Mariner Kayaks Owner's Manual on:
Using the RESCUE FLOAT PLUS
The kayaker pictured above has
inflated the Rescue Float Plus over the paddle blade and has secured the paddle and float
to function as a stabilizing outrigger. He is now ready to slide his torso onto the rear
deck, put his feet in the cockpit, and twist around into the seat.
PRACTICE IS ESSENTIAL! Experience is necessary to insure success using the RESCUE FLOAT PLUS in an emergency. Kayaks differ so you must practice to make sure which methods work for you using your own kayak (and any other kayak you may paddle).Maximum flotation in both ends of the kayak is also necessary so the kayak cannot sink (or partially sink) when you try to re-enter. When the kayak is fully swamped the cockpit rim should still have at least two inches of freeboard with you sitting in it. Also the more flotation in the kayak, the less water will have to be removed in the bailing process that follows re-entry.
Do not bail a kayak from the water. Pumping from the water is inefficient, and cold water will also be sapping the strength you may need to complete the rescue. It is possible you might swamp your kayak again during the rescue and have to pump it out again anyway. Furthermore, it is easier to re-enter a swamped kayak using the RESCUE FLOAT PLUS because the deck is easier to climb up on when it is lower to the water.
THE MARINER SELF-RESCUE
PADDLE FLOAT RESCUE: (for use in surf or with a kayak that has no way to attach the paddle)
Note: It is possible to re-enter the kayak without affixing the paddle to the kayak. With practice, re-entry is usually not hard, but keeping a swamped kayak stable while fastening the spraydeck and pumping is tricky without the fixed outrigger for stability. If there is no way to attach the paddle in the outrigger position on a kayak you are borrowing (We hope you will install one on your own kayak if a way to do it isn't there already) a self rescue can still work, but it is more difficult. The Paddle Float Rescue is done similarly to the Mariner Self Rescue just described, but a hand, body weight, or foot must hold the paddle perpendicular to the kayak at all times while the other hand holds the paddle against the deck and back of the cockpit. Hook a foot up on the paddle near the RESCUE FLOAT PLUS and then pull your chest over the paddle onto the back deck. Next put one foot in the cockpit. Making sure you have control of the paddle with your hands move the other foot off the paddle and into the cockpit as well. Continue as before with the outrigger rescue until seated in the kayak. Now lay the paddle across the coaming in front of yourself and lean to the float side with your forearm holding the paddle shaft down. This leaves both your hands somewhat free to try to fasten the spraydeck. The hand on the paddle float side can hold the pump while your forearm holds the shaft over the cockpit. The other hand works the pump handle.
On kayaks with higher decks it may be easier to start by climbing up over the stern while holding the paddle perpendicular to the kayak and then pivoting around (to enter the cockpit feet first) above the paddle shaft. all the while keeping the paddle in place by holding the shaft with one foot then the other and finally one hand at a time. Alternately, you can crawl forward from the stern until your hips are over the cockpit at which point you lift your chest up and drop your butt into the seat. Your feet will still be hanging over the sides but with your low center of gravity, the paddle float for bracing, and with a long enough cockpit you should be able to get them aboard.hold
THE FLOAT ROLL
The RESCUE FLOAT PLUS can be used by hand to lever yourself upright. If you can't yet Eskimo roll try practicing this: Place the mostly inflated RESCUE FLOAT PLUS on the back deck under bungees or lines in such a way that you can easily pull it free with one hand when you are upside down in the cockpit after a capsize. Have the hook at the end of the shock cord clipped to something so if the RESCUE FLOAT PLUS slips from its attachment on deck or out of your grasp (in use) it can be easily retrieved. Once upside down with the float in your hand, press your back against the back deck (so you won't have as much weight to lift). Reach as far out to the side as you can and try to pull the float down into the water while holding your paddle with the other hand as a counterbalance over and across the kayak to the other side. Not strong enough? Then try placing your other hand (with the paddle in it unless the paddle is securely tethered) on top of the float and push it down with that hand as you pull it down with the other. Make sure you right the kayak first by bending at the waist and lifting the cockpit rim with your lower knee or thigh, before lifting your torso from the water (some call this a hip snap). Remember to lie against the back deck throughout.
