Scoop rescue variation

Today I tried a rescue variation on a very tired paddler in some hefty winds. She was hanging onto the bow of my boat after her first for-real swim and basically said no way could she do a standard T rescue. Her Pigmy didn’t have deck lines and I didn’t want her letting go. So I had her do a scoop from in between the two boats.

In the past when I’ve practiced scoop I’ve worked the person in on the outside of the boat but this worked really well. She slid her legs in, I tilted it up a little then she lifted her butt in using my boat for support. It’s like the T-rescue where you enter from between but she was mostly in and didn’t have far to lift because her legs were already in and the boat was partly on its side.

That being said, she was tiny, her stitch and glue boat was light, and I had someone else rafted, supporting my boat. Still I want to play with this with someone heavier. I think it would be quite do-able. For what it’s worth, we really didn’t have trouble with boats crashing together although the waves were only about a foot.

Anyone have thoughts on scoops - or other options for this situation? I’m not sure a stirrup would have helped that much and it was really nice to just get her in her boat without her having to do much of the work.

Call it what you want…

– Last Updated: Nov-10-07 8:35 PM EST –

... but it sounds like a pretty standard between boat assisted re-entry to me.

Needing a "scoop" make me think more seriously incapacitated than "tired" and a person not able to help much, if at all.

Maybe I'm missing something?

Boat on side
Boat on it’s side half full of water slide the legs in makes a scoop in my book.

why coudln’t she do a t-rescue?
was it just the lack of deck lines? If so it sounds like she needs to add them as she ventures into bigger conditions. If not, sounds like she need to work on her rescues as she ventures into bigger conditions.

Being a gurl…
For the suggestion that the paddler needs to work on her rescues - no slight intended but guys do keep forgetting that women have more butt to lift or pull over a boat than males and proportionately shorter arms and torso. Granted no deck lines complicates things, as well as possibly the width of the boat in question. But even in a woman with decent strength and gym time the distance from a little tired to too much so to get over the boat on the first shot is a shorter road.

I do wish that Pygmy kits came with perimeter rigging as an assumption - it doesn’t seem to be the case from the ones I’ve seen. That always seems to go on after someone’s been out and capsized or taken a rescue class.

As to the rescue, if the boat was on its side and she had to slide into it feet first I’d call it a scoop. I am sure a purist could argue about it.

My only comment on the good or bad of it is that, with the cockpit facing the rescuer, it’s a strength move. Great where it works, but I am near certain that if I have to get a guy in who was larger than myself I’d have to be on the other side of the boat to get the leverage. I’ve done this with larger (and not entirely still) guys, and it seemed to me that I needed all the mechanical advantage I could get from being able to pull the hull slightly beyond vertical towards myself so it was closer to its uprighting moment. I doubt I could push a boat away from towards that point in water.

A real rescue

– Last Updated: Nov-11-07 10:03 AM EST –

Real rescues with real people with no training is the best teacher. A few of us in CT volunteer each year to guard at a kayak demo weekend. What great practice and fun. Sometimes the ruscuees are walking on their hands and knees on the back deck getting it. Sliding in backwards into the cockpit etc. Crawling across two boats etc. If it works it works. The only danger is the paddlers charging in to get to do the rescue. We jokingly give out points. Sometimes you see a paddler following a nervous probable candidate - all ready to claim the victim.

If you ever want to improve your rescues and manuvering skills volunteer as a life guard at a demo / symposium. Some people lay there patiently and some freak out - but you always have other paddlers to gang up on the rescue and usually the water is not rough - although one year we had surf on the lake. You also get to rescue canoes which is a lot easier than rec boats with no bulkheads.

She’d been slogging into the wind and was pooped. Not a huge amount of strength to start. When she said she couldn’t do it without even trying, I went for plan B.

mechanical advantage
Yeah, I wonder about the mechanics with someone big. I think you would have to really reach and push on the far side of their boat. Should be fun to play with.

Pygmy Lifelines…
Been thinking about putting them on my AT14 for a long time. It’s often a loaner which means that I will be the one doing the rescue. Those varnished boats do get slippery when wet.

Fun stuff at a demo

– Last Updated: Nov-11-07 9:52 PM EST –

I did a rescue that ended up looking pretty cool, entirely by accident. A kid had been happily leaning the heck out of huge cockpit rec boat and capsized. He was plenty comfortable in the water, but the rescue was still a better for show thing to do than having him swim the short distance to the dock.

Because the no bulkheaded rec boat was being a bear to handle, I told him to go around to my stern lest the darn thing slip and whack him while he was hanging off my bow. Apparently I used the word "on" - didn't realize it at the time. I did notice that when I was taking my Vela over to give me some leverage with the water laden rec boat, she was feeling a little more sensitive than usual.

I didn't get it until I had gotten all the water out of the boat that I was going to get and turned around to tell himn to move up alongside so I could get him back in. He was sitting upright on the back of my boat and looking me in the eye.

Anyway, it sure simplified his getting back into the boat. Better yet, most of the folks on shore thought I had planned to have the kid fully climb up like that and thought it was very cool.

I did learn a lesson from that. If you want a 10 year old kid to hang off your boat rather than climb up on it, you need to be precise with your terminology.

oh, that’s not good. i haven’t seen many boats without perimeter lines, but when i do i cringe. the importance of good perimeter lines that you can get your hands under is crucial.

a highly regarded and published paddling professional i know, used to go into a kayak shop and twang the CD perimeter lines. there was a running gag when CD was here in Victoria, that the guys in the factory would compete to see who could string them the tightest. in disgust, this paddler, would go into the shops and bring an Xacto knife and cut them to prove a point!

Funny story.
Heard a funny story during a trip leader class.

