Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

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scottdog007
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Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by scottdog007 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:18 am

My nemesis in an open is to successfully do a self rescue. I have never managed to do this yet without filling the boat up with water. Any suggestion of technique etc.

I have my Level 2 assessment coming up and it is part of this. Generally I am pretty good in all other aspects but very weak on the self rescue in a canoe. In a kayak I am fine.

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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by Dunmail » Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:57 am

Assuming open water ...

There are 2 phases where you get water in the boat:

1. Righting the canoe
There is a tendency to scoop up large amounts of water as the boat rolls upright.

The more bouyancy you have the higher the boat floats and the less water it scoops up.
A Capistrano flip is possible, and can be made easier if you use bouyancy (e.g. a dry bag) to support one end then flip from near the other.
Canoe sailors advocate additional side airbags to reduce the amount of water scooped up when rolling it upright.
A shakeout is possible with an upright but flooded boat.

2. Reentry
Once you have an upright and (mostly) empty boat you need to reduce the amount you dip the gunwhales when getting back in.

With practice, a swift reentry over the side doesn't take in too much water. This needs to be a fast, dynamic action which isn't always easy.
A paddle/pole in conjunction + floatation (e.g. dry bag) can be used to create a sea-kayak style paddlefloat.

Hope this helps,
Dunmail

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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by twopigs » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:13 am

I find my BA can catch on the gunnel - so make sure you've emptied the front pocket ...... and use a wide canoe......
Canoeing - bigger boat, broken paddle, more skill!

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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by alcee » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:34 am


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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by scottdog007 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:38 pm

Cheers for the feedback.

I've got a couple of weekends to get my drysuit on and practice stuff. With the outrigger idea, that's nice. I seen something else where a crab and a drybag is strapped on the other side, the drybag is filled with water so when you start getting in the boat the drybag with the water slightly balances out your weight.

I agree with catching the BA and getting stuff out of the pocket first.

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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by elveys » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:55 pm

I can usually manage this when practicing but it's never elegant, usually it's a case of trying to kick my legs like mad once I have the far gunwale to try and keep the boat as flat as I can while I get my ba over the dipped side. I tend to carry a decent size kit bag for adjusting trim and this is usually leashed on open. I've found that using the bag as a counter balance has helped. Variation in freeboard is also a factor.

I'm surprised that you are saying this is part of your L2 assessment?
Last edited by elveys on Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by Jon Wood » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:59 pm

Swamped canoe? No problem.


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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by scottdog007 » Mon Feb 23, 2015 4:09 pm

elveys wrote:................

I'm surprised that you are saying this is part of your L2 assessment?
My be this is new and changed in 2014. I have been given a BCU Level 2 Assessment Day Pack V4-0 Jan 2014.

Rescue Skills
Candidates need to deal with these bank- and boat-based incidents:
• recover a swimmer from the water using a bank-based rescue
• recover a capsized paddler from deep water
• recover an upright, but incapacitated paddler to the shore
• rescue an unconscious or entrapped paddler from their boat
• capsize and perform an effective self-rescue in deep water
Boat-based candidates need to effectively rescue participants in canoe and/or kayak (depending on
the certification route being followed).

I think in the 'Green' pack that I have to take and which the assessor ticks off, all this is stated.

Almost sounds like a FSRT course. It sounds like a lot of work. Oh and I think I read some where that for the kayak you should be expected to do a roll on one side, not a fail as long as you can self rescue and get back into the boat (deep water).

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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by Teaman » Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:26 pm

i have a paddle float from my sea kayaking and I have tied two loops or paracord on the shoulder carrying bar thingy :D
paddle float over the paddle and the handle through the two loops. this should be a good enough outrigger for re entry as I had problems due to my white water ba.

I was told to come away from your boat. and swim towards it like a man possessed and sort of grab, pull , lift and kick in a fluid motion, swimming away then back towards enables you to be fairly flat to the water where as being next to your boat and stationary is hard to get your weight up and kick due to being under the water.

