Rescues

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MikeB
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Rescues

Post by MikeB » Sat Apr 24, 2004 1:25 pm

we're developing a "rescue day" with our local inshore lifeboat and as part of that, we're looking at current thinking for rescue scenarios generally.

I'd welcome thoughts on dealing with rescues with sea-boats, anything really but perhaps this will serve as a starting point:-

1/ The usual paddler-in-the-water scenario - whats the best way to get him back in the boat and deal with the water?

Does the "bow lift" actually work, especially in a big sea with a loaded boat?

Is the "scoop method" better?

X / T / I rescues - thoughts??

2/ Self rescues - paddle float / re-entry & roll / others?

3/ Towing - what works and what doesn't? What's current best practise? (I've seen a suggestion that its a good idea to tow two boats by running your tow line thro the deck-lines of both boats - - - )

Tow systems - thoughts (I know we've debated this before)

Rafted tows / husky / V tows - thoughts?

4/ How does the lifeboat deal with a group of kayaks - carry them on the l/boat / tow them ? If so, what works and what doesn't?


5/ Anything else??

Cheers - Mike.

Chris S
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Towing

Post by Chris S » Sat Apr 24, 2004 9:21 pm

(I've seen a suggestion that its a good idea to tow two boats by running your tow line thro the deck-lines of both boats - - - )

If you are towing two rafted up boats e.g. a casualty supported by an able paddler, it is best to lead the rope under the casualty's decklines near the bow and clip on to the supporters end toggle. Then, if you have to release the tow, the supporter isn't inexticably attached bow to bow to the casualty.