It has never taken anyone we have taught more than two tries to succeed. However if youre not successful with this in a real capsize the inflated RESCUE FLOAT PLUS can still be used like a pillow to hold your head out of the water while you wait for assistance in your kayak (or while putting the float on to the paddle for more leverage in rolling back upright). It may seem difficult but, if your spraydeck is on, staying in the kayak like this can save a lot of tiring pumping or bailing later. Some kayakers that haven't become proficient at the Eskimo roll store their RESCUE FLOAT PLUS inflated and easily available under a shock cord on the front or back deck so they can do a float roll if they capsize. The shock cord is tucked under the float and is hooked to something on the kayak to insure against its loss. The shock cord is long enough so it should not need to be detached to use the RESCUE FLOAT PLUS for any of the rescues described. The snap hook can be removed with one hand by gripping the snaphook between your thumb and two fingers and twisting your wrist inward to open the snap gate against the cord it is clipped to. Practice this a few times now so you can both fasten the snaphook and unfasten it with one hand.LEARNING THE ESKIMO ROLL
Eskimo rolling is the best method of self-rescue and we believe kayakers should endeavor to become expert at it. The RESCUE FLOAT PLUS can aid in learning the Eskimo roll. However, because its round shape can't sweep through the water as quickly as the paddle does in a real roll it is better to use a flat float attached to the paddle blade when learning to roll. If a flat float is not available, inflate only the upper side of the RESCUE FLOAT PLUS to leave the underside of the blade flat. With either, lie back on the back deck and reach out and back with the float on the blade. Swing the float forward, keeping the blade level with the water's surface, in a wide arc. At the same time capsize towards the float as you continue to sweep the float forward until it touches the kayak. Next simply reverse the motion and right yourself. The capsize becomes the wind-up for the roll. You can learn the roll in small steps by going a bit further into the wind-up each time before reversing it and finishing the roll. Once you get the feel of rolling, speed up the sweep as you right yourself. Don't forget to right the kayak by bending your waist and lifting with your lower knee before you try to lift your torso and finally your head out of the water while laying back on the rear deck. It helps to have an instructor help shape your roll until every thing looks right and is done quickly. Then remove the float and try to roll a few times. If you are unsuccessful use the float for more practice. The float allows you to practice success rather than failure.
The RESCUE FLOAT PLUS can be set up in the outrigger position using your paddle (or better still your spare paddle) to provide stability to a tippy kayak. This may be helpful for fishing, diving, making repairs, or any other pursuit where a lot more stability is desired. Alternately, two RESCUE FLOATS can be used, one on each end of a paddle to make outriggers that add an immense amount of stability to a kayak. Two FLOATS could be very useful if one paddler in a group using single kayaks was seriously incapacitated. If the spare paddle and two floats can be attached across the deck far enough back to not to interfere with paddle strokes, you can still paddle and your kayak will be difficult to capsize in any condition short of surf. With many kayaks you can paddle or tow this setup with very little additional drag (if you keep the kayak near level so neither of the floats is dragging in the water). If your fastening method can prevent the paddle shaft from easily rotating you can use the spare in the unfeathered position and blow up only the top half of each float to keep them higher off the water for less drag when paddling. Fasten it so the inflated half is down to increase initial stability if that is desirable when not or towing.
DRY GEAR BAG OR CAMERA BAG
One of the plusses of the RESCUE FLOAT PLUS is that it can be used as a dry bag for wallet and spare clothes or even (inflated) as a protective camera bag. For the most water resistant seal: the top of the bag should be rolled down five folds or more before bending it back and clipping the buckle. Warning: If the inside of the bag has gotten wet with salt water, rinse it thoroughly in fresh water and turn it inside out to dry completely before using it as a camera bag.
CAMERA BAG RESCUE
Because we don't want anyone to be faced with the choice of not using the bag to perform a self-rescue in order to save a camera, there is an alternate method of attaching the RESCUE FLOAT PLUS to the paddle that doesn't require opening the bag. The shock cord can be wrapped several times around the throat of the paddle and hooked to itself. Attached this way the cord will cinch around the shaft preventing it from sliding up the shaft while the rescue is performed as before. To insure that the paddle stays as level as possible in the outrigger position, roll up the excess cord (and bag) by rotating the paddle (in the direction that cinches the hook) until the inflation chambers are held against the shaft. If this unwinds under a load clip the buckle around the paddle shaft as well or clip the base of the shock cord into the hook.
The RESCUE FLOAT PLUS might serve as an emergency splint. The pocket for the paddle blade tip can be slit open to accommodate an arm or leg.
The RESCUE FLOAT PLUS can be used as an inflatable cushion, pillow or backrest. It has been used to help brace disabled paddlers into a paddling position in kayaks. If you discover any other uses please let us know.
A puncture in the RESCUE FLOAT PLUS is rare because they are made out of super tough 200 denier nylon coated with many layers of tough urethane (like the best inflatable life vests). Even if you puncture one chamber you still have a fully functional rescue device superior to the other paddle float devices that have only one chamber (or are also often made from vastly inferior vinyl or nylon/vinyl material). You should however repair it as soon as possible to regain the back up reliability inherent in two chambers. A urethane patch kit is available through many outdoor shops selling self-inflating camp mats or quality air mattresses. If the leak is near a corner or edge of a chamber it can be sealed by using the tip of a hot iron to fuse the urethane layers together in just that area. Before each kayak trip inflate the RESCUE FLOAT PLUS to check that it is still airtight and fully functional. Inspect it and check that the knots at this time as well.
PLEASE TRY THESE DIFFERENT SET-UPS NOW USING YOUR KAYAK, PADDLE, AND RESCUE FLOAT PLUS. BE SURE TO PRACTICE THESE RESCUES IN THE WATER BEFORE RELYING ON THEM. THE RESCUE FLOAT PLUS IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR LEARNING PADDLING AND CAPSIZE PREVENTION SKILLS. BACK UP YOUR SKILL AT PADDLING AND THESE RESCUES BY ALSO CARRYING SIGNALING AND LOCATING DEVICES SUCH AS FLARES, SMOKE, FLASHING BEACON, SIGNAL MIRROR, EPIRB, VHF RADIO OR CELLULAR PHONE.
ęcopyright 1986 &
1998 Matt Broze
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