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Old 08-05-2007   #1
 
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Raft Article

Article in the Post:
The Denver Post - Rough waters on the Arkansas River

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Old 08-05-2007   #2
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From the article:
Quote:
"In a river situation, you don't need to know how to swim," said Nova Guides owner Greg Caretto. "If you put yourself into a swimming position, you are exposing yourself to more hazards than if you get into the lounge-chair position. Swimming is a moot issue."
I can't believe he said that.
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Old 08-05-2007   #3
 
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I agree. I was suprised too. Is this maybe an oldschool thing? Greg is one of those guys that probably has 20,000 river miles or something.
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Old 08-05-2007   #4
 
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I wouldn't make too much of it. I think he's just saying that swimming in a pool is different than swimming in rapids wearing one of those big bulky life vests that they give the customers.

But, clearly, someone who swims a lot will be more comfortable in rapids than someone who doesn't go in the water much.
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Old 08-06-2007   #5
 
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This entire article has issues:

"The six sequentially named rapids of The Numbers may just as well have served as a countdown to catastrophe for the three Nova Guides rafts."

A countdown would go from 6 to 1, not the other way. And seriously - what kind of journalism is "countdown to catastrophe" anyway?

"Six passengers dropped into the frothing white water, feet overhead in a stew of orange life jackets and yellow paddles"

yeah...more great writing, gotta love the sensationalism, or just try not to puke.

"and the guide clinging to a tethered bowline from shore with a broken finger"

What is a "tethered bowline from shore"? Isn't a bowline 'tethered' by definition to the bow of a boat? Was the boat on shore? Maybe a throw rope held by a guide?

"With the benefit of life jackets and wetsuits, rafters are told, they can maneuver through rapids by using an elemental backstroke while avoiding hazardous foot entrapment on the river bottom."

Elemental backstroke? Maybe the author meant 'elementary backstroke'? Or is backstroke now on the periodic table of elements? Or maybe it is now Earth, Wind, Fire, Water and Backstroke.

"They should have been in survival mode, but they didn't know what to do."

Didn't the safety talk tell them what to do?

I don't mean to make light of anyones deaths - as guides we need to pay attention to these incidents and do our best to learn from them. But the newspapers need to do a much better job, stay away from sensationalism, and put the facts into their true context. The Denver Post and it's writer Scott Willoughby should be ashamed.
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Old 08-06-2007   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cstork View Post
I wouldn't make too much of it. I think he's just saying that swimming in a pool is different than swimming in rapids wearing one of those big bulky life vests that they give the customers.
well the article made it sound like he implied that the defensive swim is all you need and the aggressive swim position is bad for customers - and then having mike mather correct him on it. I think all the experts agree that the aggressive swim is an essential piece of self rescue customer or not. its just as important as telling them not to stand up IMO.

Here is a good review: Swimming Whitewater | Performance Video
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Old 08-06-2007   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raftus View Post
Didn't the safety talk tell them what to do?
ive said it before and I will say it again, you can spout off about "safety" for as long as you want, but that information goes in one ear and right out the other on about 80% of commercial customers. did the safety talk tell them what to do? yes. did they choose to use that information by paying attention? no
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Old 08-06-2007   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raftus View Post
And seriously - what kind of journalism is "countdown to catastrophe" anyway?
Sensationalist Yellow.
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Old 08-06-2007   #9
 
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This is an interesting article.

I would be interested to hear what Scott has to say about your claims of sensationalism. He is a class V kayaker and I would think could cast a good light on the subject.

Who knows what the answer is but the point in the article about the people being on vacation and not thinking about the consequences is a great point. I feel that our society has become complacent about the consequences of our actions and this is a perfect example. Yes most of what you say during a safety talk goes in one ear and out the other (I used to guide so I have see it first hand) but it is really up to those people to listen and make the choice for themselves. How can you make someone understand what they have gotten themselves into when our everyday lives seem so safe and without consequence?

Take a look at this article to get an interesting look at this issue from the rafting customer's side:

Vail Daily News for Vail and Beaver Creek Colorado - Letters to the Editor

The letter in question is the second one down. I would like to say that the crux of the issue is how can you make the person that wrote that letter understand that rafting is dangerous and even in "easy" class III water someone could die?

I have never lost friends in a boating accident (thank goodness) but have lost friends in rock climbing accidents. The things we do are dangerous but we understand the risks and weigh those risks in light of the fun that is to be had. People that come here on vacation do not understand those risks nor can they determine the risk to fun ratio. How do we allow them to make the decision for themselves? For that, I do not have the answer.
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Old 08-06-2007   #10
 
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Sensationalism? Yellow Journalism?

Aside from some awkward phrasing and an obvious typo I found the article to be well balanced and informative. And the of final quote comes from an eyewitness:

"Maybe they were in shock. I don't know what they were thinking. They should have been in survival mode, but they didn't know what to do."

Sounds pretty explicit. How are the facts being taken out of context? By using direct quotes from the owner of company, along with quotes from a recognized river safety authority? Seems like good reporting to me.

I believe most poeple frequenting this site understand that the quality and safety of the commercial rafting experience varies widely. The public should be aware as well. In contrast to the uninformed rants from the marginally informed ( see the Vail Daily link above) this article is written by an accomplished paddler familiar with the issues. Good job Scott and kudos to the Post for having the sack to put it on the front page.
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