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      Solo Self Rescue     

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01/20/2016 01:21PM   (Thread Older Than 3 Years)
OK, I admit I am not a very good planner. I bought my first solo two and a half years ago and never really gave any thought to self rescue. I have done it and practiced it in a tandem canoe with another person, but never by myself. I did a search on this website and read some good information, but I would like to see if there are any fresh ideas that I can digest and practice when the water thaws. So here is the question.

How many of you have practiced a self rescue or had to do it in an emergency as a solo canoeist?

What are some tricks and ways to self rescue?

I will be in Alaska for the next 3 to 4 years and we'll be doing all of my solo trips in 60 degree water at the warmest, probably all the way down to the mid 30's for temperature. I always wear a lifejacket and am an average simmer and carry a SPOT locater. I paddle an Old Town Pack canoe. 35# and 12 feet long. Thanks in advance.
Linden

 
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Alan Gage
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01/20/2016 01:48PM  
I practice it a couple times/year (fun to do on those hot and humid days were paddling isn't very enjoyable). Never had to use it in real life.

I think emptying the boat of water is the hardest part. It takes very little weight to force your head under water. In fact I couldn't fully empty my 34lb. Bell Magic without jamming a paddle float in front of the carry thwart for extra flotation. Maybe I could do it now that I've had more practice but I no longer own the boat.

I am able to full empty my nearly 50lb. solo because I built it with full height float tanks for better upside down flotation. So when you go under the boat and break the seal at the gunwales it floats up quite high. Makes a big difference.

I've tried reentering a swamped canoe and do not think that's a viable option. Yes, you can get in but keeping the boat upright is nearly impossible. With any movement 1000+ pounds of water sloshes front to rear or left to right and swamps it all over again. Very tippy even in flat water.

I tip the canoe and try to get the rail low on my life jacket. That way when I start kicking the canoe kind of pulls me up with it. As soon as you pull yourself over the rail you need to drop your butt on the floor to keep the center of gravity low. You don't want to be laying across the rails.

I always mean to try it in wind and waves but haven't yet. I'll be interested to hear if anyone else has and how much more difficult it was. Although I'm confident in my ability to self rescue in warm, calm water I also realize there's a good chance I won't be able to do it in rough water, or cold water, or maybe even at the end of a long hard day on the water. But I practice because if the need should ever arise I want to give myself the best chance.

Video of my reentry practice from this summer

Alan
 
01/20/2016 01:50PM  
I own a Magic and the only way I can get into it is with a paddle float. I have tried side entry without any assistance, with a stirrup, and by trying to counter weight the boat but the canoe just rolls on me. I use a kayak paddle and I am working on rigging a pack as a float. I need to practice getting water out of a totally submerged canoe but I can get 1/2 the water out and I take a bailer.
My biggest fear up north is cold water. If the water is below 60 I plan on staying close to shore.
I always have a ditch kit stowed into my PFD.
 
hobbydog
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01/20/2016 03:23PM  
My thoughts on it are that while doable it is not practical in most cases. Starting with why you went over in the first place. Maybe you just did something stupid on calm day but more likely you were in rough water to begin with. If so, what makes you think that even if you get back in you can keep it upright and get to shore. If cold water is your concern, you just spent a lot of valuable time and energy and you will likely end up right back where you started....with less energy left and colder. I think having a plan B and a plan C in mind is more likely than a re-entry. Are you close enough to shore to just drift in? Should you abandon some or all of your gear and get to shore with your spot and ditch kit? Recover gear from the shoreline if possible?

With my age and weight I really doubt I could be successful re-enter on a sunny summer day so these are my plan A and plan B....along with sitting out questionable weather and stay close to shore if hypothermia is going to be an issue.
 
Banksiana
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01/20/2016 03:30PM  
With the Old Town Pack you might consider a stern entry. It's an incredibly wide boat (damn near a saucer) with profound initial stability.

Problem with solo recovery is that if conditions are bad enough to throw you out of the boat it is unlikely at best that you'll make it back in. Better off using your energy to get to shore.
 
