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Weirs, SUPs and Safety

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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Weirs, SUPs and Safety
    Posted: 30 Apr 23 at 4:22pm
Came across this MAIB report for a tragic SUP incident. Although I was aware that weirs were things to avoid, it wasn't until I read this report I realised just how dangerous the things are. I suppose as a sailor I've never had the need to go anywhere near one so maybe that's part of my ignorance.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/63906ea0d3bf7f328063e844/2022-13-Paddleboards-Report.pdf

The report itself is pretty mind boggling. Especially for someone like me who hasn't always welcomed the formality and regulation of RYA approved training.



Edited by JimC - 30 Apr 23 at 4:24pm
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Dakota View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dakota Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 23 at 4:55pm
There are loads of good  programs coming from with in the sport , the canoe union and sailing clubs ( Chelmarsh have a terrific paddleboard section )  that are helping  with the provision good quality training and just the simple ability of just being able to judge risk.
But itís still a new sport with some people coming at it from a none water sports background. My wife stopped going onto paddleboard fb pages because of the aggro she got for even suggesting wearing a BA and or a wetsuit would be a good idea in certain conditions from a tiny number of posters. 
I still do think the situation is improving .   


Edited by Dakota - 30 Apr 23 at 4:59pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote NicolaJayne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 23 at 5:20pm
Originally posted by Dakota

There are loads of good  programs coming from with in the sport , the canoe union and sailing clubs ( Chelmarsh have a terrific paddleboard section )  that are helping  with the provision good quality training and just the simple ability of just being able to judge risk.
But itís still a new sport with some people coming at it from a none water sports background. My wife stopped going onto paddleboard fb pages because of the aggro she got for even suggesting wearing a BA and or a wetsuit would be a good idea in certain conditions from a tiny number of posters. 
I still do think the situation is improving .   


Indeed  

my suggestion  that drysuit  trousers alone (i.e. without a dry top and /or a  better than 50N BA)  is a  less than safe option was  viewed with some scron by SUP types... 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dakota Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 23 at 5:57pm
A lot of time and effort is being spent in the education of the importance of things like BA if the situation requires it,  the correct clothes for different  situations and especially the importance of having a quick release waist leash . So hopefully sad events like the one above  will become a lot less common .
Especially with realisation with in the sport / pastime that proper training is beneficial to everyone.  


Edited by Dakota - 01 May 23 at 8:15am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 423zero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 23 at 8:30pm
They were all competent people too, not the sort you would normally worry about, just shows we shouldn't assume. Is there even a suggestion anywhere of how to get out of the backwash?

Edited to add, competent in general with sports, not SUP.

Edited by 423zero - 30 Apr 23 at 8:32pm
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Post Options Post Options   Quote NicolaJayne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Apr 23 at 10:27pm
Originally posted by 423zero

They were all competent people too, not the sort you would normally worry about, just shows we shouldn't assume. Is there even a suggestion anywhere of how to get out of the backwash?

Edited to add, competent in general with sports, not SUP.


portage the weir 

i get the impression from the MAIB report  that  it was basically an irretreviable  scenario once  in 

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Post Options Post Options   Quote turnturtle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 23 at 8:01am
Correct Nicola - never ride a weir, itís not a wave. a buoyancy aid would not help in this situation. They are deadly.

Iíve used my SUPs on rivers and canals, itís idyllic but it does require some understanding that is not covered by common sense, especially around river flow speed - it can be hard-ish to tell.

Iíve never once used a BA, thereís plenty of bouyancy in the craft, however I havenít sought white water stuff, where they are more appropriate - as is a helmet. If you fall off and get knocked out by a rock Ö.

Always use a lease, thatís a big observation of mine for the newbies who show up with a £200 inflatable from Aldi, along with PSI Ö and itís becoming increasingly apparent QR waist leashes are superior in most situations other than surf SUP in real waves.

I do think we should consider the huge benefit SUP is delivering to water sports community as a whole, but like all things in their infancy some guidance could be better. Personally Iím appalled that this incident was an organised trip Ö what were they thinking going anywhere near a weir?


Edit: re BAs and never wearing one, that was in reference to canal and rivers. Iíve SUPped with BA 4 times - twice on charter boats in Greece as was a stipulation of the captain/boat insurance, once from a beach rental where it was conditional of hire and finally once at Bowmoor - their pond, their rules Ö but they awfully cumbersome, chafe around the arm holes and frankly make you overheat far too quickly; they are not a general solution for this watersport, same as they werenít for windsurfing.


Edited by turnturtle - 01 May 23 at 8:35am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dakota Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 23 at 8:35am
Originally posted by 423zero

They were all competent people too, not the sort you would normally worry about, just shows we shouldn't assume. Is there even a suggestion anywhere of how to get out of the backwash?

Edited to add, competent in general with sports, not SUP.

Re the backwash , I think thatís the  problem there just isnít a way for a SUP or a a swimmer to get out of if. Maybe be a very skilled  white water canoeist might be able to power out if he can stay in the canoe? I donít really know . But anyone with that level of skill and knowledge would understand the risk and carry it round . As mentioned in the report , the local canoe club calls it out of bounds when the river is in this state. 😕


Edited by Dakota - 01 May 23 at 8:38am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 423zero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 23 at 9:19am
Only found one suggestion for people trapped, they should try to push off the bottom ( risk of getting feet entangled), or swim along the weir. No evidence that its ever worked though. Kayakers will shoot weirs for fun ! But they have had drownings, length of kayak needs to be double the washback, need to be going fast too. Article isn't recommending doing this, just reporting it does happen.

All above from kayaking Union.

Edited by 423zero - 01 May 23 at 9:32am
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Post Options Post Options   Quote turnturtle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 23 at 10:08am
SUPs aren't kayaks - there's good reason you don't see surfers dropping in on weirs. †And even then, it seems risk outweighs reward for kayakers too, given the sensible approach taken by the local club.

Further reading suggests the tour leader who survived was arrested but later released pending investigation for manslaughter.

A total tragedy that could probably be avoided, but a quick google would suggest CPS thresholds for criminal negligence were not reached... happy to be corrected if this is wrong.

Interesting observation - the three participants who perished were wearing buoyancy aids. †It is impossible to conclude that had they NOT worn them, they could have extracted themselves by one means or another.

However it is very possible to conclude Buoyancy Aids did absolutely nothing to prevent loss of life in this specific situation.

The fourth death was from the second group leader who only re-entered the water to try to save the others.

He died a hero, a very unfortunate one.

Edited by turnturtle - 01 May 23 at 10:10am
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