Rescue Training at King Island

On Sunday 22 January 5 members from our club included a rescue training off King Island into their regular Sunday morning paddle. With a magnificent high tide, great weather and favourable winds, the paddle across to King Island was very pleasant.

Upon arrival any unnecessary and/or loose items were left high on the beach, well above the high tide mark, as next on the agenda was capsizing boats just off the beach and practising getting back in. First members took turns in practising getting back into their boats without assistance from others by sliding up the rear of the kayak. This turned out to be not so easy, especially with the sea kayaks, as life jackets and clothing easily got caught on the rear hatch. However, everyone managed to do it and then each practised getting in and out several times to get the hang of it.

Once everyone felt somewhat comfortable doing that, they practised getting back into their boats from the side next. This requires a 2nd person to come alongside to stabilise the kayak while the first person gets back in. The technique is quite straightforward: lie in the water on your back with your feet facing towards the front of the kayak. Swing your outer leg onto the boat and hook it into the cockpit. Then grab across the cockpit with both hands and pull yourself up onto the boat, pushing off with the leg that is still in the water and pulling/stabilising yourself with the leg that is already in the cockpit. Then once you’re lying on the boat on your tummy, facing the rear of the boat, pull the other leg up as well and then slowly turn your body so you’re sitting up in the kayak and are facing the right way. What looked incredibly difficult turned out to be quite doable, and afterwards everyone agreed that this was an easier way to get back into the boat than sliding up from the rear.

After about 1.5 hrs of practising rescues, getting very wet and having fun, it was time to head back to the club. To top off a beautiful morning the wind had changed direction and granted the group a smooth paddle back to the club with once again winds from behind.