ETHANOL AND YOUR RESCUE WATER CRAFT

Ethanol in the United States is a big problem for our rescue water craft engines.

The problems with ethanol in other countries may not exist due to the corn based fuel we are using here in the USA.

Ethanol is a big concern for us as it acts as a solvent, is not good for long term fuel storage and gums up breather vent hoses for our fuel tanks. Inspections have increased and so have expenses.

Now we must purchase of marine grade fuel additive. One more problem to manage!

Storage needs to be limited of fuel for a period of 14 days in storage cans.

Make sure you are using a Marine Grade Fuel conditioner.

Fuel pumps can easily be destroyed, fuel filters clogged with the toothpaste looking ethanol.

Gaskets, rubber and the interior of fuel lines and storage cans are problematic.

No matter what it boils down to, it’s money. You need to update your RWC annual budget and calculate how many gallons of estimate fuel burn to expect. Then do the math for fuel additive to fuel use and determine what your budget will require.

More time and money to manage, inspect and maintain hourly logs.

Most importantly this becomes a safety issue and a liability issue.

This is one action your department cannot afford to ignore.

Be careful with gummed up fuel ventilation hoses, the fuel tank needs to expand and contract with atmopspheric changes, such as heat or cold. Make sure you remove the seats prior to starting your Rescue Water Craft and allowing any low lying fumes to ventilate prior to engine start.

You are going to have to add in additional budgetary needs to cover the expense of a fuel stabilizer.

Add this check on your department inspection logs and make sure that you maintain efficiency with proper use and care.

These suggestions are to help you maintain a safe operation of your Marine Unit. However, please conduct your own research and update annually your program to compliment any changes in our Rescue Water Craft community.

Have any questions? Join the Rescue Water Craft Association
and discover what your community is doing to modernize standards, safety and reduce liability!

Content Creator – Shawn Alladio cares most about her community and the culture surrounding the safety of event service providers and Rescue Water Craft operators, working hard and dedicated towards protecting their reputation, distributing safety information and continuing to train these amazing individuals to the highest standards of care.

TOWING THE LINE

Towing the Line.

Saving time, resources, logistics and manpower.

Anyhow, its much easier to tow a few of them than to have multiple operators at times.

We do this often in a few of our training grounds as well, because logistics can really impede on the clock!

Tension is your friend, not shockloading the tow line. This can be a bit of a struggle like in this photo with swell. Each craft will have a ‘step and pitch’ to its hull length and the oncoming water action and height.

It is important to have a solid understanding of the following:
1. Connector point hardware
2. Breaking strength of line
3. Towing speed (safe speed)
4. How its going to end

I oftentimes tow alone with four Jet Skis, as well as load them onto a single 4 place water vehicle trailer.

Taking my time and being methodical helps, but also thinking ahead, not where I am at presently or behind me where the craft are dragging. It’s important to be relaxed, calm and sure.

This can save time and resource management with low personnel available.

If by chance the towing vessel takes on debris into the water intake and a hand clearing of the water intake screen doesn’t solve the situation, its not too hard to switch out with another towing boat as long as its not sidelined as well.

Look down the line.

Observe your idle speed.

Observe the length of your tow string (boats).

Think about using a pivot point to slowly draw the craft towards you at a stopped position.

If trailering draw them towards the trailer bunks and let the forward section of the craft rest on them until its time to fully load and secure. One at at time…

If its a shoreline, secure a landing zone that has about 30′ feet for you to draw each bow up onto the shore.

Do not tug too hard on the lines, draw them slowly and steadily.

Practice! You may find this is a simpler solution for some situations you have to operate with.

Thanks for listening!

Shawn Alladio – 6.15.2018


Shawn cares most about her community and the culture surrounding the safety of event service providers and Rescue Water Craft operators, working hard and dedicated towards protecting their reputation, distributing safety information and continuing to train these amazing individuals to the highest standards of care.

DO NOT USE HIGHLY FLAMMABLE PRODUCTS ON YOUR RWC ENGINE

Never use any type of anti corrosive spray that say ‘highly flammable’ in the Information section.

I have come across far too many of my k38 students who have been given poor advice by others.

This advise could be dangerous or even deadly.

This is why the manufacturer’s of Personal Water Craft give direct advice and guidance for the types of products
they would like clients to use. Many ignore their safety warnings and place themselves and their crews at risk for explosion or injury.

The second threat is to the exhaust cooling rubber hoses. If the hoses lost their structural integrity they will fail. This means a Rescue Water Craft can take on water suddenly and sink. This could end up as a total loss.

Your preventative sprays are to be used with a cooled engine after washing down the engine compartment or completing the fresh water rinse/flush of the exhaust cooling lines.

