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Thread: Fully Loaded Self-Rescue Advice?

  1. #1
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    Question Fully Loaded Self-Rescue Advice?

    Hi,

    Anyone any experience of getting back into a FULLY LOADED boat after a capsize. I know that as a doubles pair (or solo) I can get back in to a canoe that has been capsized in deep water when empty - but I've never done it when full of camping equipment. Has anyone else done this and got any advice - I want to have a practice in a few weeks.

    My thoughts are to get it the right way up, then do a bit of the rocking thing to get a bit of water out, then get the smaller paddler back in and start bailing like fury until there is little enough water to get the second paddler in too. (Thinking about it, TWO decent sized bailers might be an advantage in this situation.)

    Some questions:
    * Does the rocking thing work worse / better / at all when fully loaded?
    * Do the secured in bags help at all, in that they are displacing quite a lot of water? Or are they just a nuisance because of the extra weight?
    * Any other thoughts - or better, experiences - welcome.

    For the purposes of my questions, we are talking a doubles pair on flat water with no other canoes in the party. (Obviously, first good plan is stay near the edge, with long swim lines - but I'm talking about contingencies and practice here.)

    Look forward to your thoughts,
    Ben
    One year olds want four meals a day: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Paper...
    Two year olds want whatever is most dangerous to get to... (Then to throw it on the floor.)

  2. #2
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    Default

    No doubt there will be plenty of opinions for you to consider.

    The debate is really about whether to leash or lash your kit. I prefer to leash my kit on committed open water crossings. That way the kit floats free from the canoe allowing me to sort the capsize as normal.

    Good size air bags are an advantage. The kit lashed into the canoe will displace water but will add an extra element to self rescue.

    Bushcraft Survival and First Aid Training.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by wayne View Post
    The debate is really about whether to leash or lash your kit. I prefer to leash my kit on committed open water crossings. That way the kit floats free from the canoe allowing me to sort the capsize as normal.
    This was my train of thought as my girlfreind and I have mentioned practising capsize with the kids this summer on a shallow/friendly lake.

    If everything was in dry sacks they would surely float on the end of a leash, maybe even provide secondery floatation to a person waiting to re board?

    I know some folk don't like the idea of ropes in respect of entaglement but "floaty" ropes might even offer more options to get back to the canoe or stay near it.

    I know we are talking about open water so snagging rocks or trees shouldn't pose a problem.

    I don't offer this as advice as I am no expert, its more of an enquiry as to best practise
    Thinking of ways to get the sack, so I can Canoe more often.

  4. #4

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    I've tried rescuing loaded boats. Either for others and my own.
    Either leashing or securing in works but the issues for me are:

    1- tying in. This works to displace water but if it is not very very securly tied in when you go to flip it over the bag moves and makes it harder to flip back over, also there is a risk that when you climb back in you could get caught in the lines tying it down. Tying it round thwarts doesnt hold it in. If i was going to tie gear in i would fix some of the soft webbing loops to my floor as anchor points. When bailing water has this amazing ability to hide under the bags and be hard to get.

    2- leashing - the bag isnt in so it doesnt displace the water. The idea is the line is long enough so the bag floats free of the boat maybe a couple of meters. (using floating line, so it doesnt go round your feet) This way the line is long enough to allow you to right the boat, get in and bail and then pull the bag back in afterwards. The cons of this are you could get caught in the line but if you have sensibly packed and only have a couple of large bags in the boat there is only two lines to avoid and actually normally i have found i fall out of the boat and when it is totally upsidedown then the bags drop out. The biggest con for me is on white water that the bag with go oneside of a rock and the boat the other and get my boat stuck.

    There is no right and wrong ways.

