breathing piece/snorkile

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im thinking of putting a plastic tube going into a mouth nozzile like a snorkle onto the shoulder strap of my life jacket for a critical extra couple minutes of breathing time.

has anyone done or do this?

i would love some more experienced paddlers / rafters knowledge.


raftkayaksnow's picture

this was a very interesting article added from issac. i wonder why they did not put someone on safety covering that sieve.
a snorkile would have worked in this case, again. very very interesting

Sam_Milne's picture

I reakon this is real's my take on it.

People generally just learn to roll. If your pinned under there I doubt you'd even remember you had the tube, let alone be able to find and use it. Plus in a serious 'body pin' or pin against your back deck expanding your chest to breath in air might be near impossible anyway.

The "quick air" tube from rapidprodcts looks pretty good as a piece of rescue kit to hand to a pinned victim. The key is their mouthpiece with a one way valve and exhale port. Just a piece of garden hose realy won't work because they fill with water from the bottom, plus you will inhale your own breath again anyway.

In saying that I'm finding it hard to imaging a situation where the "quick air" tube would be the winner...The kayaker would have to be pinned in a way that you have time to grab out your tube, walk over, or paddle right up beside them (without being pinned yourself) and hold the tube for them. The water pressure is so great that you can't simply pull the boat free, or pull the deck off and get the paddler out, but somehow you're able to reach down into the water and establish the airway.

Would be keen to know how many people carry a hose of some sort and how they invision it working. I'm all for extra safety gear, but just not convinced...

k1's picture


The snorkel is mainly intended for foot entrapments or entanglements where the victim is only a short distance under the surface. Which may seem unlikely but the snorkel length is made to be the maximum distance underwater that it is possible to breath through a tube. Also you have the best chance of spotting somebody who is only a couple of feet underwater.

There was a 2006 incident on the Rangiteki with a river valley rafter where the rafter became entrapped in a sieve only 15cm below the water. Fortunately the rafter was saved when the trip leader was able to eventually reach down under water and kick him under the sieve. However when he floated free he was unconscious, not breathing and blue. Somebody performed cpr and he survived, but it certainly was a close call.

MaritimeNZ in their Accident investigation report mentioned that a contributing factor to his near drowning was that the raft guides did not on that trip carry breathing snorkels. But that on future trips all the guides will carry one as part of their rescue kit.

If you want to read more about this particular incident, and there is some scene recreation photos the link is:

Another situation where I see their use could have been possible is the entrapment drowings that have happened on Rock A. The rescuers here were able to grab onto a limb or lifejacket so if they were to get there in time I could imagine a snorkel could have been sucessfully used.

I think it would be excellent to find a source for these in NZ and make them widely distributed. They have the potential to save a life.

On a sidenote; Rapid Products also do another product the Rapid air for personal safety use, it is basically a tiny highly pressurised scuba tank that fits in the front pocket of a PFD, it can be deployed handsfree by just biting the valve in front of you. Interesting.

Guido's picture

On Google Patents you can find submissions on all sorts of weird devices (flying snails anyone?) including snorkels. Perhaps not exactly what you're after but it may give you some insights/ideas on how to build one - its where i would start....below is what I found under the entry - kayak snorkel =)

raftkayaksnow's picture

cheers for your help, do you use one of these rapid air's yourself?

daanjim's picture the big test is the diameter, to wide and it takes to much room, to small and you can't breath back out.