Lessons learned from the February drowning on the Buller

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The NZRCA believes the following lessons can be learnt from the drowning of Tim Jamieson on the Buller last February:
- Strainers are a major danger for kayakers
- A change in river flow (even a reduction) can increase the objective danger.
- If you do not have recent knowledge of a rapid then scout it with caution and ask for direction.
- All members of a group should communicate known hazards (including the own limitations in knowledge and skill) to each other and should be comfortable with advising each other of dangers.
- If you cannot see what is below an obstacle it is dangerous to paddle over it "blind".
- Ensure that you can exit your kayak as easily as possible (even if held against an obstacle).
- Ensure your Buoyancy Aid fits so that it will not come off unless you want it to.
- Consider carrying some means of calling for outside assistance if necessary (cell phone or locator beacon).
- Caution and knowledge (backed up by River Safety and Rescue Skills) are vital to ensuring a safe trip.