    I'm guessing with getting in and bailing it will depend on indeviduals, very person will be different, it depends who is capable of getting back in, it could be if out with kids you stick them back in the bail as they are light and you wont misplace them if they are in the boat, some people are more able to get back in than others

  5. #5
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    I've tried short leashes, 30cm or so and all on one side of the boat. On capsize the gear is first all pulled out on the one side and this acts as a stability for entering from the other side (almost like an outrigger). Then when the boat is bailed the gear is pulled in. As previously mentioned this doesn't displace water and I have only tried it partly loaded, with bow and stern airbags. It makes re-entry much easier than with an emtpy boat and it is much more stable when full of water. It is, however, difficult (but not impossible) if you have large heavy bags (or a barrel) and works much better with a number of smaller drybags.

    The best thing is, of course, to try out and see what works for you. A trip to the coast on a hot day with a gentle sloped sandy beach makes a great to pass time and try out different techniques.

    Graham

  6. #6
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    Default Gear to displace water

    It was my strongly held view that gear lashed into the boat (to D rings on the bottom of the hull no less) was a winner in deep water situations because of the displacement of water.

    I did quite a few committing trips with this theory.

    Then I decided to try it out for real one winters day, flat calm, frost, a bit of ice about. Rather cold, so my partner stayed on the bank. (This is significant).

    NOT A HOPE IN HELL for this working for real.

    1. With all the gear in it is difficult to right the boat. It can be done, but it scoops the maximum amount of water into the boat.

    2. When oNE person re enters the boat goes almost to the gunwales and is very unstable. Two people in would 'sink' it.

    3. Bailing with a big bucket still takes ages.

    4. Add capsize conditions , ie lots of wind and big waves == it ain't going to work.

    With the second person in the water and stabalising the boat you might have a chance, but that means only one bailer. You only need one wave over the side to undo 5 minutes of bailing. The 'swimmer' might be there a while; are they in a dry suit? If not you might have other issues to deal with.

    I was using a Wenonah Spirit 2, 17' long, quite deep. A smaller boat would have been worse.

    PLAN B:
    I have moved to leashes (deep water only, not rivers). The plan is to semi Capi flip between the two of us, thus minimising the amount of water in the boat, then get both bodies in the boat and bailing, or one bailing and the other using packs etc for supporting the boat.


    My advice is to try whatever system you adopt in a controlled environment first, then imagine what conditions would be like that have caused you an unplanned swim. Then try plan B
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

  7. #7
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    Thumbs up Really helpful

    Thanks, that is really helpful everyone. It looks like I need to think about a leash system, just tying in anything denser than water (I'm thinking of the small folding chairs, which don't tend to find dry bag space). I recall some stuff about this in Bill Mason, so I'll look it up and see what his advice is. This makes a lot of sense also in that it brings the rescue much closer to what I'm already familiar with doing with an empty boat.

    Once again - that really is much appreciated (and of course further contributions are still welcome.)

    Ta,
    Ben
    One year olds want four meals a day: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Paper...
    Two year olds want whatever is most dangerous to get to... (Then to throw it on the floor.)

  8. #8

    Wink Don't capsize

    A fully laden boat is a different matter to what you learnt on your FSRT but the principle is the same.

    I agree with tenboats1 that it is a lot harder to right the boat, but with gear secured to the hull will make it easier as it displaces the water.

    Still a bit cold to try it out without a drysuit, best advice is not to capsize

    Cheers Graeme
    SWWC the way forward

    Coaching for skills and performance

  9. #9
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    It would be easier not to have to worry about all that floating gear, nor having it all tied in so the canoe weight a ton. You could try attaching you gear vai enough rope/cord, to allow it to float free of the canoe but still be within reach. Or you could strap it in but still have the cord attached. So if you capsize, you can quickly release the strap but not have to worry about your gear getting lost.

    Get the canoe righted, get in and bail, then haul you stuff back in. Seems like a lot of fuss to go to. But it would be easier than trying to right a fully laiden hull.

    TGB
    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

  10. #10
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    Righting the boat isn't really the issue. Using a painter threaded back under a thwart and then hauling on it over the hull will get the boat the right way up easy enough.

