St David's rescue^

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Mark R
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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Mark R »

Taran Tyla wrote:We were all comfortable with the conditions with the exception of the guy in the water.
Okay, so I'll be less po-faced now...that comment did bring out a smile on my face.

Anyway, from the opening bumf of the 5 Star Syllabus...

'The BCU Five Star Leader has the skills and judgement to select appropriate trips for a range of ability levels'
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Oarsome
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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Oarsome »

Taran Tyla wrote:Theres a hell of a lot of emphasise on the weather here which is odd considering none of you were present.
That's the stock answer to shut down any criticism around these parts. Obviously, the weather was too much for you, considering you needed the RNLI to help you out.
I don't think the conditions were inappropriate for a 5 star assessment. We were all comfortable with the conditions with the exception of the guy in the water.
Perhaps a bit too comfortable, considering you had to make use of the RNLI to help you six guys out with one in the water.

The incident occurred due to the tide giving us less time to sort the swimmer out & get him back in his boat. A few hundred yards would have made all the difference but as it was things happened much more quickly.
Your point? We're taking five star assesment here, with 6 people having to help a single person in trouble. Much too quickly for a five star assesment, and six people helping?
The beach group could have carried on but hampered with an extra boat & a damaged one too.
Yes, good judgment there. Having to land somewhere that breaks a boat, and not able to drag an extra boat. It wouldn't have been pruden leaving the damaged one and taking the undamaged one. No, of course not, let's get the RNLI to give us a lift.
We contacted the Coast Guard by VHF & were told by them that the other group had made it safely around the head, pretty impressive really.
Yes, that's very nice. It's a shame it wasn't enough to act as a relay station, but that people had to be given a lift, a tow or whatever.

Had this been rank amateurs, so be it. But going for a five star assessment with so many (I'd think) experienced paddlers in the water, that's an entirely different story to me.

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by TechnoEngineer »

OK I'll try again....
Taran Tyla wrote:The incident occurred due to the tide giving us less time to sort the swimmer out & get him back in his boat. A few hundred yards would have made all the difference but as it was things happened much more quickly.
a) Did you consider "slack time" in your planning; would a delay at reaching a crux point due to an incident (or drift due to an incident in a given section) cause a serious problem?

b) What's the business idea you're thinking of starting up? Is it critical that you hold the 5* for it?
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Re: St David's rescue

Post by PhilAyr »

Hi Taran ~

A lot of well respected paddlers have given their views on this incident.

Based on your presented facts, I wonder why you are being so defensive ? The leader in my view got it wrong. He made a decision to go out in conditions that were clearly beyond the skill level of some in the group. In a situation like that a group is only as strong as the weakest paddler. A 5* assessment should be challenging but not at the expense of putting the lives of all who attend at risk.

I am sorry Taran , but what is even more alarming is that you just don’t seem to get it. If you go on sticking to your guns on this one, then how on earth will you qualify as a 5* star coach. Come to think of it, how did the assessor get his?

Phil

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Taran Tyla »

PhilAyr wrote:Hi Taran ~

A lot of well respected paddlers have given their views on this incident.

Based on your presented facts, I wonder why you are being so defensive ? The leader in my view got it wrong. He made a decision to go out in conditions that were clearly beyond the skill level of some in the group. In a situation like that a group is only as strong as the weakest paddler. A 5* assessment should be challenging but not at the expense of putting the lives of all who attend at risk.

I am sorry Taran , but what is even more alarming is that you just don’t seem to get it. If you go on sticking to your guns on this one, then how on earth will you qualify as a 5* star coach. Come to think of it, how did the assessor get his?

Phil
I appreciate your comment Phil, the way I see it is if the indecent hadn't happened so close to the headland we would probably paddled around to Porth Melgan without any probs. It might be fair to say that the swimmer shouldn't have been in the group on that particular day but that was not my decision to make.

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by TechnoEngineer »

Taran Tyla wrote:the 2 knot remit in the 4 star is next to useless
I wouldn't necessarily take that too seriously. I've recently queried the BCU about a number of their remit definitions as they *do* appear to be unnecessarily restrictive - no answer back from them yet. I copied in my LCO, who has got back to me and advised me to "not take them too literally".

