On the afternoon of July 10th Campbell River Search and Rescue were called into action to assist the RCMP and BC Ambulance with rafters who were in trouble on the Campbell River. With our quick thinking members we were able to assess the situation, come up with a game plan and get the rafters back to safety.
We would like to remind everyone to recreate in the outdoors in a safe manor. When traveling on water always have the following,
- dress appropriate for the water temperature
- have a sound signalling device like a fox 40 whistle
As well, it is of importantance to never tie boats up together when traveling on rivers. Boats tied up together become a hazard as they can become tangled on trees and man made objects like bridge pillars.
You can read further of how to travel safely on water by going to www.adventuresmart.ca where you can learn about the PaddleSmart program. Here are a few more quick reminders when recreating on rivers,
Follow the 3 Ts and keep the following in mind when embarking on a recreational paddling trip!
- Trip Planning: Plan in accordance with the weather, currents and the skills of people going. Appoint a leader and leave a trip plan.
- Training: Specific training is needed for different types of vessels, crafts and locations. Contact your nearest paddling school for training so you have the skills needed before you go.
- Taking the Essentials: Alongside the essentials, there are legal requirements for safety equipment.
These are some of many river features you may encounter within moving water.
An upstream current that forms behind a surface object. It can be used as refuge from the main current.
Hazard: The “eddy line” between the upstream and downstream flows may be unpredicatble or have a dramatic effect on your paddle craft.
This dam extends the entire width of the river and creates a hydraulic of recirculating water that spans the river, and a boil line which marks the separation of the downstream current (outwash) and the upstream current (backwash).
Hazard: Sometimes referred to as a “drowning machine,” this feature will trap and hold a buoyant object (such as a person or a paddle craft) in the recirculating water, continually forcing it back into the dam.
Debris is also often held by the hydraulic, creating more hazards for a person.
Escape is nearly impossible; rescue is extremely difficult and dangerous. The water in the hydraulic and just below the boil line is highly aerated, so paddle craft cannot get a good “bite” to make it through. The low-head dam is often very difficult to see from the upstream.
An obstruction that water is able to move through, but not solid objects. Examples are downed trees, gratings on culverts or pipes, and fences in flooded areas.
Hazard: The force of the current can hold a person immobile against the strainer with tremendous force and may be impossible to escape from.
When on a river you are likely to come into contact with another water craft, in order to ensure the safety of both yourself and others on the river it is important to be aware of the following signals.
There is a hazard ahead. Wait for all clear sign before proceeding.
Form a horizontal bar with your outstretched arm or paddle. Those seeing the signal should pass it on to others on the river that may not see it.
Three (3) long blasts on a whistle while waving a paddle (or arms) overhead.
If you do not have a whistle, use the visual signal. A whistle is more convenient if attached to your PFD.
All Clear/ Come ahead
Proceed down the centre of the river or in the direction being pointed to.
Put your paddle vertically in the air with the blade flat to ensure maximum visibility. You may also use your arms—raise them vertically.
If you wish to signal what path to go on, angle your arm or paddle towards said path.
Never angle the signal towards the obstacle you are trying to avoid.
Pat the top of your head repeatedly while pointing your elbow outwards toward the side.