    The issue is that as the boat rolls it FILLS up. Then the problems start. In fact, in real conditions it is unlikely to stay upright for long anyway.

    Try it and see how you get on.
    If it wasn't for the rain in our lives there would be no rivers. X 2

  11. #11
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    Default Tie-in / Leash.... the main problem....

    Just done an FSRT course this weekend. I've been coaching for quite some time, but this was available at a reduced cost and I'm always up for getting new ideas from people, so I booked on.

    Two things I learnt that might be relevant here:

    1 Main priority is to get people out of the water
    2 People spending time in the water, with or without a dry-suit on, get
    cold!!

    We did spend a lot of time falling out of boats, but were back in within 60 seconds, and even those with dry-suit that didn't leak got cold.

    So think about how much time you're likely to spend in the water and try to minimise it.

    Just my two penneth.

  12. #12

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    I think one consideration is 'what do you mean by fully loaded'? When paddling on extended multi day trips, I still lash kit in - providing my boat is 'fully loaded'. By this I mean that after I've packed all my bags in, there's only room left for me in it. If the boat is full, gunnel to gunnel and front to back with kit (and the paddler/airbags) there's no room for water, so lashing works really well. We found this out for real after one of our party was capsized in the middle of a Loch by a squall. His gear was lashed in, and the boat was FULL of kit. He was able to roll the boat back the right way up and climb in.

    If you only have a couple of kit bags then this clearly won't happen, and you may have similar problems to those already mentioned.

    Air bags do the job just as well.

    The advice above about practicing is sound.
    www.kimbull.co.uk - 'Excellence in Canoe and Kayak Coaching'

  13. #13
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    I'm with tenboats on this one.
    I had always held the belief that with your kit lashed in it would displace more water and subsequently would be easier to re-enter and paddle or bail and paddle.I even had this seem to be confirmed by the Bill mason vid (probably doubles basic).

    Right 16' Prospector 32'' airbags I tried with the kit firmly lashed to the hull in a lashed cage with keeper straps.The boat was indeed harder to re-right and did scoop up the maximum amount of water and on re-entry was to it's gunwhales and even small waves were swamping the boat.

    With the kit leashed the boat was easier to re-right and with less water on board.I even found that if I stuffed the kit under the bow/stern deckplate and raised from t'other end it aided with breaking the suction when flipping the boat resulting just a couple of bucketfulls being left and perfectly paddleable, also mininum time totally submerged for me when pushing the boat up before flipping.
    Mike B...
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  14. #14
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    How do barrels fit into this discussion - leashed or lashed and how do they help/hinder self rescue?

  15. #15
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    Try practicing.

    The first couple of times I got back into a fully laden and swamped canoe it felt very tippy and is likely to go over again as TB said.
    However the last time we tried it I was surprised at how stable it really was when the weight was all kept very low/ the canoe itself was below water level.

    On moving water I would always have it well lashed in. Or work on the basis that you don't tie it in and a friend can go fetch while you sort out the canoe.
    I can see the argument for leashing it on flat water, but if you go over on flat water then its obviously not very flat at the time and I would think that having kit bobing around next to you would just be distracting.

    Then how do you get gear back into the canoe without leaning and possibly destabilising the canoe again?

    Bill Mason in the DVD Mike mentions takes to the side, empties, rearranges gear then gets back in himself. Not as practical, perhaps, in the middle of an open stretch of water.
    'There is no wealth but life itself.'

  16. #16
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    lashed in kit MUST be secured to the hull. (so it is not 'floating in the boat') otherwise it does not displace water.

    done properly it is easy to roll the canoe over and bail, (from a second boat it is simple) of course it is also virtually impossible to lift the fully loaded boat for any sort of curl or x rescue. (mainly because being a canoe we can pack everything and the heavy version at that!

    (got the teeshirt for this one on loch ken!)

