After a tragic incident in our kayaking community this weekend many of our kayakers have responded with comments and suggestions.
We always tend to be smart after the event, and its easy to give advice when looking back.
The question is are we always prepared for dealing with an incident?
In our waters we are lulled into a false sense of security.
Mostly we go out in flat water, sometimes in wind and sometimes in mild surf, this under the auspices of Optimist.
Mostly when the sea is deemed to dangerous the club outings are cancelled.
This is then a challenge for anybody with a private kayak to go out and learn rough water paddling or to go surfing.
This is always at ones own risk. We take responsibility for our own safety, we know the risks and act accordingly, sometimes not going out at all.
Kayaking is an extreme sport, or not, depending on how you approach it.
If you only go out in easy conditions it can be peaceful and relaxing, if you go out in rough water it becomes more exciting and more dangerous.
If you like the challenge of excitement and danger then you need to develope the skills to survive the conditions.
Even in flat water incidents can and do happen.
Our Symposiums always have lessons on incident management where we teach how to deal with incidents, how to prevent them and skills on how to help one another when needed.
Awareness that things can go wrong and knowledge can go a long way to improve safety on the water and it is incumbent on everybody who paddles to learn basic safety rules.
Remember, when you choose your paddling partner , always ask yourself if you can rely on their skills to help you if you are in need, and can you help them if needed .
If the answer is no then you need to do some work.