Mountain Buzz banner
21 - 40 of 58 Posts

·
Beginner
Joined
·
2,932 Posts
Interesting post. I've definitely bailed on trips that seemed unsafe to me, mostly day trips that I expected to go past sunset. I might try to steer the group that way if I'm the formal leader, or one of the most experienced in the party. Otherwise, people get to make their own choices.

The video from Zach is a good discussion on something I've experienced from both ends. His videos on preparedness, rescue, and boating philosophy are excellent. However, because of the following, I think it's rarely useful to engage this sort of discussion.

As a pro on the river, I've given up on talking to the people with the K-Mart raft on the Class IV section. Never have these people heeded good advice and it's up to the river now. I may steer a ranger their way, or try to talk to someone sensible in the group if the run is committing geographically, but I mostly look and laugh quietly now. I will not feel guilt when they suffer tragedy, because it's not my job to explain the world to them and I've stopped trying. Plus, they're basically re-creating what the innovators of whitewater boating did - and I don't challenge the good sense of those historic heroes.

On the other side, never have I heeded those who approached me, with duckie and cowboy helmet on an Upper Gauley or high water Numbers or Royal Gorge run. I'm proud to have helped some of those people out there after their concern for me! My gear is a little different, but I'm experienced with it and do get tired of people trying to talk me out of something I have done a lot. Zach would not be well received in that moment if he voiced concern over the beer I'm drinking.

So I guess I fall into the "to each his own" camp, but hope people make smart, safe choices. We can all choose the level of risk we wish to take on in our adventures. I swim a lot from a duckie, but I have a new PFD and dry suit, and practice self rescue. Others might boat in their old ass raft and decaying life jacket with non-locking carabiners everywhere. What makes us the same is that we love adventure, and that we can't stand a Karen...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
164 Posts
This discussion parallels several conversations I've had about backcountry skiing. When do you speak up when someone is ignoring an objective danger or is obviously unprepared? What effects do group dynamics have on decision making? What are peoples' risk tolerances?

In the world of backcountry skiing, these topics are beat to death and there are still no clear answers. Everyone's risk tolerance is different, but is it appropriate to apply your risk tolerance to other people? To me, that seems to be the crux of these discussions. I suspect the folks who are more risk averse would think it's appropriate, while the more risk tolerant would generally disagree. Personally, I have a pretty high risk tolerance (for better or worse), so I tend not to confront people unless they are putting other people in direct danger. On the flip side to mitigate my higher level of risk tolerance, I train for rescue and first aid situations so that I'm not completely useless if shit hits the fan in my group or a different group. Whether we like to admit it or not, no one was born an expert in boat safety so we must all try and remember that the yahoos in their wal-mart rafts and water skiing PFDs are in the process of learning. They will either develop a passion and invest in better equipment or get their asses handed to them by the river gods and never float again.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,615 Posts
A couple of things are worth noting in this discussion:

  1. The OP was talking to folks he knew, not some random clownshow at the boatramp.
  2. All too often, the rescuers wind up in a bad way themselves because they're focused on rescuing and put themselves in higher risk situations than normal.
I'm not saying don't ever help anyone, but when you do, be careful and make sure you're minimizing the danger you put yourself into to avoid "cascading" - the classic situation when a rescue goes wrong and the rescuers get injured or worse.

So because I don't want to have to spend part of my day my day rescuing some clownshow that's gotten in over their heads, or cause my fellow boaters to have to (taking greater risks than needed), I've no hesitation chatting up the folks at the boat ramp, in a friendly manner like Riverlife describes above. They can take it or leave it, and if they go run some more appropriate beginner section, then it's a little win for everyone else on the river.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
A couple of things are worth noting in this discussion:

  1. The OP was talking to folks he knew, not some random clownshow at the boatramp.
  2. All too often, the rescuers wind up in a bad way themselves because they're focused on rescuing and put themselves in higher risk situations than normal.
I'm not saying don't ever help anyone, but when you do, be careful and make sure you're minimizing the danger you put yourself into to avoid "cascading" - the classic situation when a rescue goes wrong and the rescuers get injured or worse.

So because I don't want to have to spend part of my day my day rescuing some clownshow that's gotten in over their heads, or cause my fellow boaters to have to (taking greater risks than needed), I've no hesitation chatting up the folks at the boat ramp, in a friendly manner like
Riverlife describes above. They can take it or leave it, and if they go run some more appropriate beginner section, then it's a little win for everyone else on the river.
I don’t want to speak for the OP, but my interpretation was that he was addressing a broad set of general safety issues. I understood that the story of his friends deciding to go ahead on the lower Salmon float was used as an example and a springboard for discussion. The video that was linked seems more focused on the more obviously unprepared and/or those throwing caution to the wind.

Perhaps the OP was a bit overly broad and allowed for a lot of leeway to interpret things. I think the intentions were spot on though, and it is always a good topic for discussion/consideration. One thing I detect from a few comments is the notion that talking with someone and offering advice or guidance is the same thing as telling someone else what to do. I think there is a fine line between the two, but a very important one; I think it’s always worth engaging with people, but it is important to accept that they may choose to ignore all advice and helpful suggestions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
434 Posts
Interesting post. Heuristic traps (McCemmon, 2002) are are a helpful way for me to think about my own risk-taking. I’ve fallen for then all.

