A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Safety Before Waves

May 18, 2017
Emilie Phillips

This year we plan to take Isaac out kayaking on the ocean. He loved Tybee Island and he’s been asking to paddle the Maine coast. Before we can do that, we need to make sure he’s safe on the open water in bumpy conditions.

Thursday, we joined an AMC NH practice session on a local pond in Merrimack. We haven’t paddled with that group before. They are offering more sea kayaking trips this year than when we looked a few years ago. A rolling and rescues practice is a low risk context to check out a new group.

The pond session group was small. There was one leader, a co-leader, us, and two other participants. One of the participants was working on his roll. The other one had just bought his first solo boat and wanted to try it out in a safe context. I would have liked to have worked with the guy trying to improve his roll, but the leader split us out into a separate group. The leader was very cautious about a kid falling in the water. We were also the only ones practicing rescues.

After practicing a variety of rescue configurations, we all went for a paddle around Blueberry Island in the middle of the lake. It was a pleasant evening. All the trees and bushes were soft green. The air was warm, unlike the past month of 40-50F drizzle. And the evening sun was a beautiful golden color.

Compared to the group, Tyson and I had more technical expertise from our years paddling and training for our BCU 3 star. I wish some of the other participants would have practiced rescues to set an example for Isaac.

We figured out how to get Isaac back in the tandem after a capsize. I t-rescue the Bullitt and mostly empty it. Then Isaac hooks his leg in the cockpit. With a little push from an adult in the water or pull from an adult in a kayak, Isaac climbs the rest of the way in. Isaac tried to wet exit but he bailed early and the coaming fell on his head. We’ll have to practice more before we can go out on the ocean.

Tyson practiced rolling the Bullitt with the front cockpit empty. He said he missed one roll, but I saw him come up every time. Eventually, we want Isaac to hold on while Tyson attempts to roll. We have a long way to go before we get there. I paddled my Tahe and happily hand rolled both sides first try.

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