Chapter 3 X Vessel Operation
Calm water rescue alone and with buddy – Don’t leave the paddleboard and swim to shore. Don’t try to swim with the paddle. After falling off the paddleboard, return to the board first, then recover the paddle. River current rescue with a buddy (never paddle alone in whitewater) – In whitewater, never wear a leash around your ankle. Either attach the leash to a quick release system on your life jacket or don’t wear one at all. When dumped into the water hold onto your paddle, swim aggressively back to your board and mount it as soon as possible. If you are unable to pull yourself on the board, angle it toward calm water or the shore if the shore is a safe option. Never try to stand up in current. If swimming without board and paddle, angle the body away from rocks, strainers and debris. Swim towards safety. Surf zone rescue alone and with buddy – Always protect the head when surfacing. A downed paddleboarder in a surf zone should never position the board between him/herself and the oncoming waves. Don’t try to swim with the paddle. Get on the paddleboard first then recover the paddle. Do not wrap the paddleboard leash around the hands or try to hold the paddleboard from the leash connections. Wind and weather rescue alone and with buddy – In bad weather or choppy water, always paddle on knees or lie down and hand paddle. A tow line or leash may be used to rescue another stand up paddleboarder. WHITEWATER PADDLING Whether you paddle a kayak, canoe, or raft on a river, you must know about river hydrology (the way the water moves) before you put in. It is important to know about currents, eddies, holes, and other river features in order to paddle safely. It’s best to hire a professional guide, or take classes on river running and safety, before you take your own river trip. California has world-class rivers, but you can enjoy them safely only after instruction. River Features A rapid is a section of turbulent water. Rapids usually run through steep terrain, which increases the water’s speed. Rapids can vary a lot in length and severity. An eddy is a current that tends to flow upstream, usually found downstream of an obstruction in the main current. An eddy creates a calm spot in the river that paddlers can use to rest, regroup, scout and pull out of the main current. The terms “hole,” “reversal,” “keeper” and “hydraulic” all describe the same river feature. This is where the river current pours over an obstruction or dam and the water reverses, causing a revolving current that can trap boats and people. You should avoid these “holes.” A “strainer” is an obstacle the current flows through.
WHITEWATER CLASS SYSTEM Whitewater rapids are classified by six degrees of difficulty: Class I: Easy Class II: Novice Class III: Intermediate Class IV: Advanced Class V: Expert Class VI: Extreme
See Appendix C on page 123 for a detailed description of the whitewater class system.
California Course for Safe Boating
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