2010 03 13: CIWW Rescue Symposium

Cardiff International White Water organised a rescue symposium comprising of a full day of activities covering pins, entrapments, throw line rescues, kayak rescues, swimming in white water, live-bait, etc. Particpants could select 4 activities during the day, two in the morning and two in the afternoon, including lunch of bread and soup, all for the reasonable price of 40. With 50 booked on and many more turned away, it was a roaring success, hopefully with more to come, as practising make perfect sense!

I elected to do [1] swimming in white water, [2] swimmer rescues, [3] kayak rescues, and [4] live-bait.

Swimming in white water

It was a sunny day but the water was very cold so my dry-suit paid its way. With other's wearing semi dry and wet-suits and shivering within minutes, I felt the cold but soon warmed up when we started working. We used the bottom jet to practise swimming with, against, and across a current, using defensive and aggressive techniques. It's much harder than it looks and extemely tiring. I was kn****ered, after 20 mins and this was the first activity of the day!

Swimmer rescues

Practised throwing throw-lines, acting as prime rescuer and back-up, letting out line to ease the shock to the swimmer and stop them submerging in the flow, swinging them into eddies downstream. Again, tiring and harder than it looks, especially when the swimmer is in the middle of the 8 cumecs current.

Kayak rescues

Worked in three's, around the bottom jet. Each took it in turns to be vitim, kayak rescuer, or swimmer rescuers.

Live bait

The best exercise of the day. We worked further up the course, in the middle part of the lower section - nice and sunny, with some challenging current and eddies. Basically, the live-bait is someone with a line attached to a harness in their BA and a second rescuer is someone on the bank holding the line, the live-bait then lanuches out into the current to grab the unconcious victim as they float past. Easily missed and heavy to hang onto if you do succeed! Learned the benefits of a back-up holding on to you when on the bank when struggling to hold two bodies in the flow. One poor girl as rescuer on the bank, lost her grip on line and it ran across the arm of her dry suit and just burned a hole in it.

Attached is a video of my day, click the picture to watch.