01/20/2016 04:49PM  
"Better off using your energy to get to shore."

My thoughts also. I do practice dump and have all but given up on re-entering my solo, have done it with a tandem (barely). Having dumped twice on trips I just collected myself and gear best I could and swam the canoe to shore. If I had to I'd leave it and strike out for shore on my own and worry about gear later. Big reason I have PLB and small kit as a part of my PFD.

butthead
 
gkimball
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01/20/2016 06:26PM  
I'm in the head-for-shore-with-boat-in-tow group too. I figure that if I am in conditions rough enough to swamp or tip me over chances are I won't be able to right the boat and get in very well. I don't tie packs to the boat anymore either. I tie the packs together so they will stay together and make it easier to recover them once I get back in the boat. All kind of conjecture since I've never capsized or swamped.
 
01/20/2016 06:46PM  
Thank you all for your advice, and please keep them coming. You have given me some good things to think about regarding self rescue, as opposed to swimming to shore to save my life. I have not swamped anywhere farther than 10 feet from shore in the last 20 years but your thoughts on swimming to shore if I do swamp has me thinking.

One, can I self rescue in the adverse conditions that may have made me swamp in the first place. Probably not judging from your experiences.

Second, if I were to swamp what is my best route for survival to be taken?

This picture was from my last trip on Engineer Lake in Alaska the last day of my trip I had to leave and could not wait out a 15+ mile an hour wind. The wind was blowing from the direction of the to right mountains you see in this picture, so rather than take the canoe on the downwind side of the lake and take the waves full on broad broad side with my canoe to the landing, I decided to head straight into the wind, maybe a little off center for over a half a mile, then I turned and quartered the wind off my stern straight towards the canoe landing.

My thought at the time was that it would be far less of a chance of swamping if I took the headwind and went in towards the waves, but that put me up to a half a mile from shore before I turned back towards the landing, if I had swamped there I may not have made it. I guess it's all risk vs gains but the risk of losing my life in this cold Alaska water in the middle of October did not quite settle in my head at the time. Last summer was my first in AK.

I think I would have been far safer to just take the downwind side and try the waves broadside closest to shore, knowing that if I swamped at least I would be near the land as opposed to swamping a half a mile out in 35 degree water.

After listening to you on this post I probably could not have held on and done that half a mile swim in 35 degree water (even with a life jacket) had I swamped. The lake in this picture is probably about a mile to a mile and a half long and three quarters of a mile wide.

 
Alan Gage
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01/20/2016 08:17PM  
Swimming with a flooded boat is no easy task either. I've done it for short distances (a couple hundred yards) when I was getting into canoe/kayak racing and dumped fairly regularly for a while. Would probably be easier with a tripping canoe because of bow and stern lines but if you can't get the water removed you're still towing probably 600-1000 pounds through the water in potentially rough conditions.

What if you dump and the near shore is 200 yards away but into a 20mph headwind and the far shore is 1000 yards away but with a 20mph tailwind? Could you swim your canoe, half full of water, to the near shore? Could you swim a pack to the near shore? Do you abandon gear and swim to the near shore knowing everything else will blow downwind, away from you, or do you instead swim to the far shore with your canoe and tailwind knowing you'll be able to pick up your gear along the shore when it blows in? How cold is the water? How cold is the air? What time of day? What are the chances of anyone passing by or being near enough to hear you call for help? All would affect the decision, or at least the possible outcomes.

The more I think about different scenarios the less I believe there can be any hard and fast rules. You've just gotta hope you're brain keeps working, that you make the right decision(s), and that luck is on your side.

Alan
 
gkimball
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01/21/2016 07:52AM  
quote Alan Gage: "The more I think about different scenarios the less I believe there can be any hard and fast rules. You've just gotta hope you're brain keeps working, that you make the right decision(s), and that luck is on your side.