Put it this way, the 4 Star WW remit is "Grade 2(3) in WW spec kayaks". That would exclude the Tryweryn above the campsite as well as most of the man-made WW courses in the UK, where a lot of intermediates are coached. On that basis, pretty much *every* 4 Star WW leader and MWE coach routinely operate out of remit.
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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Jim »

Taran Tyla wrote:I don't think it was dangerous at all as we were all very experienced & comfortable in the conditions with the exception of the swimmer (no disrespect to him). In fact is was bloody good fun out there & an opportunity for the swimmer to build his experience with 5 other paddlers all perfectly capable of looking after him.
The thread has moved on a lot since the reply I lost this afternoon, but I more convinced than ever that I need to draw your attention to this bit for you to reflect upon (and not for me to pass judgement, although of course I have because we all do).

Something in that snippet suggests to me that your leadership toolbox is missing something, I think the something is empathy with your least able (or just unlucky) group member. It is not just empathy that is required, but empathy using an experienced pair of eyes. Your swimmer may have been quite comfortable in freezing cold water in a serious tide race, but that may have been down to not really understanding how serious the situation was, which is where the leader needs to be able to view it from their perspective, but using their own knowledge and experience to extrapolate outcomes and understand better than the lesser paddler what the issues are.

All I ask is that you consider that and see if you really still believe it was all OK.

To my mind there are 2 primary rules to sea kayaking:
1) No swimming
2) Refer to rule 1.
To me having someone take a swim would change everything, because I have been out in some fairly hairy conditions with a range of abilities, and I have never yet had anyone take a swim. If people started swimming in a group I was in, I would naturally think things were already on their way rapidly downhill. I know that's not quite what I said about Mikes report the other day, in that I pointed out that we sometimes find we have a difficult choice and make what in hindsight we might consider to be the wrong decision - been there, done that, fortunately we never had any swimmers. Thinking about it this week, I am more sure that a swimmer would have guided me to correct decisions because I abhor the concept so much.

So. I don't think it was in any way your fault that the situation came about (too much pressure from an over ambitious assessor?), you, in fact most of the group, clearly have a high degree of skill and would probably be a great person to have along on a trip. But, I'm not necessarily sure you have the right attributes for a 5* if you really think all that was good fun and not serious and I would urge you to do some serious soul searching before you set up your business to make sure it is the right thing for you, and you are the right person for it.

It probably doesn't take the edge of my message at all, but I have a list of people, from my white water days, and some of them very very good at it (others not so) whom I would paddle with any time, yet I would tell a beginner or perhaps even intermediate paddler, never to paddle with, or whom when I was involved with a club I would never have allowed to lead a group. For the most part it is simple lack of empathy for other people in the group, in some cases it is clearly "I find it easy why don't you?" which I think is way more extreme than you have come across.

My own position? Well I stopped coaching when I realised I had lost the empathy, it was the secret to being a successful coach as far as I was concerned, without it coaching seemed pointless.

I wish you every success, and I don't believe it was your screw up that is being discussed, I just have one niggling concern about your take on the thing. I might have read it wrong, and if so feel free to ignore me.

I think I might start a thread with a story of my own.....

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Mark R »

One aspect of this I don't really understand...perhaps Taran you are able to fill in the gaps here?

* The Saturday assessment session was a disaster; let's surely agree that any commercial coaching course which has someone swim several km and involves several unscheduled lifeboats/ helicopters and a mention in the national media can be chalked up as a disaster.

* If I understand your account correctly, the course providers then went ahead with the planned evening/ night session, and also the following days' paddle, and also the final pass/ fail judgement and feedback.

* Unless I'm missing/ failing to understand something, that second bullet point strikes me as bizarre/ rather surreal. How did the course providers explain the continuation of the course? Was there any discussion of cancelling/ curtailing the assessment? How (if at all) did they square/ rationalise passing final judgement on your planning and leadership, when theirs had demonstrably failed the previous day?
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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Taran Tyla »

Jim wrote:
Taran Tyla wrote:I don't think it was dangerous at all as we were all very experienced & comfortable in the conditions with the exception of the swimmer (no disrespect to him). In fact is was bloody good fun out there & an opportunity for the swimmer to build his experience with 5 other paddlers all perfectly capable of looking after him.
The thread has moved on a lot since the reply I lost this afternoon, but I more convinced than ever that I need to draw your attention to this bit for you to reflect upon (and not for me to pass judgement, although of course I have because we all do).

