Thursday, December 30, 2010

Is Self Rescue In Conditioins  Realistic?
A New Hook

ACA and BCU differ on this question. Where as ACA instructors teach the paddle float rescue, the BCU takes the position that the that technique is not possible in conditions. BCU coaches, on the other hand, teach the re entry and roll as its self rescue method. For those of us who often paddle alone, this is a topic of the utmost  importance. In fact, many of us practice both the paddle float and re entry rescues with the hope that, should the need arrive, we will be able to get back in and upright should we dump in conditions. Now, it appears, there may be a new consideration.
The February issue of Sea Kayaker magazine just came. and it has an interesting article by Christine Burns entitled, Heel Hook Self-Rescue. In her article, which is well illustrated by Bob Burnett's photography, she explains and demonstrates a paddle float rescue using the heel hook to re enter. As many of you know, the heel hook is becoming the standard for assisted T-rescues since more people seem to succeed at it when compared to to "swimming" onto their rear deck.

I have not had an opportunity to try this idea, but I will as soon as possible. It looks promising, but I do wonder how practical it will turn out to be in conditions. After all, it still is a paddle float technique. We will, I am sure, find out as more of us give it a try.

Paddle safe...
DS

10 comments:

Alan said...

could you describe the heel hook to re-enter?

Silbs said...

In brief, it involves taking the leg farthest away from the cockpit, hooking the heel under the cockpit rim and, then, by straightening that leg, rolling up onto the back deck, facing aft before crawling backwards into the boat.

Captn O Dark 30 and Super Boo said...

check this out: http://www.useakayak.org/recoveries_rescues/paddlefloat_recov.html

steve said...

learned the heel hook from Ben Lawry at our last symposium, in an assisted rescue. I found it the easiest and fastest way to get back into my kayak. As far as self rescue goes, reentry and roll seems to be the easiest .

steve said...

learned the heel hook from Ben Lawry at our last symposium, in an assisted rescue. I found it the easiest and fastest way to get back into my kayak. As far as self rescue goes, reentry and roll seems to be the easiest .

Alan said...

Hmm... I'm not convinced (skeptic that I am). Dick, if you can get back into your boat on the big lake and fully recovered in 15 knot winds and 2-3ft waves, I'll buy you a six pack of your choice.

Silbs said...

Alan, we don't disagree. No paddle rescue will work well in conditions. I was not advocating for it, just presenting it. But... I will try it for Irish Whiskey :)

JohnB said...

I've had instructor candidates successfully do paddle float self-rescues in solid 3 and 4 foot waters, with 15 to 20 mph winds, and they did it on their first attempt, totally unassisted. I prefer the re-enter and roll myself. As to the Sea Kayaker Magazine self-rescue, there are several things that I don't like about it (1) it looks like a very unsafe position for the shoulders with the elbows hooked over the paddle shaft, (2) many boats don't have rigging close enough to the cockpit to not compromise the shoulders due to the paddle being secured so far aft. Will examine closer in a pool session. If it works and is safe and effective, then ok, another "tool" in the kit. Single malt whiskey thank you!

Silbs said...

Hey, JB. At the risk of a circular "arguement", I think that the paddlers to whom you refer have skills above the average Joe. On the other hand, they are the only ones who ought to be out in conditions.

I also wonder about spacing. In the position I see in SK magazine, I wonder if older paddlers will have the flexibility to get the foot in the cockpit without having the paddle float further aft (where there is nothing to anchor on).

gnarlydog said...

I have trouble with the idea of self rescue in conditions with a paddle float. While I marginally can do it in calm waters I really never bothered furthering my skills to perform it in conditions.
On the other side I have focused on reenter and roll.
Faster, more successful and safer, for me.
In my narrow kayak I have to do a reenter, put on the skirt and roll since having a cockpit full of water challenges my balance and I can't take my handsoff the paddle until the water is all pumped out (electric bilge pump).