Quick Tips to Make Your Next Bow Rescue Even More Fun (and Successful)

Sunday, 15 May 2011
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Bow Rescue

The Bow-rescue video posted on Paddling TV this past week is pretty decent. It clearly demonstrates the key steps to this quick and dirty rescue but there are a couple of suggestions I would make to the demonstrators to make their rescue quicker and more reliable.

The Bow Rescue - Approach from an angle.

I would suggest to the rescuer that if possible, he approaches the upside boat from a 45 degree angle rather than the 90 degree angle as shown. When approaching from a 45 degree angle you can aim for just ahead of the sliding hands and slide right into them. That puts you in control and gets the bow of your bit into the victim’s hands much quicker.

I would also suggest that he approaches with a bit more speed. I understand that it’s a demo so you need to slow things down for the camera but remember it’s your buddy under there and you want to get to them before the panic and they come out of their boat.

Just make sure that you don’t approach to fast or you will crash right into them and bounce right off. The quick trick is to approach quickly but get ready to slam on the breaks just as you are about to touch.

Watch your fingers don't get pinched. Turn them sideways with thumbs in and pinkie out.

The final tip is the one I think is the most important. I would mention to the person upside down in the boat to watch her fingers. To keep them from getting pinched by the incoming rescue boat, don’t slide them along the hull as the video demonstrates but rather, turn them out and spread your fingers so your thumbs are sliding along the hull and your pinkie is pointing out. You will get a bit more reach if the rescue boat doesn’t quite make contact and you won’t get pinched. I remember once being rescued by an overzealous rescuer coming in to save the day. He crashed into me, slide along half the length of the boat and right over my fingers. Ouch.

Of course real life sometimes gets in the way of a textbook rescue and often you need to do whatever you can to get the job done. Just like firefighters never run into a burning building racing in blindly to save somebody can often lead to more problems. Recognize the problem, develop a plan then act on it.

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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