Alan "



Well said! There are no hard and fast rules for what to do in every situation. If you are too far from shore to tow it in you will have to try to re-enter the canoe out in the open water. Proper route selection based on conditions becomes a valuable skill.
 
yellowcanoe
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01/21/2016 08:26AM  
Just remember you first, boat second, gear third. I advocate having a ditch kit on your person.

I can do a reentry in calm water with time, rigging up straps and a rescue loop a paddle float and a double bladed paddle. But never had to do it in open chop.
Tumblehomed solos are hard to clear of water..the most you can hope for is most out.. and enough out to support yourself on the stirrup while you bail. Never had much luck with Cap flip or cowboy..too old.
Whatever you choose it sure is tiring.
 
01/21/2016 11:00AM  
trying to self rescue a swamped canoe is something that may be possible by a 19 yo gymnast but not realistic for your typical canoeist. anytime paddling looks risky i always lash my gear securely in my canoe. the packs will displace water and the canoe will be much more manageable. i have a lot of experience with swamped canoes. experienced whitewater boaters will outfit their canoes with float bags, with these bags it is possible to continue paddling even when you have a boat full of water.



 
4keys
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01/21/2016 11:35AM  
Thankfully I have never swamped, tho I know we were in conditions where we should have stayed on shore. Just wondering, if you have gear tied in and swamp, do you try to flip upright the canoe, or just pull it to shore? I would think it would be hard to flip it especially if some gear is part out of canoe ( you tied it so it stays with canoe not necessarily so it's all contained) and especially in a tandem because of the gear weight.
 
01/21/2016 04:54PM  
First aid and ditch gear in red pouch center back, green pouch on right shoulder holds my PLB. I go in they go in with me.

butthead
 
01/21/2016 06:39PM  
quote butthead: " First aid and ditch gear in red pouch center back, green pouch on right shoulder holds my PLB. I go in they go in with me.


butthead"


I've read past posts about a ditch kit, and I will definitely put one together this spring. I have a one hundred doller gift certificate to REI in Anchorage and plan on buying a decent life jacket with pockets to carry my ditch kit in.

What's in your ditch kit?

PLB
Dry matches and fire starter

What else?
 
yellowcanoe
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01/21/2016 07:06PM  
Read this and think about your circumstance.
From Bryan Hansel's Paddling Light
 
4keys
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01/21/2016 07:56PM  
quote butthead: " First aid and ditch gear in red pouch center back, green pouch on right shoulder holds my PLB. I go in they go in with me.


butthead"

I must over-prepare. No way would my 1st aid kit fit in that red pouch. What do you carry in that?
 
gkimball
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01/22/2016 07:40AM  
quote 4keys: "Thankfully I have never swamped, tho I know we were in conditions where we should have stayed on shore. Just wondering, if you have gear tied in and swamp, do you try to flip upright the canoe, or just pull it to shore? I would think it would be hard to flip it especially if some gear is part out of canoe ( you tied it so it stays with canoe not necessarily so it's all contained) and especially in a tandem because of the gear weight."

As with everything about this sport, there are more than one to think about lashing gear into the canoe.

Here's a good thread on the subject. I thought it was very useful:

Stowing your gear in your canoe
 
01/22/2016 08:24AM  
"What do you carry in that?"

Ditch kit thread Older PFD and setup same idea similar stuff. I carry another more thorough first aid kit in my pack.

butthead
 
01/22/2016 08:41AM  
virtually every time i have swamped (always whitewater) the canoe had remained in it's natural position, upright but full of water. the link above is written by canadians who look like they know what they are doing.

for most bwca paddling the chances of swamping are remote, if you do swamp it will be because the waves slowly fill your canoe with water. once you get a couple of gallons of lake water in the canoe the canoe becomes really difficult to control as the water sloshes back and forth. it is possible to loose your balance and tip your canoe, my brother does this often with his son, together they make an extraordinarily clumsy team. in their case the canoe always remains in it natural position.
 
ockycamper
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01/22/2016 09:42AM  
great thread. . .

I have never had to re enter a swamped canoe, but have had to get back in a overturned kayak several times. A paddle float makes this very doable even for the "out of shape" crowd.

