Re: Safety issues: PFDs

16 years 10 months ago #673 by downwind
Glenn McGregor's tragedy is the only one that comes to mind and I can't remember the exact circumstances so I am not sure whether a PFD would have saved him or not.

It was mentioned in an earlier post that if the the PFD needs to be discarded it can easly done so but what if the PFD needs to be retrieved again?

So we can debate until our typing finger is raw or put our minds together to come up with a PFD that fits like a paddling vest that if necessary, can be activated or inflated/deflated at will and when completely deflated still be comfortable enough to make one feel they can duck dive or body surf a wave with it on.

Lets work together?

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16 years 10 months ago #674 by tomb
Replied by tomb on topic Re: Safety issues: PFDs

I don't know about SA but here in Aus the crazies that love rock fishing around Sydney have a specially adapted self inflating PFD (activate's when they hit the water & can be activated by by person ) this may be a solution.

The PFD is not restrictive and is red so can be seen from above or by boat.

This could be a solution.

Tom B

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16 years 10 months ago #675 by Mako
Replied by Mako on topic Re: Safety issues: PFDs
1) Dave I?m not trying to shoot anyone down in flames and value your input.
I?ve no intention to name individuals here. Incidents are mentioned to illustrate a point however I?m happy to provide names via Pmail if anyone thinks it important enough. Similarly I would have preferred not to mention Glen McGregor. Their names are not important in the context of our discussion.

2) The number of paddlers lost in LD ski races is very small, but may be significant as a as a percentage of paddlers in our sport. I have no idea of total numbers. What is significant is the number of paddlers that may already have been saved by PFD?s. The fact that they survived leaves the door open as to whether they would have made it without PFD?s. One thing I do know is that each one of them was thankful for their PFD?s and at one time during their various ordeals they thought they might not make it. In all but one case outside assistance was needed to affect a rescue. Off the top of my head, in the last couple of years, locally 7 men and 2 ladies have found themselves in this predicament. Some are documented on this site. That?s too high a number to ignore.

3) I?ve confined my comments to LD Ski races (Long Distance) and life saver type ?around the cans? races fall way outside this arena. PFD?s would be silly for such events. Again my blue bottle example is confined to LD ski races were the stings could and indeed, have been significant. Read this site for additional blue bottle stories.
I really don?t think you are accusing me of scaremongering and appreciate that excessive regulation is bad for any sport. If I am indeed being labeled a scaremonger how can stating a reasonable case for simple PFD?s be so construed?

By agreeing that safety standards could be lifted ?? how else then. I?ve stayed clear of leashes as I think they are another debate, just as important, but subject to less resistance from paddlers on race day. It?s easy to run back to a car and use a tie down as a quick fix.

Regarding discarding PFD?s as mentioned by Dale. If you discard, it means you think it?s putting you at risk of injury or worse. Why would you want to recover it? If it?s in the surf zone, it?ll probably beat you to the beach where it can be recovered. Once a paddler has left the beach and discarded a PFD in order to limit risk to themselves the cost of the device becomes secondary. Again I?m talking LD Ski races only and not surf races with multiple entries and exits. High tech devices that are capable of automatic inflation need to be serviced regularly by authorized agents, proof of service etc. etc. Current low tech PFD?s also provide storage space and attachment points for additional safety equipment.

The PFD scenario becomes incredibly obvious and clear once one sends others out to sea and anxiously waits for all to return safely as wind and sea increase and darkness approaches. It?s not a feeling I wish on anyone.!

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16 years 10 months ago #676 by Martin
Replied by Martin on topic Re: Safety issues: PFDs

I wanted to add my comments to this thread. I agree with both arguments, for instance the one regarding the surf lifesaving events, however I think the key thing here is the type of event being held and for the paddler to be sensible enough to know he needs to wear one when faced with angry conditions. Call it a "semi self policing" if you must. In parallel to that I also expect the race organisers to exhibit a "duty of care" attitude and have the last say without worrying about the elite paddlers response. This is a great sport whereby all skill levels can compete together and we need to keep an eye out for all.

The surf lifesaving events have sufficient safety at hand to minimise any risks. In the world cup, both in SA and Perth you often find yourself paddling alone 1 hour or so into the race. In the Perth Rottnest to Hillary's race there weren't many safety boats bar a police vessel and a couple of other private boats.

