Rob Casey is the owner of SUP school Salmon Bay Paddle in Seattle, co-founder for the PSUPA and is the author of two paddling guides.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Safety Gear Tips for Paddling Trips, Rough Water and Instructors

Whether you're a paddling instructor, solo paddler or like to play in rough water offshore, being prepared means you'll have more fun and be better prepared if something goes wrong to you, a friend or a student.

Here's a few items I carry on me for a variety of paddling conditions both personally and as an instructor.  I vary the list of items depending on the type of water and/or paddling I'm doing. Everything can be stuffed in a small dry bag, can be carried in a waist mounted fanny bag and smaller bunches can be stored in a vest style life jacket.

Watch Video describing all the items and how to pack into dry bags.

Dry Bags..
I use SealLine, Outdoor Research and Seattle Sports bags. Seattle Sports has a few deck bags which are waterproof and can fit easily on my SUPs or kayak decks with proper outfitting.  I tend to double dry bag my items as dry bags can leak and some get condensation. I prefer bags with a daisy chain to attach with straps if securing directly to my board's outfitting.

Bag Contents..

Tool Kit:
- Extra fin screws
- Hex screw driver for thruster fins
- Multi-tool
- Foil tape for ding repairs. Sticks on when wet. Can double as an emergency reflector.
- Bungy and rope - For deck outfitting repair and PFD repair.
- Electrical tape - for PFD repair and other misc repairs.
- Super glue - Great for ding repair and can be used to close wounds (original use).

First Aid:
- Glucose - Energy bars and for diabetic emergencies, tube of cake frosting.
- Personal and student prescriptions. I store my migraine medicine in a waterproof box with silica gels.
- Neosporin for barnacle and coral cuts, open wounds, etc.
- Band aids for land use and duct tape to close wounds while on-water.
- Advil and Aspirin.
- Sunblock and/or zinc face cream.
- Electrolyte for dehydration. (not pictured)
- Chemical heat packets for warmth.
- CPR face shield.
*Students/Friends who are allergic to bee stings should bring their own epi-pen. You can carry their epi-pen to keep dry on-water but can't by law carry extra pens for friends/students on your own.  It's recommended that if an epi-pen is forgotten on shore that the person stays as well.

Safety / Rescue:
- Mylar thermal blanket for hypothermia. Also doubles as a bivy for sleeping bags.
- Rocket flares for signaling in an emergency. Sound extreme? I've used them in a rescues.
- Waterproof light for low light or night paddling. Keep in string if in PFD.
- Neoprene or similar hood to keep students warm.
- Mobile phone in a waterproof case attached to string.
- VHF radio attached to string.  ICOM makes a floating waterproof handheld VHF.
- Whistle (no bead inside).  Attach to PFD.
- Multi-Tool (listed above).
- Tow System for towing people to shore (or to rescue you).  Not pictured. We use NorthWater systems.

For remote areas:
- Spot Beacon or similar devices are a great solution to alerting emergency officials in case of an emergency evacuation.
- Solar re-chargers for communication devices.

Lifejacket (PFD):
Get one with external pockets to store stuff.  I use two from MTI which have adequate pockets but not so bulky they get in my way when paddling or climbing back on my board or boat. One has a quick release system to release a waist mounted leash or tow system in a hurry. Some CO2 life jackets have pockets for storage. A friend slides on a SealLine waterproof bag about 5" long onto his Co2 PFD waist belt to store his GoPro for boogie boarding freighter waves in Seattle.

Search this blog for more info on:
- Communication devices and Float Plan devices.
- Tow Systems.
- Choosing a wetsuit.
- Something you want to know more about? Give me a holler.

Overall bag contents

Seattle Sports bag on 11-6 board

Check out our SUP classes in Seattle - Beginning to advanced instruction including freighter and tug wave surfing, coastal surfing, rivers and racing, plus PSUPA Certification.








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