I use a double blade paddle in the solo canoe. Very easy to strap one end to the middle thart, inflate the paddle float and slide on to the other end of the paddle. You then have an out rigger and easy way to get in the canoe.

Another idea not talked about from kayaking. . .if you can get some/most of the water out of the canoe before re-entering, a hand operated bilge pump will get rid of the rest very quickly (again.. .been there done that in a kayak).

One last thought. . .one of the reasons we use Sealline bags or bags of that type rather then canoe back packs is that they make great canoe floats. If you strap two of the full size "boundary bags" to each other and to the canoe, in the middle section, you have cut well back on the water that will be in a capsized canoe when you right it. We have smaller sealline dry bags for the bow and stern we also tie in.

I think the kayakers have it right on this. . .the key is water displacement through air bags or water tight sealine type bags, and use of a paddle float/paddle/outrigger type system.
 
01/22/2016 09:45AM  
Many good replies so far. To Linden's original posting, I do practice capsizing and I have had to perform solo self reentry under emergency conditions. For paddling in Alaska with remote areas, big water, fast moving water, or cold water, a workable plan for unassisted reentry is very important. The plan starts with some practice using your own boat and physical abilities. Unless this is practiced under fair conditions, the chances of doing it right and fast under gnarly conditions isn't real good. Time is critical with cold water and you may only get one chance to get it right before you lose the physical ability.

Things I have learned:

- need to have a means to bail water out of boat before trying to reenter. This is the most important trick I know. For me and my boats, there is absolutely no way I will be successful without a bailer. Bailer has to be used with one hand only as under gnarly conditions, my other hand is holding the boat and trying to keep the bow pointed downwind to minimize more waves cresting into a broadside boat. My bailer is just a "Tide" liquid laundry detergent container with the bottom 2" cut off. Leave the cap on the other end and tie a 3 foot length of parachute rope to the handle of the bailer and the other end tied to a seat or thwart so it will always be attached to the boat. This works great for one-handed fast bailing. It also doubles as a pee jug or a container to put those blueberries or salmonberries in that you'll find in Alaska.

- having your gear tied into the boat is a good idea for most of Alaskan type paddling. It also adds buoyancy and displaces a lot of water that you'd otherwise have to bail.

- With boat bailed dry, I reenter from the stern.

- after time in cold water, paddle hard to warm up the body.

Enjoy your 3 or 4 seasons up in that great land!

BeaV
 
Alan Gage
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01/22/2016 10:34AM  
if you can get some/most of the water out of the canoe before re-entering, a hand operated bilge pump will get rid of the rest very quickly

I don't think a hand operated pump is very practical in a normal tripping canoe. The internal volume of a canoe is huge when compared to a kayak with bulkheads. There's a lot of water to remove. I too carry a 1 gallon bailer tied to a thwart and I have used this to empty a swamped canoe. It still takes a long time and is removing water a lot faster (and with less work) than a pump. I'd think the higher sides, when compared to a kayak, would make it awkward to pump as well.
Like Beav says having an extra hand to hold the paddle and control the boat is important.

I've used a pump for kayaks and agree that it works well in that situation.

Alan
 
ockycamper
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01/22/2016 11:09AM  
good point on the bailer. However, a tandem canoe with two large packs tied in the center and smaller ones fore and aft would displace water in similar fashion to a touring kayak with bulkheads.

If underway with gear, the key should be to have water tight drybags tied in to displace water. Righting the canoe with bags in place you may only have 20% of the canoe with water in it. Bailer could handle most of that.

I am with the others who have commented on re entering a righted empty canoe. . .its a young man's game.

I would much rather use the paddle float method and role back in to the canoe like a kayak.
 
ZaraSp00k
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01/23/2016 04:12PM  
I have only been in this situation once, it was from stupidity not bad conditions so I grabbed the loose Duluth pack with one hand (they are buoyant) the canoe with the other (all 3 of my Wenonah’s have front & rear air chambers) my second Duluth pack was wedged in between the gunwales, and kicked my way to shore. IMO, staying with the canoe is the smart thing, assuming it floats, you can always retrieve your gear later, unless you don’t make it. Staying with the canoe increases those odds IMO.