Phil
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Rescues

Post by Phil » Sat Apr 24, 2004 9:45 pm

Hi Mike
For what its worth, heres my two-pennorth!
1/ The usual paddler-in-the-water scenario
To an extent this needs to be broken down a little into loaded / unloaded, fit paddler / knackered paddler, boat design (bulkhead behind seat especially) most methods work, however a loaded boat will need to be turned right way up and pumped out usually, in this scenario I would either use the scoop or retrieve paddler over my cockpit area. We used both last week and the victim said that over my cockpit was slightly easier (same victim bless!)I have used a rescue sling in the past but find them fiddly and time consuming to arrange. I paddle a Jubilee with a large cockpit this gives a low area to swim over and onto, my mates who have HMs with a small cockpit favour the scoop as there is a high area in front of them which makes it more difficult to drag a victim over it. The over the cockpit method has the advantage that you can physically help / encourage the victim. Next problem is water, we are big fans of electric pumps but always have an alternate pump system as backup.Any pump sytem that allows you to pump with a spray deck on is good, I have recently seen a deck with a little pump tube through the deck to accomadate a stirrup type pump (looks pretty funny walking around!)I think I saw it in the Knoydart catalog. A swamped (loaded) boat in anything of a swell will quickly take on water pretty much as fast as you can pump with the deck off, as a last point about electric submersible pumps they state usually that they shift 3 gallons a minute, my first fitted pump was a Gusher 8 which claimed 8 gallonspm. However the electric one with fresh batteries pumps constantly not intermittently and with fresh batteries will do this for about 6-9 hours. This means cockpit area dry in about 5-8 mins, time for a fag choccy coffee / pep talk etc and loads less tiring!
Empty boats (rescue heaven!)Bow lift, if boat is fitted with a bulkhead immediately behind the seat that should pretty much be that, boat empty. If bulkhead fitted further back you are looking at a couple of gallons being left in, usually a big sponge for 2-3 mins should lose that. Its possible to bow lift in fairly big seas if you time it right and raft up with someone. sometimes the swimmer can wieght the stern to help, then Slide and Glide, the xed boats make a very stable raft in a seaway.
Bow lift in a big sea / loaded NO WAY!! if you can do this then you can eat 25 cream crackers dry. get um in and pump.
Be aware that if you carry as much stuff as I tend to in the cockpit, particularly galling is karrimat, it will impede pumping. encourage potential swimmers to keep a clean cockpit.
Use a paddle leash or park always when rescuing.
T rescues H rescues I rescues, only with empty boats and not with my paddles. Good to be aware off / practise but settle on a system that works for you and practise lots! preferably when conditions are real.
Self rescues.......we call that rolling! again practise preferably when its real.Again R+Rs of all ilks and paddle floats are great to be aware of practise them by all means particularly if you paddle alone, but if you swim alone you shouldnt be there should you? Having said that Ive r+rd twice in 25 years for real (painful admission time)I also think that being able to paddle on after a self rescue is important and again would consider an electric pump useful, but I havnt put this to the test yet! Im very reluctant to get wet these days.
3 Towing
Basics are fairly easy Line 2-4 boat lengths long thats about 20-25 mts (most tow lines are too short)
Some shock absorbsion in the system, usually bungee cord 8mm works well, and dont cut the line to accomadate it, spiral wrap the line or braid it in.
Stainless carbine hooks, not alloy carabiners and big enough to open with cold hands.
Quick release......vital this bit. cam cleats tend to jump out but I think this is usually because its the wrong size for the line, I dont like waist tows but Nigel Dennis swears by them (but then he sells them)
For group use in a sheltered environment (eg level 3 territory) they are fine.
Fairleads fitted, or bridle to bring towing point to just behind cockpit.
You must be able to adjust lenth of tow to suit wind and sea (swell) conditions.
and a clean back deck is also a good idea but not always achievable.
A snatch tow is a great thing to fit to your boat especially if you like mooching under cliffs or in caves.
We always tow as a rafted tow, if some one needs towing they normally need supporting / recovery time.
Pass the towing line under the rafted assistants decklines and attach to victims boat this allows the assistant to detach him/herself should the towing boat get into difficultys / become a victim, it also hold the two boats together as they will have a tendency to pull apart otherwise.
If tandem towing tow consider towing in series (ie like a train) it works far better than V towing.
Lifeboats........ummm it would be dependent entirely on the situation, but the lifeboats priority would be to save lives, Im sure that if they could retrieve boats safely they would but hey Ask a lifeboatman!
An interesting scenario would be helicopters, I think they do this at the Sea symposium on Uist, as my fingers are getting tired Ill just mention a few points for discussion.
Downdraft area and rafted boats (directly underneath can push your boat underwater)at the edge you go real quick!
Helicopters carry a static charge (ground the winchman)
It will always be tricky because in an ideal world the pilot wants you to go at 15 knots upwind
Ever towed an empty boat?
Carry a vhf and a night/day flare on your person, not in the boat.
Phil (Nordcapp Guru, hate that name!)

Phil
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Towing again!

Post by Phil » Sat Apr 24, 2004 10:11 pm

Hi Chris
I always find its the other way round, if you clip into victims boat then the supporter can slide along and unclip both boats,and also retrieve towline, as a further point it highlights why you need a clean line at the towing end (about 3mts), before the inevitable spagetti , float,bungee etc gets stuck in the end loop and you have two boats inextricably tied together. It also rather neatly points up why not to use end loops for towing, they are a long way away!
Phil

Chris S
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Towing again

Post by Chris S » Sun Apr 25, 2004 1:18 pm

Yes, I agree with that Phil.


Chris S
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Towing again

Post by Chris S » Sun Apr 25, 2004 6:21 pm

Perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea to incorporate a quick release for the tow-ee in their end of a towing system? For example Scottish Paddler Supplies' sell a stainless Quick Release Snap Hook (for about £9.50). When you clip on you would hand the victim the end of a length of light line attached to the release mechanism and tell them to give it a tug if they need to release their end of the tow.

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MikeB
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Towing using decklines

Post by MikeB » Sun Apr 25, 2004 6:30 pm

Interesting - are we happy with using the deckline as the tow-point? No worries about the deck fittings pulling out?? (Especially in big seas??)

I take the point re the "supporter" being able to undo the connection.

Any more, anyone?

Mike.

