Only paddle where you can swim to shore - discuss

10 months 3 weeks ago #38166 by Boyan Zlatarev
Hi s513649,
may I ask you what would be your plan if you were separated from your surfski and the communication devices didn’t work? 
Best Regards 
Boyan 
The following user(s) said Thank You: s513649

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 3 weeks ago #38168 by Boyan Zlatarev
@sarzelopes
I think you have to refrain from using extreme examples to justify your opinion.

If i follow your logic then there is no need to have any safety / skills or equipment whatsoever:

Imagine you paddle in the ocean and suddenly a Tzunami hits she shores and kills many people. In that case there is nothing you can do with any of your safety gear and therefore you shouldn’t have any of it.

Being able to swim and self rescue while paddling is the most intuitive thing for me. 

What do you think about this situation:

A paddler goes out and loses his surfski 50 m from the shore and can’t swim back to safety. 

A rescue is triggered and it costs several thousands of Euros and risks the lives of 3-4 people in the rescue crew.

Is this a reasonable waterman behavior on the side of the paddler? 

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 3 weeks ago #38169 by s513649
Hi Boyan. The 'plan' would be determined by the circumstances. If I lost my ski a long way out in these very cold waters, I'd 1) activate my PLB (I bought this after my original post); 2) try to use my VHF as well; 3) use my phone. Re your question above, I wouldn't know if the PLB wasn't working, but either way, I would then swim. I deliberately paddle in a thin wetsuit as I wouldn't be able to swim effectively in a dry suit. I would hope to have a reasonable idea of tide flow (e.g. if it was ebbing NE here I would swim diagonally out of it in either a NW or W direction, and vice versa for flowing. I would have to determine the best swim method for the conditions, for example breast stroke kick on my back if my PFD made freestyle uneconomical. Ditching the PFD for an efficient and stronger freestyle would be an extreme and last ditch matter, as my Personal Locator Beacon is attached to it. While I'm confident in my swimming and reading of conditions, I'm not stupid enough to think I'll make it in extreme offshore conditions in these cold waters. In short, I'll swim, but I'll be in trouble by that time...

Paddling a Swordfish S Hybrid, always paddle solo in the Noth Sea, all year long. Experienced, PE2EL, Scottburgh to Brighton, Pirates to Salt Rock, ‘Dusi, 50 miler etc, but still slow and tippy!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 3 weeks ago #38170 by s513649
Hi Boyan. The 'plan' would be determined by the circumstances. If I lost my ski a long way out in these very cold waters, I'd 1) activate my PLB (I bought this after my original post); 2) try to use my VHF as well; 3) use my phone. Re your question above, I wouldn't know if the PLB wasn't working, but either way, I would then swim. I deliberately paddle in a thin wetsuit as I wouldn't be able to swim effectively in a dry suit. I would hope to have a reasonable idea of tide flow (e.g. if it was ebbing NE here I would swim diagonally out of it in either a NW or W direction, and vice versa for flowing. I would have to determine the best swim method for the conditions, for example breast stroke kick on my back if my PFD made freestyle uneconomical. Ditching the PFD for an efficient and stronger freestyle would be an extreme and last ditch matter, as my Personal Locator Beacon is attached to it. While I'm confident in my swimming and reading of conditions, I'm not stupid enough to think I'll make it in extreme offshore conditions in these cold waters. In short, I'll swim, but I'll be in trouble by that time...

Paddling a Swordfish S Hybrid, always paddle solo in the Noth Sea, all year long. Experienced, PE2EL, Scottburgh to Brighton, Pirates to Salt Rock, ‘Dusi, 50 miler etc, but still slow and tippy!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 3 weeks ago #38171 by Boyan Zlatarev
Hi s513649
I think you pretty much described the process I had in mind when I stated the importance of swimming.

Having the experience of a lifeguard and life boat rescuer (possible skipper as well?) you would have taken into account the probability of having a huge swell at the sand bank, the direction and time of the tide and wind strength, time of day etc and you make your decision. 

Then in your action plan you would rely on rescue (I would too if the water was cold and I had my colleagues in the life boat). 

At the end though as a last resort swimming is the only option wether we want it or not. 

You know from your rescue experience that responding to an emergency is not always easy nor that fast especially in the rough conditions suggested in your initial description. One could easily be stranded on water awaiting rescue for hours and in my humble opinion this is still swimming even though it also be described as floating but I don’t know many non swimmers who could float for two hours in challenging conditions even with a buoyancy aid. 

