Kayak Lesson Plan Gone Wrong: Instructor Gets Hurt, Students Paddle Away Oblivious

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Paddlefloat Rescue Practice. Photo Credit: David Johnston

Strange story came out of the UK at the beginning of November. Grough Magazine reported that a sea kayak instructor and his two students were starting a kayak lesson when the local ferry crew observed somebody falling the water.

The article doesn’t specifically mention what happened to the instructor but the comments below mentions that he might have slipped and fallen into the water unconscious.

It ended up that the instructor had to be rescued by a small boat from the Coastguard Rescue Team from Rothesay. A helicopter was able to spot the students and shadowed them until the lifeboat could also take them onboard. The instructor had to receive medical attention at the local hospital.

Accidents happen all the time but it’s a good reminder that instructors are not immune from trouble and something can go wrong to the best of them. In guide or instructor courses we usually practise rescues and group management with the idea that something goes wrong with a student (not the instructor). When was the last time that you thought about what would happen if your co-instructor got injured while out on the water? What would happen? Maybe it’s time to develop an action plan if you don’t have a clue.

Update: Richard let me know that the RNLI has posted a follow-up article about the incident. It has more details on what happened as well.

More info: Grough Magazine

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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