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Paddling safety tips

Following the tragic death of Mark Feather off the East London coastline, NSRI has been asked for recommended safety precautions and tips on what to do if a search and rescue is needed.

surf ski

There is seldom one simple answer so we have put together suggestions that we believe should be taken into account when a paddle is to be undertaken.

Weather and sea conditions can change fast and paddlers should factor in that they need to stay afloat and warm for whatever the rescue period is going to be. Even with emergency beacons and flares, a rescue could take a few hours, depending on place, conditions and accuracy of information.

It is important for paddlers to know that there are three phases to a rescue operation: initiation, general search and specific location of the paddler.

Basic safety:

It is very difficult to spot someone in the water – so please make sure that we can see you. Often we only get one glimpse of a bright colour – especially in strong wind conditions.

Paddle in a buddy system.

Wear a brightly coloured PFD

Wear a brightly coloured rash vest ( lumo green or orange is best)

Have a cell phone in a waterproof bag ( test that you can use this in all conditions)

Use a leash from the ski’s foot straps to your body.

Know who to call for help and be sure that your family know who to call. Be sure that someone knows where you are and when you should return. And that they will call for help if this time is exceeded.

Have a signal flare (hand held are best) or pencil flares

Carry a reflector / mirror

Have a whistle that works when wet.

Have your name and landline number on your surf ski

Leave a card with your name and phone number ( cell and landline)  on your vehicle dashboard.

To read more, click here

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