There is another element to add to this, as well. I've done some trips in mild rapids with boy scouts for a few years now and some of the (instinctive) behaviors exercised have led me to the conclusion that the obstacles and how to handle them are both rather significant issues. Examples:
- canoe is passing under an overhanging tree, but the lead paddler, despite the warnings of the stern man grabs an overhanging bough to stop the boat - lucky nobody was hurt on this one
- canoe overturns and rescue canoe paddles into the same situation without assessing a safe(r) approach to the capsized paddlers - result, another capsize and now 4 in the water instead of 2
- paddlers intent on approaching another canoe for a stream machine broadside and don't see the upcoming hazard
There are others, but I'm sure you get the drift. Paddlers need to be trained how to handle a bad situation as well as how to avoid it in the first place. One of the issues we've had in the past is that paddlers who never would normally get into a water hazard have to approach one in order to perform a (cold water) rescue. The results have always been positive since we've had some very competent group leaders, but young boys don't always internalize the lessons when they are faced with upcoming risks. I've seen them, if not panic, at least forget, how to approach said hazards.
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Posted by: wavetamer on Jun-29-11 9:56 AM (EST)
Good points. My very first canoe trip was in the Boy Scouts, on the Brule in Wisc. I was in the bow and went through a third of the rapids backwards. I learned a lot about fast currents, narrowing channels and back paddling on that trip. The issue of hazards and their avoidance should also include assisted rescues. Doubling the problem is obviously not a good thing. It leads me to think that might be a good topic as well...When trying to do "right" turns out wrong" or something similar.