Apr 25 2017
If all of us paddlers were invariably sensible, we’d never venture onto the water alone. But we’re not always rational beings, are we? And taken all in all, that’s probably a very good thing. Still, there’s something to be said for setting up a few safety fences before we test the boundaries of unreason, and that’s what Tamia’s tried to do with her “ten commandments.”
All the experts agree: Sensible canoeists and kayakers never paddle alone. Yet who among us is always sensible? If the day dawns bright, warm, and welcoming, and if your work schedule leaves you free to march to the beat of your own drum, you can’t help feeling the tug of the woods and waters, can you? But what if it’s the middle of the week, and your paddling club doesn’t run mid-week trips? Or suppose that your usual partner is unable to join you. Do you resign yourself to a glorious day spent moping about indoors? I know I don’t. And I bet you don’t, either.
We all know the risks. When you’re on your own, you’ve no one to turn to for help when things go wrong. Yes, a cell phone may bring assistance. But then again, it may not. There are still places—not all of them remote—where cell phone coverage is spotty or nonexistent. And there’s also the “red face” factor. If you’ve shattered a leg or suffered a heart attack, you can put your misfortune down to bad luck. There’s no shame in coming up craps when fate rolls the dice, after all. But what if you just forgot to bring a map? Or spare batteries for your GPS? Do you want to see your name in the paper alongside that of a hiker who called for a chopper because her strapless heels gave her blisters? Probably not. It’s also worth noting that some park authorities now send bills to backcountry holiday-makers who log “frivolous” emergency calls, and it’s a safe bet this will become more common as wilderness rescue budgets get tighter. In other words, you could pay a very high price indeed for leaving your map behind on your desk.
OK. We know the dangers. But we still go it alone from time to time. Well, most of us do, at any rate. That being the case, what can we do to reduce avoidable risks to a minimum? I’m sure you have some ideas. So do I. And here they are: Tamia’s Ten Commandments… Read more…
Originally published at Paddling.com on April 25, 2017
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