Something in that snippet suggests to me that your leadership toolbox is missing something, I think the something is empathy with your least able (or just unlucky) group member. It is not just empathy that is required, but empathy using an experienced pair of eyes. Your swimmer may have been quite comfortable in freezing cold water in a serious tide race, but that may have been down to not really understanding how serious the situation was, which is where the leader needs to be able to view it from their perspective, but using their own knowledge and experience to extrapolate outcomes and understand better than the lesser paddler what the issues are.

All I ask is that you consider that and see if you really still believe it was all OK.

To my mind there are 2 primary rules to sea kayaking:
1) No swimming
2) Refer to rule 1.
To me having someone take a swim would change everything, because I have been out in some fairly hairy conditions with a range of abilities, and I have never yet had anyone take a swim. If people started swimming in a group I was in, I would naturally think things were already on their way rapidly downhill. I know that's not quite what I said about Mikes report the other day, in that I pointed out that we sometimes find we have a difficult choice and make what in hindsight we might consider to be the wrong decision - been there, done that, fortunately we never had any swimmers. Thinking about it this week, I am more sure that a swimmer would have guided me to correct decisions because I abhor the concept so much.

So. I don't think it was in any way your fault that the situation came about (too much pressure from an over ambitious assessor?), you, in fact most of the group, clearly have a high degree of skill and would probably be a great person to have along on a trip. But, I'm not necessarily sure you have the right attributes for a 5* if you really think all that was good fun and not serious and I would urge you to do some serious soul searching before you set up your business to make sure it is the right thing for you, and you are the right person for it.

It probably doesn't take the edge of my message at all, but I have a list of people, from my white water days, and some of them very very good at it (others not so) whom I would paddle with any time, yet I would tell a beginner or perhaps even intermediate paddler, never to paddle with, or whom when I was involved with a club I would never have allowed to lead a group. For the most part it is simple lack of empathy for other people in the group, in some cases it is clearly "I find it easy why don't you?" which I think is way more extreme than you have come across.

My own position? Well I stopped coaching when I realised I had lost the empathy, it was the secret to being a successful coach as far as I was concerned, without it coaching seemed pointless.

I wish you every success, and I don't believe it was your screw up that is being discussed, I just have one niggling concern about your take on the thing. I might have read it wrong, and if so feel free to ignore me.

I think I might start a thread with a story of my own.....
Hi Jim, having had time to ponder the situation in bed last night I realise that we should have either not taken the weakest paddler with us or insisted on a change of venue suitable to his own skills. This is easy to say in hindsight but much harder to realise in reality. I didn't get a chance to lead on the first day so it wasn't my call to make though in all honesty I would have taken him if it was my decision.
Having experienced this now I will have some tough decisions to make in future when taking groups out in future.

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by sleepybubble »

Douglas Wilcox wrote:Taran you don't need to defend the indefensible. You did nothing wrong.

Lots of manlove for a great guy...

Douglas
If you follow his blog Taran has made the trek up to Skye. Judging by the photo's the weather was a bit too nice though.

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Kayaks'N'Beer »

Surely a five star assessment should take place in conditions that test the candidate to the max? We're not talking about the normal run of events here, I'd expect (correct me if I'm wrong here) the bread and butter of most 5* leaders will be leading groups of beginners/intermediates in fairly sheltered water but, for the exam, you need to push the boat out a bit. Isn't this why the 4* guys are affectionately called "guinea pigs"?

My paddling partner was invited to fill this particular role with Gordon Brown a couple of years back and he came back with tales that included lots of words like "ridiculous" and "bricking it". It turned out he held his own nicely but this was not the assumption of the leaders or aspirants on the day. He knew what he was signing up for - this was not to be a guided tour, well within his comfort zone (otherwise it would be a 4* assessment) this was testing the candidates abilities to look after him when he was well out his depth.

It's my understanding that not everyone would want to, or be invited to be one of these guinea pigs. Some people are happy enough pootling around in 4* water and more power to them. Big water is not everyone's cup of tea and that's fair enough but for others it's what paddling is all about. One question no one has asked is what was the "victim's" take, after he was off the water and the adrenaline started wearing off?