Phil
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deckfittings

Post by Phil » Mon Apr 26, 2004 10:53 am

Never had it happen, but I have lost a tow due to a snapped endloop. The essential thing is to have lots of shock absorbtion in the system, on Uist I had to "crudely fashion" a towline and could only use about 1 mt of braiding as shock absobtion, it was jerky! The actual loadings are relatively light. Interesting point about the quick release crab. We are also intending to experiment with towing on a bight with a floating crab/snaplink, if we can get it together Ill post any findings.
Phil

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: towlines, rescues, pumps, thermal protection

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:26 am

Tow lines

Coming into kayaking from yachting I was horrified by what I read in the books about towing. I think both rescuer and rescuee need to be able to quick release.

Hence on the "Sgeir line" of kayaks (Sula Sgeir, Sgeir Bhan, Sgeir Mhor) we use a painter tied to the bow end loop, led back to a cleat on the cockpit coming. Here is the arrangement on Sgeir Bhan.

Be warned that although I think this is a good system, I have had repeated emails, from a gentleman claiming to be from the BCU, that I should remove photos showing it from my web site as it is a bad example and a danger to those that copy it.

The rescuer can chuck a throwbag with a stainless crab at the rescuee who then clips it into the painter. To release the rescuuee can either paddle towards the towline until he/she can grab it and then unclip the crab or can release the painter at the cleat.

I have a big D ring mounted just behind the cockpit the rope from the tow bag goes round the D ring then throgh a cleat/fairlead mounted just behind the cockpit on my left hand side, again qick release.

The towline is 15m long with a shock cord loop in it. Once the shock cord is fully extended the strain is taken by the towline again.

Rescues.

1 Roll
2 Renter and roll
3 Get em in the boat and pump.

All that crap TXYZ stuff is a real danger to your hands in rough seas. I know I mushed my hand trying it. Funnily enough your hands are quite important for paddling!!

Pumps

I am a total convert to the Attwood self contained water buster, either fitted semi permanently in your own boat or a free one to pass round a group.

Thermal protection.

Absolutley vital at this time of year. I have tried neoprene but found it horrible to wear. I have tried three more modern fabrics:

I really rate Polartec Aquashell either on its own or under cag/salopettes. It is flexible warm breathable.

Difficult to get in the UK (especially long trousers) since Peak stopped doing it. But 4th element do it for divers: Thermocline range

Rooster do a UK version of Aquashell called Aquafleece, just as warm but not quite so breathable for dinghy sailors.

Both the above are warmer, more breathable, more stretchy, easier to get on and off and don't cause as much underarm chafe as kayak specific Chillcheater's Aquatherm which is beautifully made (but in my opinion from an inferior fabric).

Anyone want to by a XL LS Chillcheater top used twice for £25 including postage? d.e.wilcox(at)clinmed.gla.ac.uk

Douglas
:)

Chris S
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Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2004 4:20 pm

deckfittings

Post by Chris S » Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:26 am

Sea-Screw (oo-er missus)seem to do the same quick release fitting as Scottish Paddler supplies at £5.73 inc. VAT. Described as Carbine pull for quick release for skiing. Not sure how well it would work with a slack line. www.marine-hardware.co.uk...ks_31.html

Phil
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Towing n stuff again!

Post by Phil » Mon Apr 26, 2004 6:55 pm

Hi Douglas
I agree about the rescuee being able to quick release as well and you certainly have an interesting system, however the thought of a big Glaswegian hefting a stainless crab at me is a little scary! I would suggest that usually the reason you are towing is because the rescuee is incapable of paddling (for whatever reason)and this goes some way towards explaining the systems we adopt, namely rafted towing.Working on the basic principle that the rescuee is in some sort of trouble is it fair to ask or expect the rescuee to participate in a skilled retrieval in hairy conditions? to an extent this seems to be begging the question why are we towing this person? It is my personal view that the machanics of a rescue situation should be the responsibility of the rescuers. As regards quick release In a rafted tow the supporter can if not quickly then certainly in a few seconds release both boats from a tow. In the situation where the towing boat gets into difficulties or capsizes with tow line attached a sharp knife works wonders (shades of touching the Void there...) Of course all this assumes you are towing in an emergency situation and not just helping your bone idle foppish Kiwi mate to get a few miles upwind to the car (oops bit bitter there) does illustrate "victim mentality" though....

