River rescue plan
I would like to open a discussion of what planning, discussion and ideas you all have prior to multiday trips regarding what your group does when something goes wrong. My crew has a late May Selway trip and the potential for "complications" could be high with that launch date. We have a solid group that has a good breadth of experience running spring time flows on a number of mountain and desert rivers, so the basics don't need to be over emphasized but are welcome. While my focus this year is on cold class IV water I think solid recommendations for class III to class V water could benefit the discussion.
As background, I have take a swift water, but it has been over 13 years so any new info (applicable to the topic) is certainly appreciated. I have worked as a guide, but never on multiday trips so my training doesn't extend to that tricky realm of what the hell you do with a fully loaded oar rig that is upside down or pinned. I'm anxiously anticipating my first unintentional flip (although I have done just about everything else you can do with a boat...)
The three points I have been pondering listed below, but as this is a request for new ideas/thoughts I would happily welcome other suggestions.
1) Utilizing the group in recovering a flipped boat. While I agree that retrieving a person on top of a flipped boat is a priority, I also think they can assist the recovery of that boat if they are capable and no major drops are coming. My main question is what the rest of the group does. Do you have kayaker or other oar rig paddle/row downstream to catch a boat in an eddy? What has been most successful for you, bulldoging/pushing the flipped boat to an eddy or towing it? How much of you group do you want upstream as opposed to downstream of the flipped boat and why?
2) What small things do you do to aid in a rescue. I was thinking of small webbing loops (about 4 inches wide) tied around the floor lacing in the bow and the stern to A)clip into and B)help get onto an upside down boat. I should acknowledge that the guide service I bought my boat from did this (presumably to create handles to move a rolled up boat around in the off season in addition to river rescue). The operations manager is a clever fellow I might add. What about flip lines/tag lines around you waist? Pre-rigged Z-drag? Paddles strapped below your spare oars? How do you spread gear/supplies amongst the boats in the case of a lost or pinned boat?
3) What is your plan for running drops? Do you split the group or run as one group? Who is lead and who is sweep? Why? What is your ideal spacing? What the hell do you have the kayakers do? What is your criteria for running safety from shore vs. a boat?
I have ideas about most of this stuff, but I have also spent enough time on water to know that humility is a virtue. I welcome all ideas and thoughts, but have a simple request as this is my first post on this site, if you are going to troll this, please make sure it is very entertaining.
Don't believe 90% of what I say, I used to be a guide...