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 Post subject: Swimmer rescue
PostPosted: 09 Mar 2016, 19:20 

Joined: 29 Jul 2011, 15:37
Posts: 255
"Taken from Sea Kayak Safety and Rescue "On Facebook

'Swimmer Rescue' -Don't be a victim, there is no need for rescuers to always commit to going in to a rescue, assess the state of the man in the water first, is he a casualty or a victim? (Pro-active or In-active). Can you encourage them to swim themselves out, clear of rocks and into an area of safety. Here is a rescue video we made for the DGI a couple of years ago, demonstrating just that, using a proto type of the HF Throw-tow system, which sits high on the shoulder for just this reason, then deploys low around the waist once all of the rope work is done.


I made a post about the casualty being pro active in a rescue situation and possibly swimming out of a feature that has proved to be to much for their skill level and resulted in a capsize/swimmer. Sometimes the hydraulics in a feature can be to strong and to constant to swim effectively however and we need to be assisted in our efforts.

As both rescuer and pro active casualty, we have to train ourselves to slow our reactions down and determine what is the right way to sort this problem out.

The rescue risk pnuemonic is 'STOP'
STOP: Don't rush in, are you safe, is your group safe?
THINK: Do I possess the skills to enter that feature and perform effectively, if not, stay out!
OBSERVE: Am I dealing with a casualty (Pro-active) or a Victim (In-active)
PERFORM: Once I am happy with my rescue risk assessment I then perform as appropriate.

So what is an appropriate rescue?

There is a saying in the river paddling community, 'We Preach, we Reach, we Throw then we Go'. I have adjusted this for use on the sea, changing the Throw and the Reach options around.

Reaching into a rescue, refers to the use of a paddle or a branch from the bank of a river to rescue a swimmer, In sea kayaking, this is not such an obvious option and it makes more sense to sometimes Throw into a rescue.

This can be for several reasons - a lack of room to maneuver. Paddling such a long kayak, some features just won't be suitable for you to enter and rescue.

It may be that you just don't want to put yourself or your kayak at risk of injury or damage, and this is your reason for throwing in to a rescue, or you feel your skills do not match the rescue environment and you need to stay out. If this last one is the case, you still have an option available to you.

As the rescuer, it's your choice how you perform.

The HF Throwtow system is designed so that you can reverse the towline around and then project the line into a rescue, the casualty then clips the rescue bag into the deck lines and the rescuer has the advantage of staying outside of the feature and is less affected by the turbulence and hydraulics occurring.

As a casualty, you have to ensure that you remain pro-active about your situation, put yourself in the safe area, so that you do not get squashed between kayak and rock and protect your airways from inadvertent wave splash, do not attempt to stand as foot entrapment can occur, leading to lower limb injuries.

Here is a short video which was made several years ago whilst I was practising rope work and rescues with Joe Leach off Swanpool Beach.

There in lays the secret to most things, it takes practise practise practise. But please remember PRACTISE DOES NOT MAKE PERFECT!

'Perfect practise makes Perfect'

Practising a mistake over and over again, just embeds the mistake and by rushing straight in to a rescue, over and over again, all you manage to achieve, is to embed the mistake........


Brian B

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