If you can empty the canoe and get in, I say take your act to the circus or something, that's real talent.
 
Alan Gage
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01/23/2016 04:48PM  
IMO, staying with the canoe is the smart thing, assuming it floats, you can always retrieve your gear later, unless you don’t make it. Staying with the canoe increases those odds IMO.

I think that's reasonable in most situations but I don't think it can be a hard and fast rule. If rough conditions are what caused you to capsize perhaps you'd be unable to paddle back out and retrieve your gear after getting to shore and emptying the boat. What if it's an hour before sunset, bad weather is moving in (hence the capsize) and the temp. is 50 degrees and falling? Swimming your boat to shore means heading back out in near darkness and bad weather to try and find your gear. Weather that already caused a capsize once. Otherwise you're spending the night under your canoe, soaking wet, in near freezing temps. If the weather is good and you're functional in the morning you can go after your gear. But what if the weather is worse?

Swimming your pack to shore in that situation means you have shelter, warm clothes, and food. You're set for multiple days and time is on your side for figuring out a way to get your boat back.

Since none of us are likely to face these scenarios it's probably just semantics but I think, if the worst happens, it's best to quickly assess the situation and possible outcomes before deciding what to do.

Alan
 
01/23/2016 06:47PM  
Thanks all for your feedback. I will write a thorough response when I get some more gigabytes or get to a WiFi location
 
01/26/2016 09:10AM  
I made it to my wifes place in Duluth now, and hence have the use of her computer.

Thank-you all for your input, I could have gleaned some of this information you provided from searching through previous posts, but I didn't think it would not have the same ability to sink in to my brain unless I posted a specific question for myself.

Here are some things I plan to undertake with my canoe tripping in AK thanks to you guys, as others have stated these are not hard and fast rules, I will remain fluid in my decisions based on many factors.

1: I will practice solo self re-entry next year, and see if it is possible with either a Side or Stern entry. (And let you know)

2: I will buy a decent life vest with pockets and have a ditch kit.

3: If I swamp I will consider swimming with or without my canoe into shore, depending on many factors. Distance, water temp, wind, and more.

4: I will get a bailer as has been stated here and attach it to my canoe. (Great advice and definitely something I had not thought of)

5: I will most likely lash my gear to my canoe when travelling on big or windy water, or rivers.

6: I will plan my routes on big water to take in may factors. Wind direction and velocity, IE: I may not try to always head to the calm, leeward side of the lake if that will take me across some potential big waves to get there. Instead, I may decide whether I can handle the windy down wind shore knowing that if I swamp, I will be pushed into shore shortly. I will consider what foot wear I have on ahead of time, if I do swamp.

I have to leave my 80# dog in MN with my wife since it is so expensive to fly her round trip. I only will be spending only 7.5 - 8 months a year there in AK. Plus I will have to find someone to look after her when I am fighting fires. This should lesson my chances of flipping or having to worry about a pet if I do swamp. It will also make it easier for me to deal with the bears if I do not have her with me. I can't imagine having her on a leash every time I go hiking, backpacking or portaging a canoe.

Beav, thanks for the Alaska perspective.

I will see if I can attach some of my wifes pictures, I think you all must have seen all the ones I have in my phone.

My wife and I on the Denali Hwy, 100 miles of gravel road.





Skilak Guard Station, on Skilak Lake. My place in AK


Nenana River, I have plans to do 25 miles Class 1 rapids of this, from the Danali Hwy to Cantwell.