Pay attention to all your actions and research the information and get other opinions if you are learning.

It does not require much effort and you will do better with your program in many ways.

Shawn Alladio – 6.14.2018


Shawn cares most about her community and the culture surrounding the safety of event service providers and Rescue Water Craft operators, working hard and dedicated towards protecting their reputation, distributing safety information and continuing to train these amazing individuals to the highest standards of care.

SOGGY HANDS

Scientific Laboratory tests have a theory that wrinkly soggy fingers improve our human grip on wet or submerged objects.

The grooves in the wet skin work to channel away water in the same fashion that rain treads in vehicle tires moving underway. People often assume that wrinkling is the result of water passing into the outer layer of the skin and making it swell up.

This directs to the change being an involuntary reaction by the body’s autonomic nervous system, the system that also controls breathing, heart rate and perspiration according to the study.

This creepy and distinctive wrinkling is caused by blood vessels constricting below the skin the study says, but this has been recently disputed. So far there is no accurate description of why our bodies experience this.

I have always said ‘these are my cadaver hands’. They bounce back within an hour when away from moisture. This also happens during sweating from high humidity, so it is some definite physiological response, but I am not sure why.

Since I am on the water for hours upon hours wearing gloves, all saturated with water, my skin goes ‘soft’ pretty quick. I always assumed it was from being ‘waterlogged’. The soles of my feet also experience the same soggy foot syndrome lol. My lips will eventually fall prey further after during long distance events.

I do know from experience having broken down at sea and been in the water for hours waiting for rescue that my soft skin that was exposed was aggressively and persistently attacked by small bait fish as a food source. They would burrow until the first epidermis layer was flayed away.

There is something to nature not missing a beat for an opportunity to survive from another living organism.

I am still waiting for a true scientific confirmation on soggy hands and feet.

Meanwhile, cover up when training and keep the bugs and leeches away from any open skin areas. Wear good Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). You will feel better.

MAINTAIN THE TRAILER JACK

TRAILERS!

Maintain your trailer jack for safety and for economy.

Yes, they need your attention! There is something wrong with this picture? Do you see it! LOL

When it gets this bad, something is missing. There is no respect for the program. If there is no respect for the transport device, imagine what is going wrong with the Rescue Water Craft and the safety of personnel?

How much is your life worth? Don’t think trailer maintenance is not important. Getting on the road, a damaged trailer can kill others, your driver or you.

When I see items like this, I know my work is cut our and probably there will not be much I can do. It is up to the students to take 100% responsibility for their education towards capability.

When a trailer jack gets to this point, expect associated costs to soar for repairs.

When a trailer jack cannot be moved, that means the physics of the device are wasted and humans will literally bear the burden.

Back damage, trailer potential to fall on a foot and crush it, medical costs, time off duty and a lifetime of aches and pains. Is it worth it?

Get out your trailer check list and starting giving it some of your attention. #donotdothis

NEEDS
1. Grease Gun with marine grease (for the handle zerc fitting)
2. Anti rust product such as Naval Jelly
3. Fresh water rinse the trailer immediately after every use in salt water conditions (buy a galvanized trailer not powder coated)
4. Inspect the crank handle and spray down with silicone spray after every use
5. Make sure your wheel jack is compatible with the weight load of the trailer and that the tongue weight of the trailer is accurate.

Trailer Jack

Shawn Alladio – 5.30.2018


Shawn cares most about her community and the culture surrounding the safety of event service providers and Rescue Water Craft operators, working hard and dedicated towards protecting their reputation, distributing safety information and continuing to train these amazing individuals to the highest standards of care.

TRAILER BUNK DAMAGE

Yes this trailer bunk damage is bad. It doesn’t have to be this way.

This is from repeated use with trailers and totes.

When the end bunk on your trailer or tote is damaged, it will effect your Rescue Water Craft. When you push the RWC onto the bunk, the end points will bear the full weight load on that pivot point. That weight bearing contact point is going to create an immediate pressure point.

If there is any damage such as a broken piece of metal, exposed bolt, sharp edge of the trailer exposed, wood sliced or the bunk is bent, problems will be imminent and they may be hidden by the bunk location.

Make sure you have checklists for your trailers and totes and take them out of service until they are repaired.

If you have a failed bunk you will immediately begin to distress the bottom deck of the Rescue Water Craft hull.

Depending upon the constructive materials such as fiberglass, the gelcoat will fleck away and expose the fiberglass mat. This can lead to a delamination underway when the hull makes surface contact with the speed, creating ventilation to the damage area. This can be a costly experience and should be caught in your post operations check inspection.

Good luck!

RWC trailer damage

Shawn Alladio – 2018

Shawn cares most about her community and the culture surrounding the safety of event service providers and Rescue Water Craft operators, working hard and dedicated towards protecting their reputation, distributing safety information and continuing to train these amazing individuals to the highest standards of care.