The other thing that would be a wasted opportunity for Taran not to consider is what could have been done differently, not just at the launch but throughout the course of events? These situations rarely come about because of one single decision although, as time approaches incident, it does tend to be harder and harder to avoid. I'm dubious that towing the swimmer's boat away from him, toward the beach was the best course of action, although it sounds like it kind of happened by accident. Maybe there was a point where a different call could have been made and the empty boat towed round the headland? Maybe a whole bunch of little decisions might have been made differently?

This kind of analysis is how we learn from these situations and improve as a result, not by fist waving and calling the organisers all the idiots of the day. Let's not forget, sometimes, even with the best intentions in the world, shit just happens. Someone KO'd their boat, surfing onto rocks - that can happen to anyone, even in conditions way below 5* assessment remit. It's how you deal with this that is the test of your abilities, not the fact that something happened in the first place. So the leaders contacted CG - not trying to be funny but isn't that what CG is there for? If no one ever got into trouble at sea we wouldn't need them and people only ever get into trouble at sea as a mixture of poor luck and poor judgement.

Strikes me that the leaders on this particular day did everything they thought was right, perhaps made a few mistakes that put them in harms way and, instead of being idiots about it, they acted responsibly and called for assistance from the very organisation that is there to provide assistance in exactly this kind of situation. From that point it was CG's decision how to handle it and they did this by moving their assets into position in the manner they felt was appropriate.

There seems to be a lot of people on this board who get their knickers in a knot every time CG is mentioned. "I'd never go out in water like that, shame on you" seems to be the attitude. Well some of us do, some of us are comfortable with it but, it doesn't take much for the sea to throw you a curve ball and that's equally true in the case of a flatwater junkie getting hit with an unexpected squall as it is for someone who likes a few meters of swell being caught out by a few meters more than expected. Foesight is never 20-20.

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by sleepybubble »

Mark R wrote:One aspect of this I don't really understand...perhaps Taran you are able to fill in the gaps here?


* Unless I'm missing/ failing to understand something, that second bullet point strikes me as bizarre/ rather surreal. How did the course providers explain the continuation of the course? Was there any discussion of cancelling/ curtailing the assessment? How (if at all) did they square/ rationalise passing final judgement on your planning and leadership, when theirs had demonstrably failed the previous day?
I think its not for Taran to rationalise this decision. I totally agree it is bizarre. Many providers would I am sure have cancelled and rescheduled with a free retake. Maybe would of been time better spent on the second day as a debrief/learning exercise and come up with a joint statement. It would be nice to see the provider explain their actions. However strange they may seem.

I mean how can you keep your mind on the game for a night navigation when you've been plucked off a beach by the RNLI a few hours before? The decision to carry on with the assessment and then fail the candidates is pretty callous. You'd have to be a total robot to block out what had happened.

Edit: I guess its not Tarans empathy I'd be calling into question as a starter.


Mark

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Dave Thomas »

Hi Taran. Again, you are to be applauded for your frankness and willingness to engage with this discussion. But I've been concerned through the thread so far that there seems to be on your part a slight feeling of (testosterone-fuelled?) levity and lack of appreciation of the seriousness of the event.
Taran Tyla wrote:I appreciate your comment Phil, the way I see it is if the indecent hadn't happened so close to the headland we would probably paddled around to Porth Melgan without any probs.
This attitude worries me the most - most 'incidents' have the capacity to be recoverable or to turn nasty, depending on precisely how, when or where they occur. The skill required is to be able to minimise the possibility of said 'incidents' occurring in the first place - but particularly so when they have increased potential to tun nasty - rather than to trust to luck that they don't turn nasty. To say that a particular incident turned 'nasty' just because it happened when/where it did is surely rather missing the point ....
Taran Tyla wrote:Having experienced this now I will have some tough decisions to make in future when taking groups out in future.
Ah - at last a chink of light appears.
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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Douglas Wilcox »

Hi Taran,

First of all can I repeat Phil's and my invitation? You can join us any time you are up our way.

You are obviously a natural sea kayaker who has learned the physical skills extraordinarily quickly. However there is much more to sea kayaking than being able to balalance in a boat with a grin on your face in a tide race. Jim has made some very good points about leadership and being able to appreciate how some one else feels (empathy) who may not be so at home in the conditions. Try to remember how you felt the first time you were scared by bumpy water off a headland. As an aside if you have never been scared yourself, you probably cannot be a good leader.

