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North Texas Outdoors Message Board › Kayaking Emergencies (Please Read)

Kayaking Emergencies (Please Read)

A former member
Post #: 177
At two different events I have had persons new to kayaking attend and fall out of their boats. This is to be expected but I would recommend that anyone leading an event, along with any co-organizers, have the following items for emergency rescue.

1. Always have a PFD (personal flotation device, life jacket).
2. Serrated knife for cutting away entanglements.
3. A two-way radio (Channel 9 for emergencies) with NOAA weather radio alerts enabled.
4. A hand pump to pump water out of submerged yaks.
5. A paddle sleeve that blows up and can be used as a secondary flotation.
6. A throw rope that is prepped to latch on to kayaks or PFD's for towing.
7. A flashing beacon and whistle (or small air horn).
8. Flare gun (highly recommended for off shore night events).

All participants in events should have at least the following:

1. PFD (personal flotation device, life jacket).
2. Serrated knife for cutting away entanglements.
3. Whistle
4. Flashlight
5. Water
6. Hand pump and Rope.

For additional suggestions on kayak gear (click the "More" button at the top of this page > click "Files" > click the file "Kayak Gear" > Save to your desktop)

All persons should feel comfortable in their swimming abilities before attending an event and all members should watch the following videos and attempt (with assistance) a near shore self rescue:

Assisted Rescue (The "T" Maneuver)

Self Rescue (The "Ladder" Maneuver)

A past event at White Rock Lake is a good example of why participants should be more aware of what they need to take and what obstacles they may have to overcome. We were faced with a river that was not clean, had possible snakes and an unmanageable shore line (with poison ivy and no area for take out). A person new to kayaking fell out of their boat. Since we had a hand pump available we were able to get the individual to a tree to pull himself out of the water and then pump out his kayak.

Know the Weather: TWC Interactive Weather Map / NOAA Weather
Know the Flow Rate: USGS Real Time Water Data for Texas

Having a disclaimer on your event is not necessary but sometimes helps provide pertinent information.

Sample Disclaimer: "Check this site for updates! Weather and venue calendars are subject to change and an alternative date, time or venue may be posted if necessary. Also, if you plan to attend RSVP, any last minute cancellations or additions can be an upset to reservations. Any other organizers or outside services wanting to combine events please contact event organizer before advertising so that we can provide for a safe and informed event for all of our guests. All events are attend at your own risk. Organizer(s) reserve right to cancel or postpone the event due to weather or safety concerns without expectation of reimbursement of costs or fees to participants."

Avoid Group Think! - All members should be aware of group think. Sometimes organizers or even participants may make the wrong call on safety and influence others to take unnecessary risks. Think for yourself, research and have prior knowledge of weather, personal limits and equipment needed. If for any reason you think your personal safety may be at stake, make it known and if necessary walk away.

As I help lead some of these events I am realizing the necessity of preparedness since we never know what level of experience attendees will have or their foresight into the equipment needed.

Hope these recommendations are beneficial, please feel free to pass along.

Also See Discussion: "Introduction to Kayaking for the Novice (and a reminder...)"
Book at Recreational Kayaking: The Essential Skills and Safety

Be safe, Have fun!

Thanks, Dave
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