outdated safety principles? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-06-2012   #1
 
Bonedale, Colorado
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outdated safety principles?

outdated safety principles? What are they, more importantly how do we change them? Private vs. commercial. Proactive--feet down river push off rock position, better name?

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Old 06-06-2012   #2
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I think most of us know by now that feet first for more than the initial few moments of a swim is totally outdated. Thank you Kent Ford and others for bringing this up years ago in the journals.

I am going to throw this one out there: fitness. very undervalued by the rafting community especially. cardio and strength training are both super important. I am not the strongest or fastest but I workout almost every day. rg5 asks me to lunch and I tell him we should go to the gym instead. lucky him, he doesn't need it as much as me.
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Old 06-07-2012   #3
 
Golden, Colorado
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lifting the beer cooler with your back and not your legs!
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Old 06-07-2012   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mania View Post
I think most of us know by now that feet first for more than the initial few moments of a swim is totally outdated. Thank you Kent Ford and others for bringing this up years ago in the journals.

.
Isn't this the truth. I broke my tailbone in the Poudre many years ago when I hit a big rock in a pour over with the lowest part of my body while in the "perfect" downstream position.
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Old 06-07-2012   #5
 
Rifle, Colorado
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outdated safety priciples

I recently took an ACA Level IV WW rescue class in the Glenwood Springs area. I had previously had taken a Rescue III class in 1995 and wanted to up my skills and see if rescue methods or technology has changed. The curriculums had some similarities, but the ACA class had a couple of distinct differences. The Rescue III class had a hands on segment on rescue systems for low head dams, which is very time consuming and equipment intensive. Useful knowledge, but how many of us encounter this situation versus the more often encountered "flip, now what?" or other swimmer type rescues, especially pins/wraps. The ACA class emphasized starting simple and not use a complex systems until you have to (having the right gear available also), foot entrapment potential and the importance of keeping your feet up (better your your ass gets banged up, versus entrapment and drowning), strainers and evasive actions, and river swims. (try swimming across a river and back, quickly, and you will have a new appreciation for cardio fitness)
After so many years since my last class, this class was a great refresher and skills training; however, it also brought my awareness up regarding the "what if" factors. How many of us (at least rafters) swim a rapid at least annually? How many of us practice setting up a mechanical advantage system (z-drag) annually (or carry the gear) so that we are familiar with doing it quickly. And how many of us have truly thought out the true emergency nature of a foot/boat entrapment situation and the fast action required (or practiced in a safe & simulated location)? These are just a few aspects taught in the class.
Over the years i have moved along the continuum of "Yahoo, let's do more of that", scared to swim, "now, i know what i'm doing so leave me to my game", to now a new appreciation of risk potential and rescue preparation.
Drowning is a permanent thing.
I would encourage all boaters to take a rescue class and update your skills.
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Old 06-07-2012   #6
 
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Nothing new, but something that I don't see enough of on the river: Look upstream to check on your buds even in easy water. Particularly during a low water year, unexpected pins and weird bad stuff can happen. Keep an eye on your buds.
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Old 06-07-2012   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mania View Post

I am going to throw this one out there: fitness. very undervalued by the rafting community especially. cardio and strength training are both super important. I am not the strongest or fastest but I workout almost every day. rg5 asks me to lunch and I tell him we should go to the gym instead. lucky him, he doesn't need it as much as me.
Spot on right there....I don't think this is mentioned enough. I am, by no means, a pillar of physical fitness, but I try to stay in decent shape. My awakening to the importance of this came a few years ago when I got stuffed against the wall behind the falls on OBJ. Mayyyybe 20 seconds until I got a breath?? It absolutely wiped me out.

I can tell you my safety speeches have drastically changed since I started giving them (1990ish?). Back then I was just a teenager that really didn't know any better, then I guided for quite a few years and witnessed plenty of carnage and bad swims, then I had a few ass-whoopins of my own. Now I'm safety Steve and my (inexperienced) friends and family give me S&%T about it, but they love it.
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Old 06-07-2012   #8
 
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I took a rescue class recently, and the most significant and effective change was how to use a rope to rescue a swimmer. The old school method was to stand on the point, throw the rope and pendulum the swimmer into the eddy below. The new method is to stand next to the eddy, throw the rope upstream when the swimmer is at the point, and pull them directly into the eddy. This was so effective, it is hard to believe the old method was ever taught. If you haven't tried this, make a point to. It works.
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Old 06-07-2012   #9
 
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Practice. Swimming rapids, flipping in a current (protect yourself, your head, your limbs, come up safely), and then reflipping and recovering. Yes, swimming is exhausting. There are a few boater friends of mine that I think about this in regards to what kind of liability they would be if they had carnage. They who would NOT be able to rescue themself.

Did I say practice swimming rapids? That is such a non-intuitive thing for most people, esp those that don't swim very often. I feel a weird sense of gratitude that I've flipped and swum a lot, so when the big ones happened it was nearly intuitive. It helps that I grew up in the water too I suppose, but it is not a skill that can come without actually getting in the current.

Great to hear about the non-pendulum pull into the eddy technique. However that seems pretty idealistic. It would require that you are at shore downstream of the swimmer, which may work for safety set up at tough rapids, but for general technique I think it is a stretch. That's not to say that it shouldn't be another tool taught for us to keep in our belts. Both techniques have a place, and the pendulum is less intuitive because of the vectoring and need for a 2nd person to actually get them in (sometimes). Rescue 3 is about all we have here, and I have a friend taking the class this weekend. I will have to quiz him afterwards about what he learned. My experience with Rescue 3 was weak on self-rescue, and heavy on techniques that I'll never use. I think it was a SWT class, and I believe next time I'll find a WWT class.
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Old 06-07-2012   #10
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I don't get it. In my safety speech I tell all my newbies if you HAVE to swim a rapid and all options are exhausted (no boat near by, water too swift to make it to shore fast and no throw rope coming your way) I tell them to put their feet down current and up to the top of water, hands out and keep your head out of water. Is that wrong?

If you have to swim a rapid and there is no other way, what's the best way to swim?

Alex
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