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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by elveys » Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:39 pm

scottdog007 wrote:
elveys wrote:................

I'm surprised that you are saying this is part of your L2 assessment?
My be this is new and changed in 2014. I have been given a BCU Level 2 Assessment Day Pack V4-0 Jan 2014.

Rescue Skills
Candidates need to deal with these bank- and boat-based incidents:
• recover a swimmer from the water using a bank-based rescue
• recover a capsized paddler from deep water
• recover an upright, but incapacitated paddler to the shore
• rescue an unconscious or entrapped paddler from their boat
• capsize and perform an effective self-rescue in deep water
Boat-based candidates need to effectively rescue participants in canoe and/or kayak (depending on
the certification route being followed).

I think in the 'Green' pack that I have to take and which the assessor ticks off, all this is stated.

Almost sounds like a FSRT course. It sounds like a lot of work. Oh and I think I read some where that for the kayak you should be expected to do a roll on one side, not a fail as long as you can self rescue and get back into the boat (deep water).
I think it's worth you clarifying before what the expectation is for a deep water self rescue in open canoe for L2.

In both the canoe 3* awards you are allowed to have someone assisting by holding the gunwale if you are going to re-enter in deep water. Other options such as a 25m swimline that you grab the end of and swim to the side would also be a self rescue in deep water depending on how you interpret it.

Even at 4* open canoe it is talking about self rescue by getting into a swamped boat and paddling to the side.

Don't get me wrong, Capistrano flips or unassisted self entry (unswamped) are great skills to have but there are a lot of good paddlers who just can't do those things and I know several that have been successful at L2 who would not have been had they been required to do this.

Good luck with the assessment.

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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by Jim » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:05 pm

Teaman wrote:I was told to come away from your boat. and swim towards it
If there is any wind at all, don't let go of your boat, it will blow away faster than you can swim after it.

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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by Adrian Cooper » Tue Feb 24, 2015 1:36 pm

The paddle float type thing sounds great bu you would be surprised how little support or extra load on the far side you will need to assist you climbing in. Try keeping a small drybag full of 'stuff' clipped to the yoke. When you want to climb in, flip it over the gunwale and climb in on the opposite side.

Good luck with your practice.

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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by brevan » Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:03 pm

When re-entering from the water, at first you are aiming to get across the canoe, not into it. If you try and go straight in the boat your weight tips it over towards you and it will either roll over or fill with water.

Lie flat on the water if possible and kick hard while pulling yourself across the canoe (I use the thwart or carrying yoke for this). By quickly reaching across the boat and throwing your weight towards the opposite edge you stabilise the boat and prevent it rolling over back towards you. You should end with you heads and shoulders hanging over the far edge. From this somewhat uncomfortable position you can roll into the bottom of the boat.

I've seen some people use a leashed drybag with kit / air in it to assist re-entry. You sit astride the drybag and this lifts you further out the water making the re-entry to the boat easier.

If all else fails roll into the canoe (with water) and bail (takes ages) or paddle to shore, or another canoe, and empty.

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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by chris241 » Wed Feb 25, 2015 3:15 pm

brevan wrote:When re-entering from the water, at first you are aiming to get across the canoe, not into it. If you try and go straight in the boat your weight tips it over towards you and it will either roll over or fill with water.

Lie flat on the water if possible and kick hard while pulling yourself across the canoe (I use the thwart or carrying yoke for this). By quickly reaching across the boat and throwing your weight towards the opposite edge you stabilise the boat and prevent it rolling over back towards you. You should end with you heads and shoulders hanging over the far edge. From this somewhat uncomfortable position you can roll into the bottom of the boat.
Absolutely spot on. You aren't trying to climb up into the boat onto your knees straight away. Lie flat on the surface, kick like mad as you pull yourself across the boat until you are right over the other side of the boat, and you can drop your bum into the bottom of the boat. Then you can sit up and sort yourself out. A really important part is to KEEP GOING. Loads of people falter and give up as soon as the gunwhale dips to the water, where if they were to just confidently keep going they would likely be in with just a small amount of water in the bottom of the boat. A small plastic trug tub works great as an open water bailer, It shifts the water really fast, so even if you get a fair amount of water in the boat you can be bailed and sorted really fast.