Did 2 nites on this lake, mid October

Myself on the Matanuska Glacier
 
01/26/2016 12:12PM  
One more consideration for remote paddling, a cover.
Home constructed, manufactured, or custom crafted. The dumps I mentioned were in . Held all gear inside, took on just a few inches of water even after rolling fully over, both times ended upright. Both occurred when the cockpit was rolled forward.

butthead
 
ockycamper
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01/26/2016 12:36PM  
my goal is to add a cover such as that to my Wenonah Wilderness.
 
ockycamper
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01/26/2016 12:39PM  
ON the ditch kit. . .

several years ago I read through all the threads and the bottom line that stuck with me was. . .if it is not ON you (i.e. on your pfd) it will not help if you lose the canoe.

Based on that, I went with the PFD and optional pack that attaches to its back below. In the front pockets I carry: Marine radio, Spot, compass, small air horn and whistle, river knife, paddling gloves. In the back pack: water tight first aid kit, LifeStraw, survival knife, Streamlight high output miniture flashlight, signal mirror, energy bars, magnesium matches.

Depending on where I am paddling, I have a holster that attaches to the side of the pfd that will carry my Ruger SR40C.

 
01/26/2016 12:52PM  
quote butthead: "One more consideration for remote paddling, a cover.
Home constructed, manufactured, or custom crafted. The dumps I mentioned were in . Held all gear inside, took on just a few inches of water even after rolling fully over, both times ended upright. Both occurred when the cockpit was rolled forward.


butthead"


Butthead,
I almost put getting a cover in one my points, I was thinking of exactly what you show. It may save the canoe in a swamping. I also will most likely be in some Class 2 rapids at some point, and likely a little more. That cover should help keep water from splashing in my canoe no matter if I'm in rivers or lakes.
 
01/26/2016 02:31PM  
Installed 2 CCS covers. No real difficulty, home tools only (pop riveter, tape, drill, bits).


butthead
 
01/26/2016 05:32PM  
quote butthead: " Installed 2 CCS covers. No real difficulty, home tools only (pop riveter, tape, drill, bits).



butthead"


Impressive Butthead,

I mean the ability to use every space in a small garage, keep it well organized and clean. I was looking at your garage as much as the canoes. By the way, your canoes and covers are awesome as well.
 
01/26/2016 06:13PM  
Thanks! Apartment living since before retired and small garage make it necessary.
Be careful up there, and have a BALL!

butthead
 
wetcanoedog
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01/26/2016 10:06PM  
on my "wetcanoedogs" Youtube site i have a video showing my ditch kit.
i reordered that because i now have a PLB and don't expect any long stays in the woods with no canoe or gear.
i stay close to the shore and away from bad water.
i would swim the canoe to shore rather than try to get in because i would never be far from shore.
in a older thread on this subject i recall someone's advice to make a rope loop attached to the carry bar.with the canoe up right you put your foot in the loop and along with a pull with you arms you can hoist yourself in.the loop is pre made and not something you would do after the fact.
testing out a method is a must-do and i have done this at least once with each of my canoes.i also try and tip the canoe by rocking it back and forth or standing in it.my Oldtown Pathfinder was a "stand up" canoe and i paddled it that way sometimes.my new Bell Prospector is so unstable that i don't like to even stand up to check out portage landings or rocky parts of a river.
my Grandson told my Wife that i drive like a old man.when i heard that i said thats why i'm a old man,same with canoe tripping.
 
jcavenagh
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05/01/2016 12:14PM  
I have to work on this issue this year. I haven't done a swamp drill in a while.
 
05/01/2016 07:00PM  
I am waiting for the water to warm up a bit before I try a self-rescue practice. I will let you all know how it goes. Drove to Anchorage yesterday, (250 miles round trip) to go to REI. I bought a new life jacket.

Used it for a short paddle on this lake, cold and windy on Rock Lake today.
I like the jacket. Betsea-Stohlquist, set me back 130 bucks. But it's a vital piece of my survival gear, and allows me to have a ditch kit.

Just looked closer and noticed it is a women's life jacket. Not sure what I will do about this, Anchorage is so far away and I do not get there very often.
 
05/01/2016 08:25PM  
I recently picked up a stohlquist fisherman. Decent size pockets with room for arms to swing while paddling. I'm going to fill it with ditch kit stuff I used to have in a fanny pack. There's also enough room to store a small handgun.

