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Saturday, March 07, 2009

"An Ice Roll, Kayaking Perspective"

May you never find yourself like this in ice cold frigid water. Our Search and Rescue crew had ice rescue training today on Long's Pond. About minus 10 Celsius with wind and snow. Excellent conditions.

If however you are paddling near ice and become one with the water here are a couple of tips. First off if you are paddling near ice you had better be dressed for it. Ice picks are a good safety tool. Two four-5 inch long wooden dowels with a nail in the ends of each will work fine as long as the tip is sharp, (pointed out). When you approach the edge of the ice sheet you will undoubtedly start breaking pieces away.

Continue what you are doing shoving pieces under the ice ahead of you or at the very least moving them out of your way. I actually was able to use broken pieces behind me to plant a foot on to give me that extra little boost to climb aboard the sheet. I wouldn't rely on that but it worked for me.

Getting on the ice sheet is a slippery endeavour to say the least.....after all it is ice! And wet ice! Don't despair you will be able to climb aboard just remember a most crucial thing, a most crucial self rescue technique, like the kayak roll is, when you have a good chunk of your upper body on the ice sheet "roll your body" away from the ice sheet edge. Once you have done this do a quick survey to see if standing is a safe option. If not by displaying and distributing your weight on the ice sheet you spread your body's surface area decreasing the chances of another break through. Wait for help or if safe shimmy to safety. You've just executed an "ice roll" and can now add another roll to your arsenal.


Tony said...

Pretty cool, literally. How does the drysuit you were wearing compare to your kayaking drysuit? Did you have on the same layering of clothes? I wasn't one bit cold on our dunk in Colliers but I got to get in the water for longer periods like you did today. Its nice to know how I'd react.

Tony :-)

Stan Mac Kenzie said...

These drysuits have an inside liner Tony to give more warmth. The boots are attached as are the gloves for the hands. 3 suits like the one I had on had a super thick and strong neoprene wrist with gloves. The hands did get cold initially and there was water of course constantly in them but it soon warmed up. These were the older models. Newer models have gloves attached but if you need instant dexterity with your bare hands it would not be there.

Our drysuits (kayakers) are designed to breath and be worn in a range of conditions not just "ice cold" conditions. The SAR suits are just designed to keeep you as warm and dry as possible in primarily very cold conditions and they do that fine. Kayakers can achieve the same level of warmth and protection by wearing wicking layers etc. The common thing that these suits would share is up-keep and maintenance. The suit, zippers, gagkets, neoprene cuffs, boots, etc will only be as good as your care for them. Keeping them clean is imperative to proper function. Common sense you would think but hwen you are hurried and rushed, cold and tired, sometimes it is easy to forget, neglect and procrastinate about maintenance. With SAR it could be some else's life as well as your own on the line. With kayaking, well, nobody to blame but yourself.

Wasn't one bit cold in the water. We were just laying back in the cold water at times looking up at the sky and the snow squall blowing over us.

Silbs said...

Glad you did that and explained it so I don't have to. I noticed the long safety line. Well done.