Scoop rescue variation

Plastic is fine too.
I was thinking fiberglass as opposed to wood or skin on frame. Reason I specified fiberglass is the coaming has plenty of lip to grab onto and is solid, for pulling yourself up and over. Or alternatively there are probably perimeter deck lines to grab onto.

Plastic would have same. If I had thought of that I would have said fiberglass or plastic. Or another way to say it is, not SOF or wood without deck lines.


Flipper kick.
Nothing wrong with the leg hook method. I was practicing rescues in some pretty rough conditions recently and the guy rescuing me suggested I do a leg hook. I declined as I’m solid on getting onto the back deck and figured I’d go with what I know best.

Wondering if you learned the back deck mount as follows. Place forearms on the back deck. Grab the away deck line with your hands. Arch your back and lift your legs to the surface. Give one good strong flipper kick as you lift yourself on to the back deck. Timing is important. You’re pushing your torso up with the flipper kick at the same time that you are pressing your torso up with your arms.


I like it, a lot.
For conscious paddler. I’ll have to try that. Thanks.


You mean from there…

– Last Updated: Nov-13-07 8:02 AM EST –

And while you are right about the practice part, and using easier methods to save strength like the heel hook, all of which I advocate and do, you are being a little optimistic for older or heavier women. Prior to this summer, we had regular rescue practice at least once every two weeks over the summer on a local small lake and found out a lot about what did and didn't work for young people, older people, rec boats and an assortment of gimpy knees.

One thing - you seem to indicate that the normal position for an assisted rescue is for the rescuee to have their legs down. Particularly for women, the swimmer should be getting instructions to do a fast scissor kick from a horizontal position on the water. And reach across to the rescuer's deck rigging for more advantage, if they can make it.

We've messed with the ladder approach - your second idea. The response from women as to whether it saved any strength over the heel hook is mixed at best. The ones who had little trouble with any other rescue found it easy, the ones who were challenged with the traditional assisted forms also found that to be wearing by the time they had actually gotten back into the cockpit. Thus far the heel hook seems to be the least effort, though it requires more claiity on the part of the rescuer to keep left and right heels correct.

We have verified that a really heavy guy being the swimmer in the ladder approach with a small person doing the rescue isn't always a great idea unless the rescuer is very comfortable being off balance.

The other thing that can be more important for women than for men is to tell the swimmer to think about pulling the boat under them rather than getting up on the back deck. I don't have this particular issue, but for women who are particularly well-endowed the combination of the PFD and their own anatomy means that the pull over the back deck has to be more definitive than a scrawny longer torso guy can often get away with.

Face down
With my limited medical knowledge I’m not sure but maybe face down is a better position for an unconscious person, maintaining airway etc.

Any medics out there care to comment.

Practice and variation all good,…
… and all needed. Given basic attention, these things can become pretty simple and reliable for most. But not all…

Celia’s post hints at an unpopular aspect in all this: general fitness (and general water comfort) level appropriate for kayaking (having it and/or getting it BEFORE getting in over your head).

Calm water paddling may not require much in the way of fitness, but it does require some if it is to be done safely. Enough to do basic rescues/recoveries - preferably the ability to do solo recoveries with assisted as a fall-back/convenience when available.

Some people simply can’t do basic rescues even with unlimited variation and good paddlers covering for them. Many more don’t know/haven’t checked. Many people who fit these descriptions paddle anyway. They would be better served pursing other activities - and maybe eventually getting back to paddling as their general fitness improves enough to be able to do these things.

I know most here love to be all inclusive and saying paddling is great for everyone - and it is for most - but it’s not for everyone. Selling it as such puts those people who are in deep doo-doo of capsized, and those who paddle with them, at needlessly increased risk. It also leads elements of the industry on a path of continually lowering the bar, raising gear/gadget dependence, and promoting an attitude of overlooking the obvious to package kayaking for mass consumption.

Lucky not too many in the really unfit/infirm category are lining up to paddle. The problem is more about the definitions of how these things are defined slipping so people on the edges don’t question it…

Be careful out there, and be honest and direct with those you interact with on the water. Great job to all who help others with these things! It helps us all.

Not wood? Not SOF?
Not getting it. Differences yes, but all minor and none that should preclude scoop or leg hook techniques. Most composite boats deck lines do not extend around the cockpit area anyway.

“Wood” kayaks ARE composites - and can be outfitted the same way - so I wont even go there.

Many SOF are outfitted differently - but still tend to have strong lines (not flimsy bungee) in front and behind cockpit - and do provide places to grab (often not even needed as the hard chines and other features also assist) and their coamings CAN be pulled on.

Normal entry in many SOF is a lot like these recoveries! R&R is like this on your side or inverted (self assisted/unassisted scoop). If it works without a helper…

Coaming strong enough?
I was thinking that owners of SOFs especially, and maybe wood strip, didn’t want to be pulling too hard laterally on the coaming. OK for re-enter and roll or scoop, but maybe not hook where you hook your away leg inside the coaming and grab the far side of the coaming and pull yourself up.

Also not a good lip around the outside of the coaming to grab onto with the hand. If perimiter deck lines, then maybe could grab that, just behind the cockpit.

That was my thinking anyway. Good to know hook rescue works fine with SOFs and wood, if that’s the case. You’ve built them, so I’m happy to stand corrected.


Depends on the builder…
… but more so on the technique. Coaming is a bad thing to abuse on any kayak.

If righting the kayak with a paddler in it, rather than pulling one side of kayak up - force might be better applied pushing opposite side down! Neither really force really needs to be via coaming. SOF gunwales are plenty strong for that - and easier to get purchase on than rounder slipperier composites.

For getting in/out (assisted or R&R solo) no need for really aggressive pulling on anything. My coaming can take that and more (and is lightly built - but still means laminated oak), and it’s a logical contact point when doing some things, but I could also do R&R without holding the coaming at all and just use the deck lines, masik, sides, etc.

T variations
I really like the leg hook but I think it can be difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t practiced it. I have seen people who couldn’t do the slide up on the backdeck T-rescue do the hook easily and even do it as a solo paddlefloat rescue. On the other hand it can be difficult for some rescuers to hold the boat upright because of the torque (although I think it could be good practice to get them to really commit to holding the boat).

I also think that learning to swim up onto the back deck like a seal is a good thing to emphasize.

Stirrups have pros and cons IMO but in this particular instance I think it would have been slower (and I didn’t have one along - shame on me).