Personally, I want enough gear on me to be able to survive 72 hours. If I have to hit the PLB because I dumped and lost all my gear and boat, the weather is probably to rough for a float plane or helicopter to get me ASAP. Low cloud deck, high winds, etc....
 
OBX2Kayak
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05/01/2016 08:44PM  
Linden -- Just in case you missed this thread ... Open water canoe re-entry
(Note: the solo re-entry demo starts at about the 3:30 mark.)

I remember doing all these re-entry techniques with an old Grumman but confess I haven't practiced since I started kayaking. More than once we did tandem re-entries in very rough water. It's easier than many people think.
 
05/01/2016 10:40PM  
It's also a good idea to practice your emergency fire starting. Make sure that tinder you keep on you actually works. I can't imagine every one of my bic lighters being missing or wet, but its nice knowing I can successfully utilize the alternatives. Be that a ferro rod, flint, steel and char-cloth, etc.
 
05/25/2016 11:38PM  
I pretty much failed my first practice solo self rescue tonite.

Winds were calm, outside temp 60 degrees, water temp between 55-60 degrees. I had clothes on and life jacket. I flipped it upside down crawled underneath but could not flip it over and get any noticeable water out of it. I tried a stern re-entry and had no success at that whatsoever.

I have access to a collapseable bucket, I'm thinking of flipping it and bailing the water out and then try a re-entry.
I floundered for about 5 minutes before heading to shore. Had the water been warmer I could have tried longer and different methods.

All is not a failure, I know my limitations better.
I will now make sure my ditch kit has everything I need to save my life in AK. This will include bear spray.
A plus was the view on Lower Ohmar Lake this evening. I will keep trying, I'll let you know how my next attempt goes.


 
05/26/2016 06:05AM  
Thanks for the update, Linden. I haven't really tried a solo self rescue since I just rent the canoe once a year for my trip, but have just assumed that it would be difficult to impossible for me. On my trip last fall (late Sept/early Oct) temps were probably 5-10 degrees cooler and often it is windy.

How did you feel when you got back on shore after your short time in the water? I know that last year my feet were really cold wet footing the last couple of days.

I probably need to make sure to take a bailer. And stay close to shore.
 
05/26/2016 09:33AM  
the energy used trying to self rescue would be much better used on a swim to shore, stay with the canoe. it floats. if your packs were properly lashed in the canoe it will make the task that much easier.

we did canoe rescues in boy scouts. we practiced all sorts of useless maneuvers that had absolutely no function on a canoe trip, the bowman would trade places with the stern while on the water. how many times have you had to do that? also we learned NEVER stand in a canoe, we stand in the canoe all of the time. for what its worth my troop leader was an expert canoeman. i think he was just following the book.

i have never seen it mentioned on here but a piece of gear i always bring when there may be a chance of swamping is a bailer. we found this canadian made bailer on the pigeon river in manitoba years ago. this bailer has since taken on mystical status, to not bring it would be inviting doom. that couple of gallons of water sloshing back and forth not only brings brings your gunwales closer to the water it also destabilizes the canoe.



 
05/26/2016 11:32AM  
quote boonie:
How did you feel when you got back on shore after your short time in the water? I know that last year my feet were really cold wet footing the last couple of days.

I probably need to make sure to take a bailer. And stay close to shore."

Bonnie, I felt pretty good, I could have floundered easily another five minutes, but I saw no point in it.

Jwartman, I am on board "pun intended" with you about swimming to shore, or riding the swamped canoe to shore if I'm not too far out. It re-affirms my need to stay close to shore as much as possible, I will try the bailer next time.

Water temps yesterday were probably the highest average I could expect in AK. I was on a small shallow Lake during a warm spell. No glacial fed River or big deep Lake to deal with.

Don't know how BeaV could have done it.
 