As I and several others have said, the person leading should have turned back from St David's Head after the first accidental capsize. Jim has said that the ability of the weakest member should determine the choice of route on the day. I totally agree with Jim and would add that the weakest member is not the best person to make the decision him or herself. Kayaksnbeer and you have both said that 5* assessments need to take place in challenging conditions. Having experienced this as a guinea pig myself, I found myself extremely challenged in the roughest conditions I had experienced and to use kayaksnbeer's words I was bricking it. However, the chosen venue was very different from St David's Head, there were plenty get outs if things turned nasty.

A key role of leadership (I am talking seakayaking here, not WW1 trench warfare) is constantly assessing the members of the group for signs of distress eg it might be they have suddenly gone quiet. If you suspect someone is having difficulties dont just ask "are you OK?" Because of testosterone and peer pressure they will anwser "I'm fine." Pick up on the body language and the conditions and if you think they are not OK then it is up to you the leader to make the decision to turn back for them. That is what leadership is about.

Jim is also right about the no swimming rule. By 5 star level your balance and bracing skills so should be so advanced that you will only capsize in extreme conditions where that fine line between getting away with it and drowning is so narrow that no sane person would be out there for fun. So if a capsize occurs take it as a very serious warning that worse will come if you don't turn back. You should get into the way of turning back in your regular group. Once you have done it once, it is much easier the next time. The last time I turned back from an intended route was on Sunday, with Tony on the Solway. It comes so naturally to us that it is not a big deal.

You have now joined the same club that I have, you have called the rescue services. I have done everything I can to avoid calling on them again over the last 25 years. That involved me rethinking my attitude to extreme conditions and maybe that is something you should do too. Surving extreme conditions is not a game, your lives and those who rescued you were risked.

As for the professional who led the assessment and then carried on as if nothing had happened... that beggars belief!!! Is it now part of BCU 5* training to consider calling the emergency services just a routine part of a day out? If I had been on that assessment, I would do two things. I would ask for my money back and give it to the RNLI and then I would write to the BCU asking for a review of his fitness to coach. Maybe he is entirely fit to coach because there are other factors not discussed here but after the facts that you and the RNLI report have presented, I think this can only be properly assesed by a group of his experienced peers investigating every aspect of the trip. In the meantime, members of the public may be at risk if this person continues to coach in such an unempathetic way, or is this the general standard of coaching that is acceptable to the profession?

Of course maybe there is already an official BCU investigation taking place but I would still want my money back.

Douglas

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Fast Pat »

With the direction of travel this discussion is taking I thought that I should check the BCU Assessors Notes for 5* Sea Leader. What a surprise there arent any on the website - every other discipline is covered?

http://www.canoe-england.org.uk/coaching/bcu-documents/

The syllabus is available here:

http://www.canoe-england.co.uk/media/pd ... 20V2-2.pdf

Which helpfully states "Staff should also refer to the current version of the Trainer / Assessor notes."

And this maybe where the problem is - assessors are interpreting the new 5* Leader award as one that can only be awarded posthumousley, the 2008 "Guidance Notes" do state that the "The award should be accessible to all paddlers who paddle on the sea on a reguler basis and should not be seen as the preserve of a few elite performers".

These notes go on to state "The Candidate must not pass on the responsibility of decsion making to a thrid party and at all times they must be concerned for the comfort and welfare of the party throughout the whole journey both on and off the water. The ability of the weakest member of the group must be taken into consideration."

It strikes me that not only did the unfortunate Candidates pass on responsibility but so did the assessor.

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Grahamd »

Taran
It sounds that your original route choice was a sign of good leadership and assessment of conditions.

Anyway, I am not sure what book you were recommended for weather, but I have found the RYA Weather Handbook Northern Hemisphere edition by Chris Tibbs (RYA) to be very good for weather at sea.