Anyway I am not suggesting that every person should make a decision the way I do, I just presented my point of view and my reasoning why I believe that if I can’t swim in it I shouldn’t paddle in it. 

Thank you for the comment 
Boyan 
The following user(s) said Thank You: s513649

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 2 weeks ago #38172 by LaPerouseBay
Thanks Robin and Boyan for the excellent safety advice.  

Personally, If I can't swim to shore, I won't go.  I was glad to hear someone else say it.  
Here on Maui we have straight coasts, wind and warm water.    

I can't see the Facebook comments on this event, because I won't join.  But that asshole Zuckerberg does let me see just a teaser of this.  If anyone has any follow up info on this, I'd appreciate it.   

www.nsri.org.za/2021/02/missing-surfskie...d-atlantic-seaboard/

downwind dilettante

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 2 weeks ago - 10 months 2 weeks ago #38173 by robin.mousley
The facts are:
  • The paddler went out at 3pm
  • He didn't have his mobile
  • The water on that side of the peninsular is very cold - today it's 8.5C.
  • He usually paddled for about 30min.
  • NSRI was alerted at 7pm - if he'd been in 8.5C water, it was probably too late by then in any case.
  • The wind on that side is directly offshore.  If you're very close to the shore, it's protected, but a little distance offshore the wind gusts, accelerating down the side of the mountain, turn into 40-50kt squalls.  We were paddling a Miller's Run at 3pm yesterday - the wind was blowing 27-30kt in False Bay, I don't know what it was like on that side, but it was likely as strong, with the gusting conditions described above.
It seems a bit redundant to make the points, but:
  • Don't paddle alone if you can help it!
  • Someone onshore should have your ETA and know where you're going.
  • Carry a mobile and run SafeTRX (or even Whatsapp with live tracking switched on)
  • Carry flares, carry a radio, carry a PLB - nothing is a 100% silver bullet, so you need backup plans.
  • Recognise that gusting 30kt winds blowing directly offshore mandate taking proper precautions.
  • Be fit, be remount-ready
  • PFD and leash a given.
And of course we don't actually know what happened - it's most likely he got caught out by the wind, fell off, died of hypothermia, but it's possible that he had a heart attack or some other issue. 

Sincere condolences to his friends and family.

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 2 weeks ago #38174 by s513649
All good Rob, except number 1 is not an option for me. I either paddle alone in very cold water, or I don’t paddle. Keep well, Steve

Paddling a Swordfish S Hybrid, always paddle solo in the Noth Sea, all year long. Experienced, PE2EL, Scottburgh to Brighton, Pirates to Salt Rock, ‘Dusi, 50 miler etc, but still slow and tippy!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 2 weeks ago #38176 by zachhandler
Every paddler has a set of safety rules that by design, allows for them to paddle in their own local water, in the way in which they are able.  If that weren’t the case after all they wouldn’t be paddlers anymore. Paddling far from shore, alone, or in areas without rescue crews or cell signal increases the risk of bad outcomes if something goes wrong. Cold water, hot sun, sharks, jellyfish, ocean currents, erratic weather, chunks of ice, powerboats, shallow reefs, beach landings and many other hazards pose risks in different areas. If we are to paddle than we accept our own local risks and mitigate them as best we can.

We make these self-accommodating rules to convince ourselves and others that what we are doing is safe and not reckless.  Sometimes we call out others for not following our own set of rules, even if they are paddling in a different place in different circumstances. I have certainly done that before. 

But when it comes down to it no code is perfectly safe. For example there is no end to the list of medical emergencies that could make it impossible to swim to shore, or even use a cell phone or radio. I don’t personally have a friend with a powerboat who wants to escort me on every downwind to respond to potential medical emergencies. But if I did it would be very easy to add “motorboat escort” to my list of mandatory safety requirements.  

I think that most of us, if we had to move to a different location where paddling required some violation of our safety list, would not just quit paddling. We would look at the new risk we encountered, and unless it was really extreme, work to mitigate it as best we could, then rewrite our safety list and keep paddling. 

Current Skis: Kai Wa’a Vega, Nelo 550L g2, Epic V12 g2, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X

Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy
The following user(s) said Thank You: Rod Thomas

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 2 weeks ago #38177 by robin.mousley

All good Rob, except number 1 is not an option for me. I either paddle alone in very cold water, or I don’t paddle. Keep well, Steve


If I were you, I'm sure I'd do the same - but I know you do all the other safety stuff. 