RESCUE BOARD FRICTION

Unfortunately Rescue Boards (TAD-Towable Accessory Device) do more damage to our Rescue Water Craft astern due to vessel designs changing but the Rescue Boards designs are not adapting to the newer models. Do Rescue Boards work? Absolutely.

However, the use of these (TAD) Towable Accessory Devices have assisted in the recovery of many persons in distress and we are thankful for their utility.  Let’s take a look at considerations of repair and contact points.

Inflatable type designed rescue boards/sleds are not approved for Rescue Water Craft (RWC) safety use due to stability and connectivity.  This discussion refers to fixed core rescue boards that cannot be deflated.

It takes a lot of effort to maintain your Rescue Water Craft and Rescue Board. This requires of Public Safety Agencies to have effective training and proper inspection lists to note when Rescue Boards or RWC’s need to be removed from service due to safety maintenance or repairs.

Some models of Personal Water Craft (PWC) interface to the various Rescue Boards or Towable Accessory Devices (TAD) do not interface well with the variety of Rescue Water Craft (RWC) hulls from year of production, makes and models.

Please refer to the Rescue Water Craft Association recommended RWC’s for 2018:

Approved 2018 Rescue Water Craft

It is not an easy interface for sure!  Make sure you are watching the attachment points from each use and inspect your hull for wear through the top deck. This requires your RWC Operators to understand what to look for, why it is important and how to inspect and maintain their equipment before a mishap occurs from negligence.

This is especially true for NanoXcel hulls in comparison to fiberglass/gelcoat hulls. These lighter hulls tend to have more flex and the newer models have a concave top deck astern. This is also true for some Sea Doo models.

  

Will this cause harm to your Rescue Water Craft? What should you be concerned about?

The center load bearing pressure point and the pivot from port to starboard along with how the Rescue Board is designed oftentimes do not have a complimentary fit. Problems may occur from compression indentations against the Rescue Board.  Remember, we are not permitted to drill only holes through the RWC hull and we cannot add any metal fittings on the top deck due to safety risk and liability.

Also take note of any entrapment from extension on port/starboard connector points of the Rescue Board, catch points and flexion caused by poor handle placement. These all lead up to contributing factors of friction and Rescue Board contact points to the RWC.

Think one word exclusively: PHYSICS

This means the pressure points from a rescue board are going to be pressed downward at the port/starboard sides and can wear completely through the top deck. This can result in a wear hole through the top deck surface

  

Bondline Molding damage and damage to contact point of the TAD Point of Contact

Remember: These are recreational Power Water Craft. They are not designed for Search and Rescue or Patrol work. They are designed for recreational activity use. (With the exception of the AlumaSki, Sea Doo SAR and RescueRunner which are occupational manufactured craft).

When you employ the use of a Rescue Board it will require of your agency effective ‘use, inspection and care‘ guidelines for liability and for safety underway. Failure to do so can result in loss of the Rescue Board, damage that cannot be repaired and budgetary needs for RWC maintenance and care. This can also lead up to agency liability issues.

Is this in your annual budget? Do you have maintenance repair items in stock ready to go?

K38 can help your agency set up your RWC program through professional consultation.

  

Friction points caused by the forces of action and unequal distribution of load, contact, drag or movement against he rescue board and the bond line or top stern deck.  Make sure inspections are thorough and replacement parts a readily available in your cache load maintenance gear.

Rescue Board

You may need to alter the material on the stern deck to raise up the void between the two substrates. Refer to your warranty first before you proceed on any modifications and adhere to the guidelines and rules of the warranty.

1.  Rescue boards can also pull off or damage the rail bond line or molding exposing the rivets. This can result in a safety hazard. Remove the RWC from service immediately if this happens.

2. Friction and impact can affect or damage the stern top deck or removable stern compartment covers on some models of RWC.

3. Re-boarding steps can be damaged or damage the underside of a Rescue board or cause a slight shock loading effect if the step makes contact on the underside of the rescue board and slides forward or back, this can result in issues with the center load bearing connector point.

4. Rescue Board friction pads or covers can splinter, break of fracture. They can even be ripped off the Rescue Board.
There are so many variables that come into play with physics and the actual weight load on the Rescue Board. Primarily it is the connective interface between the RWC and the Rescue Board that is most important.

 

Is your rigging causing harm or creating a solution? What are you willing to give up to gain?

There is no defining interface for rescue board use. It depends upon the make, model and year of production of RWC you have.

One thing is for sure, take some time to study the contact points, friction and how the Rescue Board is hooked up to the RWC to try to reduce the impending damage your RWC will suffer.

