Friday, June 29, 2012

Safety...It's the economy

In the August issue of Sea Kayaker Magazine Aras Kriauciunas has an excellent article addressing an important part of kayak safety--the go-no go decision- before setting out on a crossing. What makes this article so unique (and ultimately valuable) is Aras' way of applying his MBA and business methods to making those decisions.

I won't try to reduplicate his info (or the wonderful graphs he uses to make his analogies), but I do want to share one of the take aways I got from piece. It addresses that situation we all run into when trying to get a novice paddler to rethink going out into challenging conditions. Because of their lack of experience, they have trouble assessing the risks...and that's how a lot of us (read me) of limit our thinking in this situation. Using his business model (and some terms unfamiliar to most paddlers), Aras introduces other aspects to consider.

For instance, one is often over-influenced to launch because they have invested lots of time and planning into the trip ahead. To not go, in this way of thinking, is to squander that time and energy used to plan. But, as the author points out, that is a set loss, already gone, and unchanged by whether or not one proceeeds with the trip. More over, folks often inappropriately launch when they do not have (or have not considered) alternative activities available if they stay on shore or (as he shows in one excellent example) play in the cove in front of the camp site, get off the water earlier than if they'd crossed and enjoy a hot relaxing evening meal.

There is a lto of meat in the article, and I highly recommend it to your library under risk assessment and management.

(While you're at it, read the review on This is the
Roll by are own (SE Wisconsin's) Sherri Mertz. It's spot on.

Paddle safee...


DaveO said...

I'm looking forward to reading my paddle buddy Aras's article. I told him that my most successful "If you go out in this crap you're a dead man" persuasive speeches on the beach have been one where I've offered other places to launch or other fairly attractive things to do. Surf practice, waterfowl watching in a sheltered slough/estuary, or happy hour at a local brewpub are three that come to mind.

SherriKayaks said...

I liked the example in Aras's article about having the novice stand in the water while the more experienced paddler was trying to explain the risks of paddling in cold water, and then asking the novice if he could feel his feet. Brilliant!