I was kind of freaked that I made one post about water safety and rescue, and have to follow it with a news story about a missing rafter who drowned. That had me checking my personal gear and I found during a second check of my gear that some straps were frayed enough for me to lose my PFD in similar circumstances. So my trip to the river is postponed and I’ll be shopping for the best PFD I can afford. Secondly, It turned up that the victim was hung up on a rope that the rescuers had to cut. I’m good there as I carry three knives with lanyards, capable of cutting nylon lines of that type. I’m not Monday morning quarter backing here at all. But, anyone who kayaks the river was hit with disbelief that anyone drowned in Swimmers Rapids. Swimmers is full of rock strainers but you can avoid getting hung up in them. But when you add a loose rope here, Oww. My purpose here today is to admonish ya’ll to check your gear. Fix any deficiencies. It is too late to save one individual, but it isn’t to late to prevent any more injuries here. The river is heartless and uncaring and will snag the unwary. And please don’t be like my one neighbor who thinks that 10 dollar pfd’s are adequate to the task. If you are using 10 dollar tie on pfd’s from wallmart in white water. You are a future casualty. I carry two of those in my boat to throw to someone who has nothing. Otherwise they just add to the clutter in the rear compartment. White will rip your clothes off in the wrong instances, what do you think it will do to a tie on pfd. Spend some money and get a fitted buckle on type. The only good thing I can report on that neighbor is they only go out at low water, just so they can brag they done the Lower Yough. I think his kid is the smarter of the two as he at least wears a hockey helmet on these trips. It’s a freeking rock garden out there and Dad goes bare headed. The kid I’m sure inherited his smarts from his Moms side.
Ok, Now here’s where we say PFD’s don’t fall off by themselves. They loosen up and fall off. It is up to the user to keep cinching it back up. Snug will do it. This is not sports wear, it is safety wear and it only works if used correctly. Another thing is if you go out in harms way as often as I do get some leg straps for the PFD or make them, It will stop even a loose pfd from slipping over your head. If you want to cry cheap, well, it’s your money well spent or your life. Which is up to you. Proper preparations will only enhance your trip down the river. Invest in safety, it pays the best dividends.