Alan Gage
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05/26/2016 11:50AM  
Did you break the seal at the gunwales before trying to flip the boat? Try to lift it as high as you can before the flip. Even then it's really difficult. Sometimes it's easier to move to either the bow or stern and only lift one end. Then start moving as far as you can towards the middle until the weight starts to push you under. Then kick hard and flip it.

It looks easy in the video I posted earlier in the thread but it certainly isn't, at least not with most boats. I designed and built that canoe and intentionally made the float tanks large and they extend all the way to the shear so that when the boat is upside down it will float as high as possible. This makes it much easier to remove the water. My Bell Magic weighed 15 pounds less and I couldn't completely empty the water when flipping unless I jammed a paddle float between the stem and carry yoke and inflated it. This causes that end of the canoe to float very high. Then you can lift up the other end (about 3/4 of the way back) and flip the canoe empty quite easily.

Even if you can't do it successfully trying this in practice is good because it makes you realize how difficult it would actually be in a real life situation. While you're at it try getting into and paddling a swamped solo canoe. Also let it fill with water and try swimming it.

Alan
 
05/26/2016 02:38PM  
quote Alan Gage: "Did you break the seal at the gunwales before trying to flip the boat? Try to lift it as high as you can before the flip. Even then it's really difficult. Sometimes it's easier to move to either the bow or stern and only lift one end. Then start moving as far as you can towards the middle until the weight starts to push you under. Then kick hard and flip it.
Alan"


Yes, I was able to break the seal easily, I just couldn't get any noticeable water out of when I flipped it. (My canoe is a 35# Old Town Pack) I swam my canoe back to shore but I was only 50 feet away. I also got in my swamped canoe, and when I did that, it almost was completely submerged.

This was my first attempt so I will definitely tray a few more times, it is all a learning experience.

I haven't swamped in 25+ years, so I am green at this whole thing.
My next attempt will be both trying to flip the canoe over, and then using a bailer, before I try the re-entry.
 
GraniteCliffs
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05/26/2016 09:39PM  
Interesting thread. I am headed up solo Monday am and this reminded me: Always stay close to shore, especially if the wind is likely to push you out into the lake, esp when the water is cold.
Wear the old PFD all the time and take no chances when it is windy, rough or likely to become so.
If I ever dump I am headed for shore with or without my gear. I will not take the time to try to flip the canoe. At my age I can barely do it on the start of a portage!
 
OBX2Kayak
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05/26/2016 09:41PM  
It requires a really strong scissor kick at the same time you lift and flip the canoe.

I haven't tried it in years, but I'll bet my scissor kick is not nearly as strong as it was fifty years ago. :-)
 
05/26/2016 09:49PM  
I am guessing this is part of my problem with flipping the canoe.

The gunnels are open on the ends, (inside of the canoe) that combined with the holes I have drilled thru them to move my seat, thwart and portage yoke fills them with water. I may be lifting as much as 8 - 16#s on the flip.

Should I plug the ends of the gunnels and seal the holes I drilled, making it more buoyant and lighter for the flip? If yes, then with what?

Here are pics.
One more thing, I do not want to trap water in for obvious reasons.
 
06/01/2016 08:37AM  
quote LindenTree3: "
"
OT kind of. i'd suggest that you turn your portage yoke around, facing the seat. as configured there is very minimal room between your head while in the yoke and the thwart. while very unlikely there is a chance that you could be entrapped as configured. i like to be able to toss my canoe off in case of a stumble.
 
06/01/2016 02:14PM  
quote jwartman59: "quote LindenTree3: "
"
OT kind of. i'd suggest that you turn your portage yoke around, facing the seat. as configured there is very minimal room between your head while in the yoke and the thwart. while very unlikely there is a chance that you could be entrapped as configured. i like to be able to toss my canoe off in case of a stumble."


Good idea, I have my P Yoke balanced for my needs/weights with the seat, turning it around would most likely upset that balance. Maybe I will just take out the Thwart, the canoe originally came with just the one and now my P Yoke serves that purpose. The Thwart makes it easy to lash gear to however. Maybe I will simply move it forward a bit.
 
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