I lost a playboat on a flooded run on the kangaroo river last weekend, a run notorious for losing boats on. After loosing it and all the rescue gear inside i’ve been thinking about what went wrong. Here’s some tips so you can learn from my mistake and not loose your kayak on a flooded run.
- Float bags. Boats fill with water, and when they do, they get heavy fast. Float bags help to alleviate this situation by keeping the boat higher in the water so someone can see it and grab it. One of the paddlers i was with even managed to get a sling on my boat, but without float bags it was too heavy to paddle with. Float bags also help to prevent pinned boats in some situations, saving a lot of time effort and danger in unpinning them.
- Label your gear. Boats, paddles, helmets, dry bags. All of these should have your name and a contact number somewhere on them. It may seem geeky but when you find gear with a phone number on it you have to be a massive dick not to return it. No contact number and its easier to just keep it without feeling bad, i mean what could you do. My boat doesn’t have my name on it.
- Three paddlers may be enough to safely rescue any swimmers. provided tow of them are able to help and even then gear will get left to the river. On flood runs especially, four or more is better, otherwise if you swim you could lose your boat.
- Split up rescue gear. if we found my boat, it probably would have been pinned. Most of the unpinning kit was in it. That wouldn’t really have helped. If you split up all the carabiners and prussicks you should always be able to affect some kind of attempt at unpinning a boat.
- Buy sensibly coloured boats. This boat was blue and red speckled. pretty easy to loose in flood water. Solid orange, yellow and red seem the best. As an added bonus these boats show up great in photographs.
Next weekend after the level drops well be back looking for my boat, ill keep you updated on anything that turns up.
Oh and if you’ve seen my boat drop me a line here!