"Prevention is better than a good beating"
This set of tips is intended to look at easy, practical ways of reducing risk on the river.
If your boat is full of air, (in front of the footplate as well . not just the back!) as opposed to water when you take a swim, it is less likely to get pinned or damaged. Making it more likely that you can paddle on, instead of facing the 'hideous death climb' out of the gorge.
Also you and your mates won.t have to put theirselves at risk trying to recover the thing in the first place. A more buoyant boat is easier and quicker to rescue, again reducing the risk to your mates who are trying to get it to the bank.
Be Visibly Protected
Think carefully when buying your kit - make sure you have:
. An appropriate rescue kit
. Highly conspicuous paddle clothing
. A well fitted helmet
. A good spraydeck
. Quality paddles
. Studded, supportive footwear (which means you can actually walk about on the typical muddy British river bank)
Not exactly conspicuous!
Would you be able to see this guy if he was pinned underwater?
This guy is far more likely to be found!
If you.re going to run steep/fast rivers get a decent helmet like a Sweet Rocker and some elbow pads.
Check that your kit has no unnecessary entrapment hazards - Cut any loops . like the elastic on the waist of your cag, bits with bobbles on the end, shoelaces.
Do you need to carry your throwbag around your waist? You should be looking to paddle with a .clean. profile . imagine your are about to swim/paddle through a tree strainer. where could a branch get caught and drown you? Get rid of it if you can!
Refresh Your Memory
Go on a BCU WW safety and rescue course, at least every 3 years. It's not a plug, it doesn't where you go on the course just as long as you do. You owe it to yourself and your mates to stay informed and up to date on current practice.
There Are No Real Shortcuts
Everything above is a kind of .quick fix. to increase your safety on the river. These suggestions pale into insignificance when weighed against the benefits of . Training, Experience and JUDGEMENT.