COVID safe(ish) assisted re-entry techniques?

kayakwriter

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So I'm asking for both personal and professional reasons: a lot of the techniques I know for helping a swimmer reboard their boat require you to get pretty close to a person who's probably breathing heavily. For example, the strongest way I know of to stabilize the righted boat is to have them bow to stern, and be leaning across the rescuee's deck, holding the deck lines in front of their cockpit. Anyone have thoughts on reliable ways to stabilize boats for reboarding that allow you to keep a greater distance?
 

kayakwriter

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So thinking out loud in response to my own question: I suppose you could set up a paddle float rescue on another person's boat while they held onto the stern of their boat. Downsides: it takes a lot longer (the standard we train to for guiding is to have a swimmer back in their boat in 2 minutes or less; the standard we gun for if we have to do a paddle float rescue for ourselves is 4 minutes or less.) Also, it's less stable and you're not in as good a place to talk the swimmer through the reboarding process.
 

mick_allen

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If one takes the view of relative risk - there is much more danger not rescuing or inefficiently rescuing a victim. So no matter the small relative 'eventual succumbing to covid' risk there is, averaged out, it is far more beneficial to efficiently rescue someone than not.

And if we look at the victim, it is relatively way more beneficial to him to be rescued than not - even if covid infection was assured.

From this, there is one simple way then to minimize risk to the rescuer: by approaching upwind and performing as much of the rescue as possible from an upwind location or at 2nd best from a side on wind scenario. The heavy breathing of the victim is blown away minimizing rescuer exposure.
 

rider

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I would still rescue the person the most efficient way possible because to me it outweighs the other considerations. Now, i think people SHOULD try to not breathe at each other and generally reduce the likelihood of needing rescue. But at the end of the day, do what you got to do the best way you know to do it.
 

kayakwriter

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SNIPSo no matter the small relative eventual succumbing to covid risk there is, averaged out it is far more beneficial to efficiently rescue someone than not.
And if we look at the victim, it is relatively way more beneficial to him to be rescued than not even if covid infection was assured. SNIP
Agreed. If I'm paddling with friends, I've got at a minimum a moral obligation to help; if I'm instructing/guiding, it escalates to a professional and legal duty.
And the relative risk of possible COVID vs near certain drowning is clear.
I'm just trying explore ways to provide that on-water help while reducing the COVID risk to a minimum.

by approaching upwind and performing as much of the rescue as possible from an upwind location or at 2nd best from a side on wind scenario. The heavy breathing of the victim is blown away minimizing rescuer exposure.
Very good, in that it would help reduce any hesitation on the part of the helper to go to the rescue. The insidious thing though, is that the rescuer may unknowingly be infectious. Still, as we agreed, better to be fished out of the water now, and cope with COVID later, on shore and with the proper medical support.
 

dvfrggr

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The T- rescue bow to stern pretty much has been the only assisted rescue i have practiced over the years and you are in very close contact with the rescuee. Years ago i spent the day with a group of paddlers and got involved with them using the Hook and Heal assisted rescue and it was a just a different way of getting back into my boat, it was easy to perform.
So here's my question to those of you who have used that style a lot. Would the rescuee be able to reach and grab both boats deck lines as they are hooking their heal and pulling their body on back deck if the rescuer was stabilizing the the boat by the deck lines forward of the front hatch. If memory serves me there was a little more distance between paddlers and less strength required on both paddlers? How much additional distance could be gained? would it still be an effective rescue?
Self rescues would be a good thing for all of us to review as our various lock downs start to open up and we start paddling with friends and groups.
Dave R
 

Peter-CKM

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Petty much all instructors/guides are interested, and for now few are running classes or tours due to the risk. American Canoe Association says they are trying to work up guidelines.

I think tours are less of an issue, due to rarity. My experience is that rescues on tours are very uncommon, at least for tours where the risks were minimized pre-COVID. I find I do about 1 'actual' rescue a year at the places I work (the 'actual' is excluding school groups and the like where a participant is pretty much trying to swim).

Classes are a different subject. We do rescues pretty much in every class. And the standard method for something like a roll class has the instructor right up and close to the student. I wouldn't be surprised if classes don't happen this year.

Now the T-rescue may not actually be that risky. The t-position and drain parts the swimmer is a distance from the rescuer (either at their boat or moved to bow or stern of rescuer's boat). The re-entry part the swimmer is separated by the cockpit as they go up on back deck, with rescuer up in front of cockpit supporting. Might be possible for rescuer to hold from a bit further toward bow to add some more distance, but it won't be 6 feet. At least duration is short, and during the rescue, the swimmer gets on back deck and pivots head toward their stern (away from rescuer). The closest time is once the swimmer is seated, and maybe then the rescuer can slide toward bow to do any additional support from there increasing distance.
 

cougarmeat

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Because this appears to be a serious topic, here’s a link you might find interesting. The author appears to be legit - not yet another non-medical expert opinion. The basic premise is, it’s not just “exposure”, it’s exposure intensity + time (duration). So, for example, someone just running by you would have such a short time component, it’s not as much a concern and sitting across from someone at at table for 15 minutes.

https://www.erinbromage.com/post/the-risks-know-them-avoid-them

Though the reentry person may be breathing hard, often - but not always - when I go over there’s a bit of laughter. More to the point is, you will be some distance from the swimmer AND you the time you will be in close proximity will be short.

