Safety First

This last weekend I attended an Advanced White Water Safety & Rescue course up in North Wales. Booked through by Tom Parker and coached by Chris Eastabrook. It’s a while since I’ve done one of these and the BCU have expanded the old one from one to two separate courses since then. The advanced course is billed as follows.

This new 2 day course is designed for those working in steeper and harsher environments than the WWSR above caters for – 5* paddlers, Coaches or just those folks into their steep stuff. Drawing from reflection on incidents worldwide, the course helps equip you to cope with advanced river environments.

The first day was spent on the Trywerryn and the second in the Aberglaslyn Gorge. Over the weekend we refreshed old skills and learnt new ones; paddling, communication, swimming and rope work. This was all aimed towards reaching the afternoon of the Sunday where we practised applying the techniques we’d been learning in realistic scenarios on the river.

As I said it been a while since I did one of these courses, to long, and it was good to refresh my memory, learn new skills and practice. If there where to things that I feel I took away from the weekend it was that:

a) There’s no one approach to anything and thinking through the various pros and cons of different tools and techniques before an incident occurs is the key to being prepared. And what seems like the best approach in one place on a particular day might not be at a different time in a different place, don’t assume there’s an identi-kit solution or approach to safety.

b) Practice. Two days after the course everything is clear and fresh in my mind. In a months time I’m sure it’ll of faded a little and in a years time… Whether it’s hitting your mark first time with a throw line or making sure you can remember how to rig a z-drag first time requires practising now and again.

It was a great, if exhausting, weekend. A very useful and well delivered course that I can recommend to anyone who’s paddling white water.

Photos here:

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