Familiarity - “I’ve done this run 50x and there’s never any wood.”
Social Acceptance - “I don’t want to be the only one asking to scout.”
Commitment - “Everyone already got the time off.”
Scarcity - “Water is high but I’m not about to waste the only permit I’ve ever won.”
Social facilitation - “Hold my beer.”
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
904 Posts
Interesting post. Heuristic traps (McCemmon, 2002) are are a helpful way for me to think about my own risk-taking. I’ve fallen for then all.

Familiarity - “I’ve done this run 50x and there’s never any wood.”
Social Acceptance - “I don’t want to be the only one asking to scout.”
Commitment - “Everyone already got the time off.”
Scarcity - “Water is high but I’m not about to waste the only permit I’ve ever won.”
Social facilitation - “Hold my beer.”
I'd definitely slot myself into "Familiarity" and "Social facilitation" on your list. 😎
 

·
Read Only
Joined
·
61 Posts
I think some clarification is needed to really understand the intentions of the OP. They did not actually state why they were trying to talk their friends out of the trip. Were the friends sketchy or underprepared for a river trip at high water? Are others on the crew sketchy or underprepared? Did the friends ask for advice? It also wasn't clear whether or not the OP was invited on the trip and voluntarily bailed or if they were never part of the trip from the start.

I think its great that the OP has established their own limitations. If they were invited on the trip and bailed because of their own concerns, good on ya. Your friend asked for your advice and you gave them an honest answer, awesome. Taking a swiftwater course and being safety conscious to be self sufficient and help out others when required is obviously a good thing. Even better if the OP has relevant OTJ experience.

However, I think it is likely problematic if the OP was not invited on the trip and/or is offering unsolicited advice to their friends because the trip exceeds their own (OP's) limitations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
793 Posts
RIP Jim. He's been around the boating community here for a long time.

To the OP, I've found myself in a group of good boaters the last number of years and when we plan trips that may be on the bubble of comfort level, we've been really good about one bails, we all bail. We're friends, we know each others' strengths and weaknesses, skillsets, experience, and what we have a high likelihood of getting away with.

If I was new to a group and wasn't feeling comfortable either because of the river or the group, I'd bail and tell them why I'm bailing. Then, they can choose to do what they want with my opinion. They may be better than me and happy to drop the deadweight or I don't have to be involved in a wreck on the river. I've been involved in one wild and scary situation that someone put themselves in and needed help. I was really mad at them for a series of poor choices made to reach a goal. Ultimately, it was my fault for being on the type of trip I was on without trust and knowledge of abilities of the other members on the trip.

If it was a group or trip I wasn't participating with, they would have to be on the egregious side of things for me to engage with them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
219 Posts
Discussion Starter · #34 ·
That’s unfortunate news. I’m so sorry to hear that.

My original intent was that on Memorial Day, while thinking of my now passed shipmates, who died in the line of duty - I’d advocate for some safety on the water. I feel like I owe it to their family and friends.

Not all who read these forums are seasoned pros and many are on the fence of a “go” / “no go” with launching given conditions. There are so many pressures on us now with a lack of permits and crowding that many feel like they will miss out if they don’t go. I’m simply stating that we can step back and reassess the situation in light of this. (Especially the folks with no boat, no experience, and then draw a coveted permit!)

It’s ok to chat with friends about your concerns. A few weeks ago, we closed the bar of Tillamook Bay to small vessels (<35’) due to heavy seas and hazardous conditions. A recreational boater still knowingly defied the closure, proceeded underway anyhow, lost power and had to be rescued. They simply “had” to be out there.

It’s really unfortunate and we’re seeing higher than usual accidents in whitewater and recreational boating. I feel like it’s going to be a busy year.

We value folks lives that we don’t know. We stand the watch and are ready to respond. But we also advocate for prevention. It’s way easier.

I’m a private rafter, and am fortunate to have some time and friends to boat with. It’s not my intention to lord over anyone. We’re just seeing an uptick in accidents on the water and are asking for folks to be safe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
373 Posts
8 month pregnant wife, two gentleman in their 70’s who were told at the ramp they were making a bad decision, one had just had hernia surgery and was wearing a …. Water soaked diaper. Talk about ruining our last trip befor have a little one around. They did tip me 100$ and told me not to tell their wives
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
I have a Selway trip coming up next week...and I think its gonna have the plug pulled...but the TL is waiting till the very last minute. All indicators are showing its gonna be definitely over 6 feet during our trip but I'm guessing well over 7 feet. I'm no expert...but the TL was talking about pulling the plug if it seemed like it was going much over 5 feet. I've never met ANY of them in person...so I've basically already pulled the plug in my own head and am planning something else instead despite the Selway being at the top of my bucket list. I think, if I had a solid group of people I know really well, with gear and experience to back it up, I'd probably still be considering going. Too many unknowns though.

Everyone has their comfort levels though. I've never ran the lower, but the Main is a lot of fun at 50k. I know there is "the Slide" rapid to worry about...but the rest of the run is relatively tame...so maybe not as bad as one might imagine even at high flows.
I've run it at 30,000 and no big deal. Hydraulics can get big, but there's lots of room to go around.

Question though: What is the slide rapid?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,096 Posts
The selway at 7 feet, there isn't room to go around anything, I remember entering wa poot, and shortly after entering I thought, "was poot is kicking my ass" as I went over little Niagra, thankfully, by nothing other than sheer luck, I was on the right side.. is little more than see it, react if you can, and get ready to swim if you can't react fast enough..
 
21 - 40 of 58 Posts
Top