Couldnt agree more about Attwoods water busters arnt they fantastic? mine has just passed its ignore completely for 12 months and still work test (now I look after it) all I need now is an in-line active charcoal filter and I will be able to pump and drink that brown Scottish water my mates like so much!

I would be interested to know why the BCU type thought your system unsound, I can only assume that he thought an accidental release is possible? Seems a good idea to me, being able to "drop the tow"is a seamanlike practise surely?
Phil

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Towing n stuff again!

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Mon Apr 26, 2004 10:26 pm

Hi Phil, It is actually a small stainless steel crab and if you look closely at the rainbow pic above, it is in the loop which goes through the bottom of a standard river throw bag.

I agree about rafted tows, I do not go out with beginners anywhere they are likely to get tired. Mike and I are "gentleman kayakers", we like paddling the same distance, not too far! My daughter Jennifer paddles much faster than us, so we do not need to worry about her. A tow is most likely if someone is sick or injured when a rafted tow may be the only option.

In our system if both painters are slackened and the tow line crab looped over both, you get the two rafted kayaks running nicely parallel.

The rather superior gentleman did not like the fact that the painter is not secured to the deck every foot or so, like deck lines, and was therefore an entanglement/strangulation/drowning hazard.

Douglas
:)

PaulC
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Re: Thermal protection

Post by PaulC » Tue Apr 27, 2004 7:19 pm

Douglas

You point on thermal protection for immersion is spot on and is my current unsolved conundrum! Hot air temps and cold water. 50/50/50/50 rule. A 50 year old will die in 50 minutes in water at 50 degrees F at 50 degrees longitude (or is it lat!) without suitable clothing.

The aquashell by fourth element is excellent material. Unfortunately for me, my body has rejected a shortsleeve version cos it causes arm rash. On SALE to paddlers wishing to try their body beautiful in it or for other watersports.

Fourth elemnt garments are aimed at the diving market. I contacted them and they do understand the different requirements for kayaking and that there is a potential market so it will be interesting to see if different cuts emerge for the paddling market (if that is indeed the problem and not my body shape!). They are based on the South coast so maybe a visit my be productive and an opportunity to test gear for them !!!! (hints)

I have chillcheater items in post which hopefully will be OK for my build. I suspect though that they will not slow down heat loss as much as the fourth element aquashell as I perceive the materail to be aimed at the "wet and out of water" market.

Paul (Summer has arrived here - fab weekend on Skye and a visit to Isle of May in the Forth)

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Thermal protection

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Tue Apr 27, 2004 7:57 pm

Hi Paul,

Sorry to hear about the arm problem, three of us are using 4th element stuff without probs but I suspect different body shapes may be a factor. Your BA is not too tight is it? I was getting real bad underarm rash with a previous top which I blamed but one day I forgot my BA and the same top was perfect. Adjustment of the BA straps fixed it.

Yes you will find the chillcheater is much thinner and if it is too cold for you then try the Rooster top mentioned above. It is cut looser than either the 4th element or the chillcheater. you can easily wear a thick wicking layer/thin fleece under it. In winter I wear a thin wicking layer under the 4th element.

The dieing in 50min rule is about right but remember at that temp you might only have about 10 mins of useful muscle and brain function to rescue yourself. The more energetic you are the faster you will loose heat if you do not have thermal protection. The remaining 40 mins are immaterial as the rescue services are not going to get to you in that time anyway, (at least not where I usually paddle, and I tend not to go seriously remote).

I spoke to the product development manager at 4th element and he said they have plans for high backed shorts and long trousers, for kayaking market.

Skye is the ace destination :)

Image


Douglas

PaulC
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Re: Thermal protection

Post by PaulC » Tue Apr 27, 2004 10:00 pm

Douglas

What type of fourth element tops do you use - short sleeve, vest or long sleeve.

I will try it without the BA to do a check cos I otherwise liked the top.

Cheers

Paul

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Thermal protection

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Tue Apr 27, 2004 10:20 pm

Hi Paul, 4th element Thermocline long sleeve and short sleeve, no probs with either.
I usually take large in most manufactures ranges but I found the large, though a nice skin tight fit, was difficult to get off, so I went for extra large.
Douglas

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