Americans are thought of as a warlike, vicious people, because I bet a lot of high schools would pick "Americans" as their mascot. -Jack Handy
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Old 11-29-2005   #8
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 72
I'm very doubtful that this plan would work in a real pin situation. My experience with bad pins is that you're either wedged under your boat and unable to move, or the river current has you flattened on the deck or in some other awkward position. Fiddling around to find the tube and insert in in your mouth would be very difficult in these situations. I'd say use the effort to fight out of the pin instead of searching for a skinny and difficult to locate tube; it would really suck to waste ones breath and energy searching for the 'savior' tube only to come up short and find not enough life lefty to battle out the old fashioned way.
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Old 11-29-2005   #9
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I haven't read the awa article, yet this has been debated forever it seems. Like it was said earlier, most of the time in a hard pin (95% of the time) your skirt will implode or come off on the sides and let water into your boat. I've been pinned as bad as it gets without dying and I do think it wouldn't work well breathing this way. Not to mention, theres always a split second when you pin, that you feel and know it is bad, therefore you should pull immediately and get out asap.

As for the rapid air, I also carry the quick air and it works awesome. I don't know what you folks are saying about the o-ring? Why are you taking it off anyway, it is designed to stay on. I've had mine for a couple years and have never played with the device. If you have water in the tube, you take the water into your mouth and purge it through the mouth piece, 3 mouthfulls is all and it's empty. The quick air I am also a fan of as it's a great idea and works well in the limited situations I have used it in. It is a little heavier that takes a few to get used to it on you,yet I paddled fine with it.

Brings me back to some beta I got while paddling linville gorge in NC from a buddy. "Whats the line" -- smile "Just paddle where you can breath"

Best advice I have ever gotten, just thought I would pass it on.
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Old 11-29-2005   #10
Join Date: Nov 2005
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For a hard pin, I agree that a breathing tube isn't much help.

But, are you guys that good to never need extra breathes when upside down? What if you are stuck in a hole? Or just rolling in big waves/rapids requires timing--what if you don't get it? I'm not that good.

I guess the big advantage of Rapid Air is that the air stays with you when you go for a swim. Flush drowning is not that uncommon in big rivers.

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