Emergency Equipment?^

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David A
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Emergency Equipment?^

Post by David A » Thu May 07, 2009 9:42 pm

Maryinoxford’s (Mary) thread: How often do you need a spare paddle? , got me thinking about what emergency equipment I carry on my person and in my kayak when paddling. Reflecting on this topic also highlighted the emergency kit that I should have, but don’t, and the best place to carry it (depending on the size of the kit): in your buoyancy aid or in the kayak? The almanac does have some good articles throughout on this topic, such as: http://www.ukseakayakguidebook.co.uk/almanac_safety.htm . However, this thread could be beneficial to all of us, and hopefully the old timers, sorry, the more experienced paddlers on the forum could share their knowledge and wisdom. I do appreciate that many of the items carried may come down to the paddlers own preference, compromise, where their paddling, the size of the group, solo and financial restrictions.

In my buoyancy aid:
Orange survival bag
Whistle
Folding knife
Small torch
Lighter
Loose change
Strong pain killers

Question: should mobile phones, VHF receivers and flares be kept on your person or on/in your kayak? What happens if you get separated from your kayak when paddling solo?

In kayak:
Spare paddles
Compass
Bivvy bag and micro flees blanket
Foil reflective blanket
First aid kit (basic)
Duck tape
Larger knife
Storm lighter and fire lighting material
Small folding handsaw
Spare spray deck
Dry clothes
Poncho

List of things still to buy: pump, VHF, tow line and flares. The above list should not be seen as a prescribed list of emergency items. No doubt my buy list will increase.

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maryinoxford
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Re: Emergency Equipment?^

Post by maryinoxford » Thu May 07, 2009 11:23 pm

This is a bigger topic than the one I started, but since it's here... (I'm thinking of my kind of undemanding sea trip in good conditions.)

The way I think about it is to start from the minimum and add what I see as necessary. To go out kayaking, all you need is a boat you can sit in, and a paddle. People who have nothing more than that sometimes turn up on "Seaside Rescue", or maybe as statistics.

Kayak: My folder can't have bulkheads. I use a sea-sock which should hopefully prevent it getting swamped, and air-bags so that it should still float even if it did get swamped. Spraydeck to deal with casual waves. Hand pump (never yet used in anger) to deal with more serious water ingress. I carry a paddle float, and have even practised re-entering with it once or twice, but that's probably redundant if out in company. (And I have never gone on the sea alone.)

Clothing. You know the mantra... DFI. I wear a drysuit, suitable under-layer, and PFD. Obvious? Maybe to everyone on this forum, but not to the whole water-playing population. The PFD pockets have drinking water, knife, whistle, Lendal paddle key. Inside the drysuit, a small bumbag with my housekeys, paper money, cards.

I have a waterproof case for my mobile phone. That stayed in the kayak last trip. Maybe should have it in the PFD, but I'm not sure it would fit the pocket. I carried a few metres of floating rope in the kayak, for any odd jobs (not used). A bit of duck tape, ditto.

I think that was my lot, for Weymouth Bay. Next time, I'll add a spare paddle, an orange survival bag (more visible than a blue kayak) and an accessible chocolate bar or similar, in case I want an energy boost. (Our return trip was into a freshening breeze, and I found it hard work after a while.) I'll think about a towline (if in company). I don't have a compass - the only situation where I might want one would be a sudden thick fog, and I'm unlikely to be out in such conditions. As mentioned in my "paddle" thread, a limiting factor in my case is, can I physically carry all this, plus the kayak, to the water?

So my list is a lot shorter than David A's. But it seems adequate to me, for that trip.

Mary
Not in Oxford any more...

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ChrisS
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Re: Emergency Equipment?^

Post by ChrisS » Fri May 08, 2009 10:58 am

I have been thinking that a hand saw could be useful when paddling tree infested ditches in an open Canadian canoe, but what would you use one for in sea kayaking?

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MikeB
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Re: Emergency Equipment?^

Post by MikeB » Fri May 08, 2009 12:04 pm

ChrisS wrote:I have been thinking that a hand saw could be useful when paddling tree infested ditches in an open Canadian canoe, but what would you use one for in sea kayaking?
For cutting up wood. Useful for those emergency bivies, but very useful for cutting up firewood for the evening camp fire. Dave and I have the Silky Zubat 330 handsaw which (while not cheap) is a superb bit of kit, and makes very short work of quite substantial bits of timber.

KariTek have them - click - and scroll down the page

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Jim
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Re: Emergency Equipment?^

Post by Jim » Fri May 08, 2009 12:34 pm

There is a quite a bit in David's list that I may or may not have but don't necessarily consider part of my emergency gear. I am not trying to say anything he has is or is not worth having, just how my perception of the uses differs from David's. Other people presumably have different vies again.

