Return to Boater Board

safety equipment

Home Page Forums Boater Board safety equipment

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
  • Author
  • #3892

    hey, i am a beginer paddler, i was jsut looking for sugestions on what safety equipment i should should carry (other than the standard helmet and pfd). is it worth to carry a knife? Ive seen a few guys with them on their pfd’s.



    knife, throw bag, first aid, carabiner(s), stern float bags (so your boat doesn’t become a 450lb torpedo if you swim haha).

    you should have the stuff or you are relying on the people you paddle with to carry it.


    Yes, as a beginner it is a good idea to carry a knife. When you are swimming, the people you are with may toss out a throwbag to you. If it goes wrong somehow, you definatey want a knife on you.


    Something that is even more important than all the gear is the knowledge of how to use it. Far too many people buy all the stuff and never get proper instruction on safe use. The basics being a throwbag (and whenever a rope is involved a knife) can end up ruining the day instead of saving it. Take an SRT course and you, and your paddling buds will be safer for it. It also depends on what kind of river you are starting on. Even ‘easy’ class II rivers have pin potential and therefore further training (rope work) may be required.

    Email me if you have any specific questions and I’ll try to help you out.

    Dan Caldwell


    …your brain.

    Get it trained!

    Do the SRT thing that Dan suggested, read everything you can get your hands on pertaining to safety, risk management and river rescue.

    Then go get the gear that you will know is correct for your types of paddling outings.

    I could tell you to get a knife and throw bag but maybe you paddle alone in huge water. Not much point taking a knife and rope for a long swim by yourself.

    As I almost always say, learn the answers for yourself cause our opinions are subjective to our own experiences and that could be very different from what your up to.


    Or buy a good river rescue book……if you cant afford or get to a course!

    Gary George

    SRT stands for Swiftwater Rescue Technician.

    There are many variations of this offered in the form of one, two or multi day courses.

    Couple hunnert bucks usually for the 2 day deal, worth every penny, half as much as a good paddle.

    Self rescue is the best first line of defense. That includes the roll. Telling you about this stuff is no substitute for you experiencing and learning it hands on.


    Do not start carrying a knife unless you know exactly what you are going to do with it. Being in a turbulent, unfamiliar environment with a sharp, unfamiliar tool in your hand is a good way to hurt yourself or another paddler. Most paddlers that are carrying a knife have never practiced with it and really have no idea how difficult it is to use safely.

    As Gary said, your best tool is your brain. Get it trained somehow and then make some informed decisions on what to carry and how to use it.


    [quote:2wh0fg7r]Get it trained somehow and then make some informed decisions on what to carry and how to use it.[/quote:2wh0fg7r]

    The other down-side of carrying saftey gear without knowing how to use it, is if something goes sour on the river, people will by reflex be looking to you (the dude with the fancy saftey gear) for help – assuming that if you dropped the $$ into the gear that you’ve also got the training to back it up.

    I took the SRT1 course with Esprit last summer, and it was well worth the time (3 days) and every penny!! It will help you be more wise with your choices, be an easier person to resuce, and prepare you with the knowledge of some fundamental concepts and equipment that really nobody should be on the river without have a firm grasp of.

    Also can’t say enough good stuff about how professional Esprit and their instructors are. check out: for some of the logistical details about the course. I’d recommend them to anybody in a hearbeat. (and no – I don’t work for them! :wink: )


    I have to disagree with Thom about the knife. I think everyone should carry one on their life jacket. Even with no training, if I’m tangled up in some rope or fishing line and drowning, I’d rather try and save myself and cut my way out of it. So maybe I cut my hand, sounds better than drowning!

    That being said, I would probably consider it a last resort. I have never had to use my knife nor have I ever seen anyone use one for river rescue related purposes.

    Agree with all the other comments, taking a course is the best plan.


    I’m going to jump in with a plug for the Esprit SRT courses as well. Did my SRT I and II with them about five or six years ago now. When I recert’ed with another company two years ago I was appalled at the poor quality of instruction and the lack of hands on practice. I ended doing alot of the teaching myself – I’m sure they hated me as a student. (Can’t comment on other SRT providers in the Ottawa area though.)

    I agree 100% with getting an education on how to use all of the safety/rescue equipment before purchasing it and would add that an SRT (or equivalent) is invaluable before even getting on the river at all – you should know how to self-rescue and not depend on others to have your back.

    One last thing. I like to throw a lighter, rescue blaket (those tin foil things) and some power gel in my Nalgene bottle FAK just in case things go WAY south. Any other good extras ppl throw in?


    awsome, thanks for the info….doest anyone know about " The advanced Rescue techniques schoool of Canada" they are out of Elora and i noticed they offer the SWT course.

    thanks again

    "Skippy":moqzmizi wrote:
    I have never had to use my knife nor have I ever seen anyone use one for river rescue related purposes.[/quote:moqzmizi]

    Only time I have ever had to use my knife was to cut prussiks out of an extra-throwrope to rig up a z-drag to pull a starburst off a strainer.


    Only time I ever used mine was to get the skin off some really old salami while having lunch at Pushbutton.


    …is second to none…paddled with them on two ‘week of rivers’ in Mexico and they are top notch. A group of us are taking their swift water rescue course on the May long weekend on the Ottawa. If you’re thinking you should take a course, now’s a good time and they have a great program…and no, I don’t work for them either…

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.