Another good example of where PFD's should have been compulsory was in Western Australia in the 20km 2006 King of the Cape where 4 m + swells, gale conditions and whales were the order of the day. Race organisers only insisted on the carrying of a flare, but not a PFD. That was wrong.

I am one of the guiltyones by not doing the right thing when faced with testing conditions and have yet to wear one in a ski race. We have to admit that we can all remember a race where, in hindsight, have thought it would have been a good idea to have worn a PFD.

If conditions are borderline race organisers must insist on PFDs.

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  • nell
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16 years 10 months ago #677 by nell
Replied by nell on topic Re: Safety issues: PFDs
1. It would be nice if a manufacturer (Mocke?) started making pfd's specifically for LD ski paddling. For example, my Lotus pfd is pretty minimal as far as pfd's go, but it's made so darn bombproof (with whitewater paddling in mind), that it's stiffer and heavier, and hotter than it needs to be. We really just need something pretty simple and not made with 1000 lb test cordura and kevlar weaved into the fabric, right? If it were super lightweight, flexible, had ventilation holes, I'd wear it all the time. Look at the revolution in bicycle helmets. That's what I'm talking about.

2. I occasionally use an inflatable pfd. But, I don't like to have to rely on something that I have to fiddle with and inflate when I really need it. That said, the manually inflatable ones are pretty good, though - by manually inflatable, I'm talking about the CO2 inflatable pfds that don't automatically inflate when they get wet.

3. If an LD ski race stays within a short distance (500 m?, 1 km?) of shore, then I can see very good reason to NOT require paddlers to wear a pfd as it makes little sense to do so. But, if a course takes paddlers more than a specified distance from shore (2 km?, 10 km?), I can certainly see the point in making the paddlers wear their pfd.
As an aside, I occasionally do local races on shallow, very slow flowing rivers or lakes that are so narrow you could throw a rock across them, and wearing your pfd is often required. That makes no sense.

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16 years 10 months ago #678 by linda
Replied by linda on topic Re: Safety issues: PFDs
We would like to give our opinion from the sidelines as we do not (yet) paddle competitively.

A persons safety should always be the number one concern - even when participating in the sport you were born to do. Professional sports persons in other arena's are all forced to take precautions (horse-riders wear helmets, cylclists wear helmets, Michael Schumacher wears a seatbelt)
Safety comes first - we only have one life to live and we must live it to the fullest. Water is extremely powerful and weather is unpredicatable so the least a paddler can do is don a pfd and use a strong paddle leash.

From our perspetive, Dawid Mocke has designed the ideal pfd for racing. We have 9 years of manufacture experience and we guarantee an extremely durable, quality product. The jacket is designed according to CSA specifications. It has the perfet amount of floatation - less would be too little. It has mesh all-round for breathability and drainage. It accommodates a drinking system and has a pocket for cell phone or flares. I feel this is the ideal product.

If a paddler has further design comments, please feel free to bring them to us - but please do not avoid using this essential piece of equipment entirely. Your life is worth wearing it!

Linda and Karen @ Quiver

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16 years 10 months ago #679 by kwellman
Replied by kwellman on topic Re: Safety issues: PFDs
A sign in Kipahulu Campground on the rugged coast of Maui says (excuse me if this is not word for word): YOU ONLY DROWN ONCE IN A LIFETIME. The warning is for tourists, but applies to elite swimmers also.

The discussion here is interesting, but many responses are not very illuminating. Some may protest vigorously in defense of tradition, but there is no excuse not to require a PFD for participants in surf ski races.

In 2003, the US Coast Guard's Office of Boating Safety tallied 481 drownings. Of these 416 were not wearing a PFD. Of the 481 drownings, 294 victims had been on boats less than 7 m. (54 were in boats of unreported length).

I suspect none of the 481 drownings recorded were elite surf ski racers. But, that is beside the point. There are certainly many surf ski races with participants who are not elite racers, and who are at risk if they have to swim 1, 2, 5 or 10 km to shore if they loose their surf ski and are not wearing a PFD. Race organizers are aware of the risks and will be derelict of their duty (and legally responsible) if they do not require such persons wear a PFD. All persons in a race must follow the same rules, so elite racers must wear PFDs also. It is pretty simple--and logical.

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16 years 10 months ago #680 by Stan K
Replied by Stan K on topic Re Quiver pfd
Hi Linda/Karen

which CSA approved PFD are you referring to, the Dusky? or some otehr one?

send some info and maybe links?

Stan K

"If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you" -Nietsche

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