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...
The following user(s) said Thank You: s513649

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 2 weeks ago #38178 by Boyan Zlatarev
Thanks Zach
I agree with you that at the end of the day we have to adapt our decision making to the local conditions. 

By the way I think my swim yo shore personal rule is really misunderstood.

Swimming is not a cure for all type of thing and it’s also not my first option when I need assistance. It’s actually my very last option if all the other available solutions didn’t work. 

I don’t think the positive role of being a competent swimmer should be dismissed simply because it wouldn’t work in certain situation like in some of the comments “strong current and rouge waves” and as you said “medical emergencies”. 

There are many more situations where swimming skills are of a good utility compared to situations where they are not. 

I also don’t advocate “mandatory” anything although I would most likely refuse to paddle with a non swimmer unless certain other safety measures are put in place (like a buddy with a motor boat for example). 

In my opinion being able to swim to shore is a good safety check and the notion that this would make impossible to enjoy paddling is not true in 99% of the cases. 

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 2 weeks ago #38179 by waverider
Keep in mind not all shores provide a safe landing, and by the time you get desperate enough to make the decision you may be pretty exhausted and not always in the best frame of mind to make smart decisions

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 2 weeks ago #38180 by Boyan Zlatarev
This is not in a contradiction of “no swim no go” check. If I know that I given shore gives me no refuge then it’s even easier to make a decision to stay on land when the conditions are not safe. 

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 2 weeks ago #38183 by mrcharly
I'm a beginner with surfski, and for now, I'm paddling alone. 
So this topic is very pertinant for me.
    
Local conditions; sea temp 4-11C (11C in summer). Air temp -2 to 5C winter, 10 - 18C summer.
Usually windy - a 'light breeze' here is 20knots. The windiest day I'd paddle in; 30knots with 40-50knot gusts.
When it is windy, I restrict my paddling to the small sea loch. If something went seriously wrong, I could swim to shore and climb out. 
Venturing past the mouth of the smaller sea loch (my house overlooks two that share a mouth), the seas can be confused. Multiple small islands cause the waves to refract - so you can have chop coming at you from two quarters and it gets uncomfortable (and tiring).
I don't have to go far before I'm paddling along a shore that is 10-40m cliffs. No way to climb out. So swimming isn't really an option. I'm saving those routes for a calm day.

It is always on my mind "what will I do if things go tits up?".  Keeping an eye on drift direction, distance to safety.
    
Something we don't do (and I'm going to start doing) is taking dry clothing in a drysack. A warm windproof jacket, stuff like that. 
Without it, even if I were able to reach the shore with my boat, wet, exhausted and in a strong wind, I'd very quickly sucumb to hypothermia. 
    
Hill walkers take a mix of clothing, why shouldn't paddlers?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 2 weeks ago #38184 by SpaceSputnik
In cold water you need immersion gear or you won't be swimming for too long before you get incapacitated. Under 10C or so (probably higher even) you need an insulated dry suit. Not going to swim very far in that. Just though I'd mention it.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 2 weeks ago #38185 by zachhandler
If you are paddling in rough conditions in cold water where capsize is possible or probable then I agree you should be dressed for immersion. wetsuit or dry suit. 

Paddling flat cold water I don't dress for prolonged immersion. I dress for possible brief immersion with quick remount which as i have mentioned before typically is neoprene bottoms and polypro plus windshell on top. My remount is rock solid so i am comfortable with that in cold flat water, and always in cold water i wear a PFD to guard against cold shock. You probably know about cold shock, if not look it up.  If I am in a k1 that can't be remounted in flat cold water, then i stay within 50 feet of shore because capsize would require a swim. But generally I paddle something that can be remounted if water temp is 10C or below. I live in a city where help is not far away so I would not be in a life threatening hypothermia situation when I got to shore soaking wet and very cold. Every time it has happened I was able to empty the boat, get back in, and paddle back to the car a bit cold but not hypothermic.

If you are paddling flat water i think a dry bag with extra dry clothes is a good idea and with the 510 you have a place to store it. The canoe racers where i live use that approach for cold water paddling. They do not dress for immersion. They paddle flat cold water close to shore and if they have a capsize they swim the boat to shore and change clothes. It is  a miserable experience and their hands and feet go numb and they are cold the rest of the day but they live to tell about it. 