It's worth working on it IMHO until you can do it without outriggers and such like. Once you are a level 2 and with a group, if you come out of your boat, you are still responsible for the group, so you need to be able to get back in quickly and efficiently without faffing, so that you are back in a position to assist any members of the group. Plus you are likely at some point to be asked to teach safety and rescue skills to your students at some point, so, much easier if you've mastered the skill yourself.

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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by Teaman » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:06 pm

obviously keep hold of the boat :D

I was 17 stone when I tried the paddle float method. canoe hardly budged

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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by stinkwheel » Tue May 26, 2015 1:56 pm

I know it's a bit late to reply but the other thing is after you've righted and emptied it of water (and I wouldn't go out in open water without a bailer) don't try to get back in in the middle of the boat solo (tandem is a different and much easier rescue). That's the widest and highest point and you have further to go to get your centre of gravity over the boats centre of balance.

Go over the front seat (or front thwart). Much easier to get your top half over the boat and push down on that far gunwale.

The other consideration I would give serious consideration to is if you find yourself in a situation where you've ditched your boat solo in open water is catch your breath, grab your drybag with your change of clothes in, abandon the boat and swim for shore. That is my current strategy until I'm MUCH better at solo re-entry. Chances are the conditions that landed you in the water in the first place will make re-entry very difficult anyway. After two failed re-entry attempts in cold water, you may not physically be able to swim for shore.

In the UK, you're not likely to be canoeing open water solo in many places where a) You can't walk yourself out of trouble and b) Your boat can't be recovered later either by getting assistance or walking round to wherever it's blown ashore (which, if you've kept your head on straight and planned your route according to conditions, should be nearby).

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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by Kirsten » Tue May 26, 2015 9:35 pm

@stinkwheel: it is (better was) about assessment for Level 2, which means you are assessed whether you are able to coach people on sheltered water in canoe and kayak (seakayak, WW, touring). You as aspirant coach as to proof to be able to rescue yourself.

So it is not about how likely it is that you end up swimming in the water somewhere on a loch/river. It is all about to demonstrate your skills in Self-rescue.

Though I will try what you recommend, at least to go closer to one end of the boat then try to get into it in the middle, I have my L1 assessement (where the same rescue skills are necessary as for L2) and like the most in the aspirant group I'm a (sea)kayaker and struggle with getting into a canoe. At least I now quite confident with being the rescuer in a solo canoe and a conscious casualty.

During a self rescue it happens once, that I lay over the boat (to get there was already hard work) and suddenly slide head first in the water again. As this was during a canoe training session, it was then decided to go for an assisted rescue. Someone held onto my boat (just a slighlty bit as counterbalance), I climb in my boat (whereby it was more scooping me in), not much caring about how much water went in. Then in the peers canoe, emptying my canoe in an X and then I was back in my, now empty, boat.

Even if you have to coach different crafts as L1/L2 coach, usually you have one you prefere and don't exercise this often in the other crafts as you probably should.

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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by Jim » Wed May 27, 2015 11:56 am

Yep, there is a world of difference between requirements to pass an assessment, and real world self rescue.
Definitely better in many rea lworld situations to stick close to a lee shore if there is any amount of wind over open water, then hopefully you can swim for it and your gear will follow you in it's own time.

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Re: Self Rescue in a canoe, any advice?

Post by Kirsten » Sat May 30, 2015 10:11 pm

For the L1 today it was not allowed but recommended by the course director to get into the boat and don't care how much it get swamped, then sitting (not kneeling) on the bottom of the boat and paddle the canoe back to shoe. For some of us it was a submarine.
Same for injured paddler, just scoop in and then tow to shore. Job done. Whereby the hardest part was to dunk the boat and get it swamped when it was upright at the start of the rescue. The difficulty was to tilt the canoe away from you.

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