Beginner lady says before the trip, “I’m afraid if I flip over that I won’t be able to get back in my boat.”

Professional guide says, "Don’t worry. If you go over, I’ll have you back upright in less than two minutes.

During the trip the lady goes over.

Guide paddles toward her expecting her to come out of her boat. She doesn’t come out. He sprints hard. She still doesn’t come out. He does a hand of God. She sits up and calmly looks at him like everything’s fine.

Guide says, “How come you didn’t come out of your boat?”

Lady says, “You said you could have me back upright in less than two minutes. So I figured I’d wait.”

Guide commented to the class, “I wish my wife trusted me as much she did!”

So true on the exact wording. Sometimes the rescued will be hyper attentive and hang on every word. This can be a good thing, of course.


Good job.

– Last Updated: Nov-12-07 2:03 AM EST –

First of all, congrats on getting her back in her boat quickly. That's the name of the game. Hard to argue with what worked.

I probably would have had the swimmer go to the outside, so I could just grab a PFD shoulder strap, bring her torso close to either the front or back deck, and lean away to pull her up. Especially if a bigger paddler.

If it were a fiberglass boat, I might have asked her to try a leg hook entry. Swimmer hooks their outside leg into the cockpit, then grabs the far side of the coaming or a deck line, and pulls themselves up and over into the cockpit. I can lower the coaming into the water a bit if they need the help. I know a short, not particularly slim woman who does this entry very easily.

Again, hard to argue with what worked. Just tossing out other ideas. Let us know how it works if you try the inside scoop with a larger paddler.

Thanks for posting this.


Congrats on a job well done
Any rescue that works, is a good one in my boat. I’m not sure I would want to do it that way, only because of the mechanical advantage thing that has been discussed.

Another option for a paddler who can’t/won’t do a standard T rescue, might be to use a stirrup. I always carry one to help those who can’t climb back up onto the back deck. Put it around their combing before you start the rescue. It’s amazing how people without the upper body strength to hoist themselves onto the back deck, are able to just step up onto it.

Also, the leg up rescue seems to be very easy for people who can’t get up onto the back deck.

Again, congrats on a job well done. If it worked, you did the right thing.

Cutting Lines???
What point does that prove other than the cutter should be locked up somewhere and not walking the streets?

Many builders prefer minimum rigging or no rigging at all. It just takes away from that near perfect mirror like finish they worked so hard to achieve.

My Easiest Rescue…

– Last Updated: Nov-12-07 9:16 AM EST –

Was on a tour when a thin athletic girl went over. She was one of those that just knew the ocean was full of sharks just waiting for someone to fall in.
I barely got a hand on her boat when she just flipped herself back up into the cockpit.
She had a lot of pumping out to do but at least the sharks didn't get her.

Scoop rescue variation
Useful variation I discovered on the scoop rescue. Instead of struggling to get the swimmers butt on the seat in the kayak and holding them in low centre of gravity position, get them in to the kayak facing backwards face down/towards the kayak and hugg the kayak, rolling them up seems to be as easy or easier, when upright get them to roll over in the cockpit as per other commonly used rescues.

Seemed to be a lot easier for a lot of reasons. Easier getting the swimmer in, easier getting them upright(for me atleast), more comfortable for the swimmer, possible safer from medical point of view (airway, spine etc.) but I’ll let the medical professionals comment on that.

Be interested to hear what others think.

with an unconscious person
manipulating them into a face up position after they are in the kayak is much more difficult than the ‘traditional’ scoop rescue.

I have tried this several times and the rescuer and the victim. It is easier to get someone into the kayak when they are facing the kayak at the start of the rescue. If they are awake they can rotate themselves fairly easily. Trying to rotate a limp person is a real pain in the butt. It is much easier to start with an unconscious person facing away.

on Being a Gurl (or Girl)
If shorter arms and torso, combined with less upper body strength makes rescues more difficult then that is all the more reason to practice rescues. Most of the time it is technique, not strength that matters. If it is a matter of physical strength the compensate by modifying the rescue. An extension of that would be to modify/create ‘Gurl-Friendly’ rescues.

Here is one I use a lot: The standard assisted rescue. Water has been dumped and the kayaks are now parallel facing bow to stern. If the victim can’t pull themselves over the cockpit have them pull themselves over the stern of their kayak (like a cowboy rescue). Also, it is easier for someone to kick their legs behind them so their entire body is floating on the surface (horizontally) and then pull themselves forward onto the kayak. As opposed to the common way of being vertical in the water and pulling oneself up. Anyway… as the rescuer you slide their kayak so that their rear hatch is even with your cockpit. Then have them get on at the rear hatch or further back (kayaks with rudders make this part really difficult and dangerous). Once they are on their rear deck they just cowboy (or shimmy -sp?) along until they are at their cockpit. Remember that in this position you as the rescuer are very stable, as is their boat, and you should encourage them to use your boat as much as they need.

If that doesn’t work you can try this… while in the X-position of the rescue (having emptied the water) turn their kayak right-side up. Their stern should be fairly low in the water. Have them ‘cowboy’ onto their stern and work their way forward. As they are coming forward you are sliding their kayak off of yours and into the water. Doing this decreases the angle of their kayak making forward progress easier. Once they are fairly well onto their kayak you swing your bow around so you are parallel facing bow to stern. Proceed with the rescue as normal from their.

Why Fiberglass?
I have had trouble getting back into my boat the “traditional” way – probably combination of insufficient upper body strength and poor technique. (My legs sink even when I try to swim up on the deck.) The leg hook version works great for me. Just one question, why did you say you’d suggest that technique if the boat is “fiberglass”? Why wouldn’t it work with plastic?