Competition (International) Hurley Classic
16 March 2020
Concerns if things go wrong; distress signals If you get into trouble, you should have the group with you to help. Don’t be afraid to say if your back hurts, or if you have a blister that really stings. The instructor carries a minimal first aid kit on all trips and has a more substantial kit in the car. It’s not a bad idea to bring a couple of band-aids the first few trips. While there are sixteen internationally recognized distress signals in the water, some are impractical in a kayak and are only really observed on sea water. The following are appropriate for kayakers to use: 1. blow your whistle continuously. 2. blow your whistle in S-O-S (three short, three long, three short …---…) 3. raise and lower both arms together 4. red flare/shell stars. You can buy small flare guns and flares at marine stores. Check they are not expired. Don’t expect the Coast Guard to rescue you from a lake! Someone may see your flare, however, and alert the police.
Other distress signals require specialist equipment that doesn’t do well if it gets wet or takes up a lot of space, such as a radio telegraph, radio telephone, VHF radio, (which also require a license); flags N over C, or square shape over round; or black square over black circle against orange background; fire on board; an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indication Response Beacon); foghorn sounded continuously; smoke or dye marker; red parachute flare, gun fired at 1 min. intervals. You should know these in case you come across someone else needing help.
Some additional safety items the instructor carries, which you should have if you plan a trip, include a tow line and means of attaching both ends; a small anchor; a compass; a waterproof (working) flashlight, and a spare paddle. Whilst some people carry cell phones, they are difficult to waterproof and reception of a signal on the water is unreliable. To tow another kayaker, bear in mind the following: 1. the tow line should be at least 20’ long (over twice the length of your kayak) This is so that the kayaks can be on the same wave phase and the towed kayak doesn’t “catch up” the tower. Too short a line is hard work for the tower because the towed kayak slews about from side to side a lot more than on a longer tow line. For knots, see chapter seven.