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by rockhopper »

Perhaps there is a case to take along a support RIB in such assessments (not a compulsory requirement though!!). Whilst I appreciate that a 5* assessment is designed to test the entrants, the very presence of of 'guinea pigs' and testing conditions means that potential incidents are a possibility. A support boat would mean that the skill of the kayakers could probably be tested further than would normally allow but with an increased level of safety. It was also mean that a separated group could easily be kept in contact either by relaying VHF messages between the support boat and the kayakers or by intervention by the support boat. In both the recent incidents this would have negated the need for the call for RNLI assistance. Sailing clubs invariably have a support boat and 'police' their own events and therefore very rarely call for RNLI assistance.

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Kayaks'N'Beer »

5 Star Leader Award Sea Kayak - Syllabus

Previous experience -
• The candidate must provide documented logged evidence of a minimum of 24 varied,
quality, advanced sea kayak days in 3 different sea areas. This should include at least
one multi-day trip.
Really? Highest BCU leadership award available requires an applicant who has attained nugget status? I never really found a problem with 4 star - the ability to sit in a boat the right way round, rescue people in swimming pool conditions and understand forecasts, tidal flows and know when you have no business being out in the water - is a good thing and well worth learning but surely 5-star should be a whole nother ball game? 24 days in the water? 25 if you count the overnighter? That's way too quick!I get that most candidates will have way in excess of that level of experience but the mere fact that they're stating that as a minimum is alarming to me.
Last edited by Kayaks'N'Beer on Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by TechnoEngineer »

The support rib could also shoot video to be used for feedback off the water?
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Re: St David's rescue

Post by rockhopper »

The support rib could also shoot video to be used for feedback off the water?
Even better !

Rog.

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by sleepybubble »

Rib, not a well thought out idea. Rib would be a liability itself in locations that sea kayaks find challenging. You don't see many ribs out playing in races or rockhopping through skerries on swelly days. Maybe the paddlers should all have sponsons until they have passed, seems just as sensible by comparison.

Much better just to stick to the guidance and choose appropriate locations.

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by sleepybubble »

Kayaks'N'Beer wrote:
5 Star Leader Award Sea Kayak - Syllabus

Previous experience -
• The candidate must provide documented logged evidence of a minimum of 24 varied,
quality, advanced sea kayak days in 3 different sea areas. This should include at least
one multi-day trip.
Really? Highest BCU leadership award available requires an applicant who has attained nugget status? I never really found a problem with 4 star - the ability to sit in a boat the right way round, rescue people in swimming pool conditions and understand forecasts, tidal flows and know when you have no business being out in the water - is a good thing and well worth learning but surely 5-star should be a whole nother ball game? 24 days in the water? 25 if you count the overnighter? That's way too quick!I get that most candidates will have way in excess of that level of experience but the mere fact that they're stating that as a minimum is alarming to me.
erm driving test.... how many lessons. Comparative risks.

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by tg »

rockhopper wrote:Perhaps there is a case to take along a support RIB in such assessments (not a compulsory requirement though!!). Whilst I appreciate that a 5* assessment is designed to test the entrants, the very presence of of 'guinea pigs' and testing conditions means that potential incidents are a possibility. A support boat would mean that the skill of the kayakers could probably be tested further than would normally allow but with an increased level of safety. It was also mean that a separated group could easily be kept in contact either by relaying VHF messages between the support boat and the kayakers or by intervention by the support boat. In both the recent incidents this would have negated the need for the call for RNLI assistance. Sailing clubs invariably have a support boat and 'police' their own events and therefore very rarely call for RNLI assistance.

Rog.
The local ILB is RHIB and so is the Dutch ALB (or equivalent) over on t'other side. Definitely sounds like a good idea to me. Perhaps link G5 to RNLI excercises. (I'm sure that's been mooted before).
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Kayaks'N'Beer
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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Kayaks'N'Beer »

sleepybubble wrote:
Kayaks'N'Beer wrote:
5 Star Leader Award Sea Kayak - Syllabus

Previous experience -
• The candidate must provide documented logged evidence of a minimum of 24 varied,
quality, advanced sea kayak days in 3 different sea areas. This should include at least
one multi-day trip.
Really? Highest BCU leadership award available requires an applicant who has attained nugget status? I never really found a problem with 4 star - the ability to sit in a boat the right way round, rescue people in swimming pool conditions and understand forecasts, tidal flows and know when you have no business being out in the water - is a good thing and well worth learning but surely 5-star should be a whole nother ball game? 24 days in the water? 25 if you count the overnighter? That's way too quick!I get that most candidates will have way in excess of that level of experience but the mere fact that they're stating that as a minimum is alarming to me.
erm driving test.... how many lessons. Comparative risks.
Yeah, sure I get that but how many drivers pass their test and go out and become driving instructors the next day? I'd imagine a lot of people taking the trouble of doing the 5* are interested in doing exactly that.

