Tandem Rescue Practice by Robert Finlay of Kayak Lake Mead
"Self rescue is the most important skill you need on the water. Many kayakers concentrate on rolling, and that is fine. But someday you will miss your roll and have to exit. You can miss a roll, but you can't miss your reentry.
One problem people have when practicing rolling and reentry skills is that the boat is pretty much empty. Make sure you practice with a fully loaded boat. I have seem many examples of people who thought they could roll and get back in their boat, but couldn't do either when the boat was loaded.
Make sure you practice solo self rescues and aided rescues. Some of the assisted rescues that are taught WILL NOT WORK with loaded boats. Make sure you know what works and what doesn't."
I will describe a hierarchy of self rescue practice and application:
- BECOME COMPETENT WITH THE FOLLOWING IN FLAT CALM WATER:
- partial rolls and recoveries
- capsizes, wet exits, and re-entries
- capsizes and roll recoveries
- BECOME COMPETENT WITH THE ABOVE IN INCREASINGLY MORE DIFFICULT WATERS!
Practice the Basics:
Having a good high brace in your library of kayak skills will help prevent a capsize in big waves. You cannot practice braces enough whether on flat water or in waves. Braces are the first defense in the hierarchy of self-rescue, i.e. good timely braces prevents the need for self-rescue in the first place.
After you've become competent with your braces, then practice recovering from partial capsizes with a good high brace.
After you've become competent with your partial capsizes and high brace recoveries, then practice various re-entries.
After you've become competent with your capsizes and re-entries, then practice capsizes and recoveries with various rolls.
Practice Other Contingencies:
The one thing to remember about the learning process of paddling; you will never stop learning! So, don't limit yourself with the practice of the basics. Use your imagination and continue applying yourself to foreseeable contingencies.
Here's a for instance:
In a capsize and roll scenario of a tandem - it is quite likely that one paddler after the capsize will attempt a roll while unbeknownst to that paddler the other paddler had fallen from or had been ejected from their cockpit. So, practice rolling your tandem solo and practice steering your tandem solo and practice in your tandem the rescue of your partner who is in the water. Practice this from both cockpits.
There are other likely scenarios. Imagine them and put them into practice!