    (but i dont have the solo self rescue teeshirt)

    if not well secured you end up with a nightmare of half floating kit trying to escape from a swamped hull that is a pig to bale because of all the kit in the way. ...... at this point we found leashes that were at least 'half a boat long' (3 metres) were great for boat to boat rescues..... no tell a lie... it was the knife that was useful....... damn a leash would have been uesful.... as all this kit floats around us..... thankfully none sank.... THEN we tied a leash in!

  17. #17

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    I'll second Silvergirl's suggestion to get out and practice, only by doing so will you find what works for you.

    That said, we find full kit lashed in works for us. You must have plenty of it and it be properly lashed in though or you won't get the bouyancy/water displacement you need. With lots of kit all you're aiming for is enough stability to get to shore/gravel bank or whatever else to get yourself sorted.

    Open water is something that many people take far too lightly and possibly the best safety item you might possess is the ability to assess the situation and have the strength of will to say 'not today, we'll go do something else' even if you've driven many miles. Let's face it, if you've gone in due to weather conditions, do you really want to be messing about in cold water, swimming and performing rescue's? We've done this several times now and not regretted it.

    To miss-quote Mr Miyagi, 'Best defence, not being there!'

    Al

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by al21 View Post
    Open water is something that many people take far too lightly and possibly the best safety item you might possess is the ability to assess the situation and have the strength of will to say 'not today, we'll go do something else' even if you've driven many miles. Let's face it, if you've gone in due to weather conditions, do you really want to be messing about in cold water, swimming and performing rescue's? We've done this several times now and not regretted it.

    To miss-quote Mr Miyagi, 'Best defence, not being there!'

    Al
    Very sound advice. When I have practiced open water self rescue I have been amazed at the huge effort required - and this was in warm water. To do this in cold water without a dry-suit may be impossible. I have been surprised when I have had a swim from my k1 in the canal. In cold water (about 4C) a swim of a few metres is hard (impossible until you get your breathing under control). Climbing the stone edging of the canal then takes-super human effort, in fact using the partly swamped boat for a leg-up is required. If I had been in the water 100m from the shore I may not have made it, without a BA I certainly would not have made it - even in the canal! The possibility of cardiac arrest is also present.

    Admittedly the above was wearing minimal (racing) clothing but it is a cautionary lesson and I am now very wary of cold water. It is so different to a swimming pool or bath. It is, however, possible to get your body used to sudden cold water immersion (such as ice water swimmers do) and I have tried it, but it takes alot of will power to take a bath at 7 - 10C when there is a hot tap present!

    Graham

  19. #19
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    I've always found it to be damn near impossible to effectively bail a boat full of lashed in kit. There's just no clear space to bail from!
    Matto

    Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within, as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea.


  20. #20
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    Default Self Rescue

    You really should not be puttting yourself in a position where a capsize is likely. All my capsizes have been caused by either whitewater deliberate action on my part to destabilise the boat, or entering or exiting the boat from the shore (embarassing but not a big problem to recover from).

    It's a case of knowing yourself, your boat, your passenger(s) and the environment. I've yet to come across an open water environment situation where a capsize was likely, more to judegment than luck.

    Boats don't tend to fill up much when they turn over - the heaviest items (You) tend to fall out quickly. It's when you roll over a heavy boat or climbing in will fill it. That may influence how you secure your luggage, as leashes allow the boat to be righted before the luggage is recovered.

    Try it out somewhere safe but realistic. If your passengers don't want to they should not be out with you. You'd be surpised how fast you tire in cold water and even a short swim can quickly exhaust you. Also
    a boat can drift away quickly in a strong wind, but a heavy loaded boat will be less likely to get away from you. Having tried it helps you be prepared when it happens for real.

    Judge what you need to be wearing against the risk of a swim. I have paddled water with ice floating in it without drysuit or other waterproof gear knowing the conditions I would be in - I was in a large group on well known water in calm weather and knew it was well within my abilities and that the risk of going in was low (Still got frost damage to my feet which I hadn't been prepared for).

    Don't be put off paddling but when you push your boundaries do be prepared. Safe paddling.

    Brevan
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