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Fast Pat »

Kayaks'N'Beer wrote: Yeah, sure I get that but how many drivers pass their test and go out and become driving instructors the next day? I'd imagine a lot of people taking the trouble of doing the 5* are interested in doing exactly that.
The 5* Leader award is not about coaching. Syllabus quote "The BCU Five Star Leader has the skills and judgement to select appropriate trips for a range of ability levels, however it is not a coaching award and is not suitable for introducing beginners to the sport."

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Kayaks'N'Beer
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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Kayaks'N'Beer »

Fast Pat wrote:
Kayaks'N'Beer wrote: Yeah, sure I get that but how many drivers pass their test and go out and become driving instructors the next day? I'd imagine a lot of people taking the trouble of doing the 5* are interested in doing exactly that.
The 5* Leader award is not about coaching. Syllabus quote "The BCU Five Star Leader has the skills and judgement to select appropriate trips for a range of ability levels, however it is not a coaching award and is not suitable for introducing beginners to the sport."
I have to admit the "not suitable for introducing beginners to the sport." thing has always confused me but I'm aware that I'm not even remotely familiar with the ins and outs of BCU accreditation so I'm guessing there's reasoning there.

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by TechnoEngineer »

A L2+MWE coach would be able to take a complete beginner out to sea in a moderate water environment. That was actually how I was introduced to the sport.
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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Taran Tyla »

Hmmm, seems a lot of controversy over the continuation of the course? as I've mentioned the Coastguard were called to stop the situation escalating & to hell with what anyone thinks about that. Personal & then group safety comes first, read the BCU notes.
With this in mind we were all quite calm once we'd reached whitesands thanks to the Coast Guard. I was still focussed & not evan slightly bothered about carrying on, it was blatantly obvious the night nav would not be in rough conditions & tomorrow was another day. The Guinea pigs weren't needed for the evening paddle & the swimmer sensible opted out from joining us the following day.
If there was talk about not continuing I didn't hear it though we did split for the car shuttle so I wasn't with the group chatting on the beach.

Douglas, thanks for the comment natural born kayaker (LOL), I wish that was true. I'm actually quite timid on the sea & definitely get scared as I approach my comfort zone so I wish people would stop mentioning bravado? I was comfortable in the conditions so maybe, just maybe everyone is forming there own ideas of the conditions because one member of our group was not comfortable.

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Re: St David's rescue

Post by Mark R »

Kayaks'N'Beer wrote:Surely a five star assessment should take place in conditions that test the candidate to the max?
Several answers to that...

1. No. If the conditions on the assessment day are the most challenging the candidate can cope with (or perhaps have ever had to cope with), they really aren't up to the grade. I would suggest that to be able to safely lead groups, you should have significant experience and comfort with more challenging conditions than those you'd normally choose to lead groups in. Something similar applies in WW 5 Star (which I don't possess); the assessing will be done on Grade 3 and 4 water (bread and butter white water paddling), but it would be reasonable to expect a 'leader' to be entirely comfortable with such conditions personally, and indeed able to paddle more challenging WW competently. Such competence and experience can be judged from an evaluation of the candidate's personal skills, and their logged paddling.

2. Almost any trip can provide challenging paddling to stretch a candidate; if Taran's original plan for a trip along a lee shore hadn't been vetoed as not macho enough, a trip could have been enjoyed which still offered entirely appropriate challenges; rockhopping in swell, boat handling in tight spots, tidal spots to play on, maybe even a chance to stick necks out into a bit of surf/ swell nearer Broad Haven or such spots. It's all there, but with less consequences.

To conclude (and nicely summarising Douglas's points about his Skye assessment experience), the relevant section in the excellent BCU Coaching Handbook is titled 'Testing Conditions/ Low Consequences'. Says it all, really. Given that the assessor we're talking about has written a chapter in this book, I should imagine that he's read this.
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