Thoughts on Rescues

In all of the canoe courses I run there is a section (or sections) on rescues, but the most important skill is on how to avoid needing a rescue. Although rescues are a necessary skill, the need for a rescue should always start with prevention - use of flotation (PFD/Life-jacket), understanding the conditions, skills, and equipment before there is any outing. Look at high->low risk, slow->fast response considerations. Is a low risk, quick response, possible - consider he ladder approach Talk, Reach, Throw, Row, Go. Considerations may be direct, but also think about increased risk from indirect factors. Examples include checking the weather or scouting rapids, but less direct considerations could include what was eaten for breakfast and how well did everyone sleep. I don't want to imply accidents never happen, and sometimes they are an important learning opportunity.


Prior to heading out the following are some things to consider.

Techniques (training/practice)

This section provides some commentary on different techniques related to canoe rescues. A few of these items are not really rescue techniques but suggestions for people to practice before going on any trip. Included are a few short clips to video clips that may assist in interpretation/understanding. Remember when going into a rescue situation communication is critical with both your paddling partner, and the victims in the water. Look at options from high to low risk, slow to fast response times. Consider the risk ladder - Talk-Reach-Trow-Row-Go

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June 20, 2020