Current Skis: Kai Wa’a Vega, Nelo 550L g2, Epic V12 g2, Carbonology Feather, Think Jet, Knysna Sonic X

Former Skis: Epic V12 g2, Epic V12 g1, Epic v10 double, Fenn Elite S, Custom Kayaks Synergy

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 2 weeks ago #38187 by mrcharly
It might be 'lockdown personal growth', but when I did some remount practice at the end of my last session I was surprised how little being in the water affected me (yes, I have experience in swimming in freezing water and the effect of cold and cold shock). I was wearing neoprene trousers over thermal bottoms, a thin wool thermal top with a lycra anti-rash top, then a crappy cheap cag (not at all waterproof).

Keeping face out of the water - this is a reflex anyway - helps fend off cold shock.

Just for experience and practice, next sat I'll do some remounts at the start - and in choppier water. See how it feels to paddle the rest of the session in my wet gear. Forecast is for force 4-5 so not very rough.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 2 weeks ago #38188 by s513649
I guess it depends on what you mean by 'too far', and too long'. In a 3/2 mm I'll quite comfortably swim a few km in water 5-10 degrees celsius, 15-50 mins. On the lifeboat I've also pulled people out of the water who have been in for quite a while, just in the clothes they jumped off the bridge in. it is individual and it does vary, but while swimming would be a last resort for me, I'm always prepared for it, mentally and physically. Of course you should (as I now do) have the emergency-preparedness gear. Gone are the days when we paddled big surf and wind for 50 km with literally nothing but the paddle and a speedo, but those days did prepare me for a long swim if necessary. I do the safety stuff, but can only ever paddle alone (or not paddle), and have a libertarian view on my choice, but I accept it isn't for everyone. happy paddling. Steve

Paddling a Swordfish S Hybrid, always paddle solo in the Noth Sea, all year long. Experienced, PE2EL, Scottburgh to Brighton, Pirates to Salt Rock, ‘Dusi, 50 miler etc, but still slow and tippy!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 2 weeks ago #38189 by s513649
I guess it depends on what you mean by 'too far', and too long'. In a 3/2 mm I'll quite comfortably swim a few km in water 5-10 degrees celsius, 15-50 mins. On the lifeboat I've also pulled people out of the water who have been in for quite a while, just in the clothes they jumped off the bridge in. it is individual and it does vary, but while swimming would be a last resort for me, I'm always prepared for it, mentally and physically. Of course you should (as I now do) have the emergency-preparedness gear. Gone are the days when we paddled big surf and wind for 50 km with literally nothing but the paddle and a speedo, but those days did prepare me for a long swim if necessary. I do the safety stuff, but can only ever paddle alone (or not paddle), and have a libertarian view on my choice, but I accept it isn't for everyone. happy paddling. Steve

Paddling a Swordfish S Hybrid, always paddle solo in the Noth Sea, all year long. Experienced, PE2EL, Scottburgh to Brighton, Pirates to Salt Rock, ‘Dusi, 50 miler etc, but still slow and tippy!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

10 months 2 weeks ago #38190 by s513649
I guess it depends on what you mean by 'too far', and too long'. In a 3/2 mm I'll quite comfortably swim a few km in water 5-10 degrees celsius, 15-50 mins. On the lifeboat I've also pulled people out of the water who have been in for quite a while, just in the clothes they jumped off the bridge in. it is individual and it does vary, but while swimming would be a last resort for me, I'm always prepared for it, mentally and physically. Of course you should (as I now do) have the emergency-preparedness gear. Gone are the days when we paddled big surf and wind for 50 km with literally nothing but the paddle and a speedo, but those days did prepare me for a long swim if necessary. I do the safety stuff, but can only ever paddle alone (or not paddle), and have a libertarian view on my choice, but I accept it isn't for everyone. happy paddling. Steve

Paddling a Swordfish S Hybrid, always paddle solo in the Noth Sea, all year long. Experienced, PE2EL, Scottburgh to Brighton, Pirates to Salt Rock, ‘Dusi, 50 miler etc, but still slow and tippy!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Latest Forum Topics

Nelo 550 Rudder (1 Posts)

3 hours 22 minutes ago

Epic V8 Double, V10 Double or Fenn XTS Double? (16 Posts)

7 hours 23 minutes ago

NELO 510 (18 Posts)

1 day 3 hours ago
Protected by R Antispam