Let’s hope we can look back on this some months ahead and say, “Huh, what was that about."
 

kayakwriter

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Though the reentry person may be breathing hard, often - but not always - when I go over there’s a bit of laughter. More to the point is, you will be some distance from the swimmer AND you the time you will be in close proximity will be short.
True when paddling with my friends and fellow instructors; there have been times I've nearly inhaled water I've been laughing so hard if I've gone over for some goofy reason. But with students/tour clients the capsize and swim aren't part of the game; they're scary and unfamiliar situations, so we can get a bit of gasping. Plus the period in proximity is longer because they need to be talked through the reboarding process. But that article is reassuring. Thanks for sharing.
 

benson

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Ditto on the Erin Bromage Covid risks link from cougarmeat...easy to understand and reinforces the safety of being outdoors vs. in confined spaces with poor circulation...get outside. Dave's take on the Heal hook rescue or really any assisted rescue...using the deck lines in front of the cockpit does create bit more distance between the two paddlers and hands are out of the way of booties and legs entering the cockpit. You've likely seen a number of boats outfitted with some 3/8" flex tubing covered with some 1" nylon webbing on the first foot or so of deck line forward and even behind the cockpit...easy to grip during a rescue.
 

cougarmeat

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A few years ago, I switched to the heel hook. Way easy except having to remember if it’s the outside leg or inside leg that goes in. Not so hard to determine though; one works, one … kinda works.

Funny you mention deck lines. I put a cord along the sides from the pad eye in front of the cockpit to the one behind it. Some instructors would look at it with disdain. but it seems most time I’m in the water, or rafted up, the perimeter line on the side of the cockpit get’s used.
 

JohnAbercrombie

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A skilled paddler who can do a cowboy scramble self-rescue doesn't put much 'torque' on the boat when getting across the deck, so that paddle support idea would work in that situation.
covid paddle support.JPG


A less-fit and less-experienced 'swimmer' would probably break the paddle.
If the 'swimmer' doesn't get the body parallel to the surface and instead tries to 'climb straight up' on to the boat, there's a lot of twisting force on the hull. And with a bigger/heavier swimmer the problem is magnified.
I've seen paddles break at the pool when folks were doing paddle float self-rescue practice.

But, it's great to see people exploring ideas for alternative ways to support the hull.
:thumbsup:
 

Mac50L

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Why have the kayaks facing in opposite directions?

I go to the other kayak's bow, yell "Heave." and the wet kayaker rolls their kayak upright as I lift as much as possible at the bow. I then back-up and rest across the deck just in front of the cockpit - now facing away from the paddler in the water. After the rescue it is often necessary to tow that kayaker to a "safer" place. We are both facing in the right direction for an attached tow.

Simple.

Time from first touching the capsized kayak to them sitting in their kayak? It has to be less than 30 seconds - which is a long time.
 

Peter-CKM

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Why have the kayaks facing in opposite directions?

I go to the other kayak's bow, yell "Heave." and the wet kayaker rolls their kayak upright as I lift as much as possible at the bow. I then back-up and rest across the deck just in front of the cockpit - now facing away from the paddler in the water. After the rescue it is often necessary to tow that kayaker to a "safer" place. We are both facing in the right direction for an attached tow.

Simple.

Time from first touching the capsized kayak to them sitting in their kayak? It has to be less than 30 seconds - which is a long time.
From what I understand of the method you described and of C19 transmission, there still could be some risk.

If the rescuer is just in front of the rescuees cockpit, when the rescuee gets into their boat, they will be within the 6 feet/2 meters recommendation. If the rescuee is getting their breath, putting their skirt on, pumping, are in some condition where they need additional support, etc., the recuer being close (even though facing away) could be at risk from the rescuee's breath. Could even be worse is the rescuee took some water in their mouth,as they could be coughing up a storm.

Both facing the same way means that the rescuer wouldn't likelty be breathing toward the rescuee, so less risk of contamination in that direction. Though if the rescuee is new to kayak rescues, it would make it hard for you to provide guidance to them being facing away.
 

Mac50L

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Basically if there is a medical situation as is being described, why go kayaking, and in conditions that could lead to medical problems? Why?

Either go solo or don't go or wait until there is no virus situation. Simple.
 
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