The handsaw as mentioned, we tend to have some in the group (actually I usually paddle with a bunch of axe wielding maniacs and they reckon my boat is the heavy one) but they are to make it easier to have a campfire, not something I would think of as necessary for an emergency. If I needed a fire for survival, apart from shaving off some kindling to get it going, I would be putting the wood on whole rather than wasting energy sawing it up!

Anyway, I usually carry too much of this sort of kit so lets see if I can make a list:

On my person (BA):
Whistle
Paddlok key
Miniflares
The noseclip is not an emergency item, and the snacks are there because snacking on the move is better than stopping for lunch, although we usually do that too and I always have wind paddling afterwards.

On the boat:
Split paddle
Paddle float
Towline
Drybag of flares (currently 1xpara, 2xhand flare, 2xhand smoke type and number not especially considered to be honest)
The deck mounted pump probably counts since it is my backup.
Helmet (I can now excuse this by saying it's for mounting my helmet cam on, but really it's for when I have to get close to rocks in heavy conditions)

In the boat:
First aid kit - often left behind if there are others in the group
Group shelter - home made to enormous dimensions so well worth having
Mobile phone in aquapac in drybag (between my legs with other useful non emergency stuff like my wallet and spare glasses)
Electric pump
Change of clothes
There used to be a spare hatch cover but it has disintegrated completely now, I should probably replace it.

Most of these can be used on the water, some require landing but these are all the things I consider I might need just to get to shore and survive.

I also have a spare spraydeck (and often a spare cag), but I need to land to get to it, so if it's a real emergency I can just stay landed can't I?
I have matches and lighters in most of my drybags because I have so many leaks .
The orange bag I understand because it can be used for signalling as well as a survival shelter, but to have a Bivi and a silver blanket as well - surely that is 3 things to do essentially the same job? For over night trips do you have the tent as well?
Compass, yes I have 2 but I never use them never mind consider them an emergency requirement (boat compass and map compass). I would turn to my GPS in an emergency to report my position to CG or whomever responds but that's not why I carry it (I like the pretty trails, and the speedo function).

There are of course items I would add to my list, not surprisingly there aren't many (I should probably think harder about removing some):
VHF
A second para flare.

I still think the most important bit of safety kit I pack is my roll*, but maybe it's my balance?

Jim
* last time I mentioned that Mark described surviving a night in the jungle with just a few rolls for food and shelter

Owen
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Re: Emergency Equipment?^

Post by Owen » Fri May 08, 2009 12:37 pm

David A wrote:
Question: should mobile phones, VHF receivers and flares be kept on your person or on/in your kayak? What happens if you get separated from your kayak when paddling solo?
.
Your VHF should, I think, be on you and tied on. It helps to keep the antenna as high and as vertical as possible. If its laying flat on your deck the reception will be marginal. Personally, I keep a day/night flare in my BA and the rest in a dry bag fixed under my deck just in front of the cockpit.

I also carry a Reed Balacalva style hood, fleece hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve.

Don't forget the JELLY BABIES.

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maryinoxford
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Re: Emergency Equipment?^

Post by maryinoxford » Fri May 08, 2009 2:07 pm

Should we divide items into 2 groups?
A) to prevent an emergency arising, e.g. spare paddle.
B) for use when the emergency has happened, e.g. flares.

My own list mainly falls into group A.
Not in Oxford any more...

AllanJ
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Re: Emergency Equipment?^

Post by AllanJ » Fri May 08, 2009 2:34 pm

maryinoxford wrote:Should we divide items into 2 groups?
A) to prevent an emergency arising, e.g. spare paddle.
B) for use when the emergency has happened, e.g. flares.

My own list mainly falls into group A.
A) Safety equipment
B) Get-out-of-jail-free cards ;)

Two things that seems to be missing for the lists so far are food and water which you can get to while paddling.

Allan

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meatballs
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Re: Emergency Equipment?^

Post by meatballs » Fri May 08, 2009 8:59 pm

On the points of where you should keep it and if its emergency prevention or emergency gear:
He advocated that in remote
exposed areas emergency communication equipment should be carried,
including an EPIRB, VHF radio, flares, satellite phone and mobile phone.
This would be either attached to a lifejacket which would be donned in
deteriorating weather conditions, or contained within a bale-out bag which
could be attached to the life jacket or tethered to the paddler in deteriorating
conditions.

Something I recall from the coronors report for Andrew McAuley http://www.abc.net.au/news/opinion/docu ... cauley.pdf
Ben

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