Rescue Vest's - truly necessary? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 03-26-2014   #1
SLC, Utarr
Paddling Since: 08
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 67
Rescue Vest's - truly necessary?

I'm just sayin. isn't it the swift water rescue knowledge that's important and not whether i'm sportin an Astral Greenjacket on the north fork?

i'm already signed up for swiftwater rescue course. And i see the handiness (hell the need) of a ring on the back of my pfd, good sturdy sewing to keep it where it should be, and a cowtail if needed.

mainly i just wonder if all the hype is worth it. In the backcountry ski scene, a level head and preparation for emergencies wins out over an avalanche airbag pack any day of the week.

need some experienced advice, gals and guys.

i'll listen most to those giving level headed words not armchair rescue boaters. this ain't my first rodeo, maggots.

(TGR reference for those who know the brobrah factor over that way).

cheers, and may the flow be with you, fellow Jedi

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Old 03-26-2014   #2
Jackson, Wyoming
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 338
I would say that the stuff in your head is way more useful than the stuff on your vest. The releasable ring (and cowtail at times) is useful in a few different situations, and the storage is handy, but no, certainly not required. I have no plan to clip a swamped boat with the cowtail, at least not on any serious water (maybe helping new people gather stuff at the playpark?). It is pretty sweet for ferrying an emptied boat across the river to get it on the same side as a swimmer. Detachable ring is essential for any rescue technique involving a rope attached to the rescuer. I know some people spread their pin kit among the pockets, but I'd rather keep it all together in the boat. Take the class, then decide. There will probably be plenty at the class to borrow for practice that requires it, then you can decide the worth afterword.

In no way does the rescue vest (or pin kit for that matter) equate to the beacon/probe/shovel- there is plenty to do in a river rescue without the "stuff". If someone is buried in an avy, without some locator tools, you're pretty much just playing in the snow near a dead guy.
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Old 03-26-2014   #3
FlyingDutchman's Avatar
Hampden, Massachusetts
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 335
Rescue vests are overkill in my opinion. For a "live bait" type rescue, I have used a throw rope attached to my shoulder strap. But I can see how a quick release buckle that works under tension might be useful if you are still in a kayak or live baiting. Quick thinking and keeping your cool is definitely better than gizmos or gadgets.
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Old 03-26-2014   #4
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
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You say you see the need for a cowtail and a ring sewn to the back of the vest. So what's the question? That's pretty much a rescue vest + a quick release strap that they're attached to.
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Old 03-26-2014   #5
Miller Time's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
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Quick thinking and keeping your cool is not always that easy. Have you been in a rescue or being the one needing rescue? Things happen quick. Of course the knowledge in your head is more valuable but I say why wouldn't you want every sliver of favoritism (safety PFD) on your side? People ask me why I carry an air tube too but when someone gets pinned they will be looking for me to get them air.

I agree with the cow tail being fairly useless. Do I carry one? Yes. There are times when it makes sense to have one. I don't carry my entire pin kit on me but I do carry extra biners with built in pulleys. Also prussiks are extremely light weight and doesn't hurt to carry a few. You're normal vest may not have room for this stuff. Lastly, I don't think the stitching is as solid on a normal vest. How unfortunate when someone grabs your shoulder strap and it rips off your body.
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Old 03-26-2014   #6
Skillkilla's Avatar
Arvada, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
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its not for you, its for the people you boat with. will you need it -for you ? probably not. but would you prefer that everybody in your crew have one ? probably. leash, whistle, knife all mandatory. your life may never hang in the balance-but could you say the same about the people you kayak with ?
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Old 03-26-2014   #7
Bellvue, Colorado
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depends on if you know how and are willing to use one.
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Old 03-26-2014   #8
SLC, Utarr
Paddling Since: 08
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 67
thanks all for posting useful words, not armchair advice. I had a feeling "knowledge before gear and gizmos" was the way to go. I see another poster's point about "it's their life, not yours so much". An interesting question to consider.

And well said wyosam re: avi beacon, probe, shovel. ha! that cracked me up, the morbid humor. And pointed out something i'd missed. thanks. ". . .just playing around near a dead guy." or however you put it.

cheers. now let the debate begin, as always on the "expensive white guy sports" forums goes when it comes to gear.
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Old 03-26-2014   #9
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
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I'm not familiar with the hype of rescue gear. Perhaps that's a TGR thing too.
Living in Montana, boating in Idaho
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Old 03-26-2014   #10
Bellvue, Colorado
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Aint no interesting question about it! That is the first and foremost thought you need to consider! you take risk with your life, thats your choice. your friends count on you and you count on them!
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