Whitewater NZ/NZOIA River Rescue for Kayakers
Revised January 2007
This course is designed for people who have already undertaken the river safety course and for those who are taking a leadership role on water above grade 3/class III.
Guiding principles for the course
- 1. Principle of Personal Safety
- You must not to add to the state of crisis; every action you take must be seen as a carefully measured risk. You must minimise the potential for putting yourself and your fellow rescuers in danger.
- 2. Principle of Victims Best Interests
- Everything you do must be in the interests of the victim's safety; don't put the victim in more. Think about stabilizing the situation and then resolving it.
- 3. Principle of Simplicity
- Simple rescues are fast to set up and often get the job done with a minimum of equipment, which in turn leads to a quick solution.
- 4. Principle of Maximum Usefulness
- In every rescue situation it is vitally important to fully utilise your resources to make an expedient rescue. Roles and versatile equipment in a rescue are of high importance.
- 5. Principle of Clean Rope
- Knots need to be releasable under load and/or be able to pass through an HMS or pear shaped karabiner. Rescue ropes should have any knots or handles removed from the loose end.
- 6. Principle of Presumed Insanity
- Never underestimate the power of a nearly drowning person to try to save them self at any cost. Don't let the victim drown the rescuer.
- 7. Core Principles of Gear Recovery
- Rescues should never be confused with gear recovery. Rescues need instant action to minimise the situation spiralling out of control; people are in mortal danger. In a gear recovery people are not in danger so the rules of engagement have a very different focus. Of primary importance is to not endanger anybody.
- 8. Principle of Least Risk
- Is the recovery of someone's gear really worth it? In gear recoveries time is of little consequence and careful consideration must be made and the time taken to double-check and ensure everybody's safety.
- 9. Principle of Clear Communication
- When the time pressure is off in gear recoveries it is doubly important that mistakes are not made in your communications. Mistakes can be very costly in both time and peoples lives.
- 10. Principle of Using Natural Forces
- Make it easy, let nature help you. Work downhill and/or with the flow of water wherever possible.
- 11. Principle of Diminishing Returns
- Use the minimum mechanical advantage that gets the job done.
- Equipment available in New Zealand its use and dangers.
- Rationalisation of equipment carried (too much or too little)
- Team principle of rescues
- Rescue timelines (Maintaining airway a priority)
- Knowing your limits
The practical side of the course is broken down into four key areas:
- Getting there
The course should cover but is not limited to the following skills in each category.
- Getting out of boats in hard places
- Sprinting to rescue sites
- Throw bagging
- Paddle hooks
- Getting ropes across 25m+
- Improvised climbing/abseiling harnesses
- Italian hitch and direct belays
- Assisted hoist/ lower
- Maintaining airways
- Rope tricks
- Zip line
- V lower
- Shuttle line
- Mechanical advantage
- vector pull
- Rope and Kayak Ladders
- Extraction from holes and of unconscious victims
Preparing evacuation, using the resources that are readily available on a kayaking trip.
- Dislocated shoulders
- Leg immobilisation
- Improvised stretchers
- Assisted ferries
These skills should be taught in a series of workshops and scenario based experiences.