Shawn Alladio – 2018

Shawn cares most about her community and the culture surrounding the safety of event service providers and Rescue Water Craft operators, working hard and dedicated towards protecting their reputation, distributing safety information and continuing to train these amazing individuals to the highest standards of care.

Use at your own risk. Please take a qualified Rescue Water Craft training course and maintain proper records and respect all the PWC, RWC, PPE, and gear OEM manufacturer warning labels and cautions.

Become a member today of the Rescue Water Craft Association: JOIN THE RWCA

RESCUE WATER CRAFT BATTERY ISSUES

MELTDOWN

RESCUE WATER CRAFT BATTERY ISSUES

Rescue Water Craft batteries require your constant attention. Battery inspection needs to be a daily feature in your pre and post operations inspection.

It is only avoidable if there is knowledge. So now in the aftermath of discovery it is avoidable if the knowledge is retained. Before this it is just 'learning'.

That's a dead short you are looking at in the images above. It is the result of way too much current flow. How do you know that? The posts are molten where your cables would have been connected. That is one way to explode a battery, and could become a very dangerous situation quickly.

The Rescue Water Craft fuses should have helped to prevent an explosion. It would be important in these instances to inspect your fuses ASAP.

First off you need to refer to the make, model and year of production of your Rescue Water Craft and adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Questions
Is there too much slack in the lead wires or the battery strap harness inside the RWC while operating with this battery?

Is it missing the traction pad below it rests on? Is it the right type of battery?

Did this happen inside the Rescue Water Craft or was the battery brand new and being charged for use?

Jet Pump

Yuasa Battery

LOOSEY GOOSEY

Loose battery connections on the lead cables create resistance and turn into ‘heat’. If the cable was not tightened enough it could create resistance for the battery when it tries to bridge the gap and arcs with a high heat. There should be no white powder on the terminals and they should not move when touched and tugged to see if the posts swivel or move.

Tight terminals are a must, as are using an inspection daily check list post and pre-ops. Be consistent, its a bad deal when problems come your way when you are out on the water. It's better to catch them while the RWC is on the trailer. Don't splash your RWC until you are 100% seaworthy.

HINT: do not use a screwdriver, use a ratchet with a properly sized socket to adjust the Pos/Neg cables!

With a loose connection the wires which are small and the load is high, what does that mean? If a battery is loose inside a Rescue Water Craft, such as the straps are connected improperly or using the wrong strap sizes or one broke free or the battery size is wrong and does not fit into the stock tray, problems are imminent.

Take a close look at the battery tray location. Does your battery shape fit fully in the tray? If not, consider heading back to a stock battery, saving money is not gonna happen in this situation.

If the battery is the right size the straps may be problematic. Friction and movement of the battery can be an issue causing the wire connections to crack or fracture and this is the kind of a situation that can cause sparks. If the battery is bouncing around those sparks are like the same heat as an arc welder. A bad situation is at hand and fully preventable.

Or you could have a short inside the battery. Even a partial short and/or poor connection on the terminals can create significant problems. In these images it looks like the pos side had a meltdown.

This kind of a situation can create other problems such as the relay or starter motor engine could have experienced damage.

Jet Pump

Vents and Distilled Water

JUICED

Never jump a Rescue Water Craft from another running vehicle or charger, it will feed more amps into the system and can damage or destroy the MPEM or ECU units.

Also if jumping the battery, make sure you are using the right size cables, you need the smaller cables, larger ones will not correlate with the proper amperage, and would be a wasted attempt.

I would definitely inspect the fuse and the leads pos/neg cables for rust or corrosion. Sometimes this happens when people jump their RWC batteries off a vehicle that is running, which should NEVER be done. Our Rescue Water Craft are not set up to run the amps and voltage beyond 2.5 amps in their system, this can be very destructive.

There is not much difference in voltage between a nearly full battery and a depleted one, its less than 1.0 volts. If the RWC engine is running the charging system makes an attempt to maintain a specific voltage output to the battery. This depends upon the battery ability to absorb the charge translated as Amps and the charging system delivery of the full current the battery demands.

There is a lot of demand placed on a battery and its electrical partners; from the voltage, charging, stator alternator, solenoid and starter. Never jump your battery from a vehicle, you will overcharge the system. Stay under 2 amps while charging your battery.

A solenoid is an electrical switch which causes electrical contact from the starter circuit to ground power the coil and can handle the high voltage for the starter which begins the rotation of the motor. Solenoids make a distinct click sound. If you are jumping the battery and the solenoid cranks poorly then it’s not the solenoid, it could be just a bad connection.

You can check with a volt meter on the posts to get a reading. Then press the ‘start’ button and note if the voltage is lower. It may be a weak battery.

It is important to remember to protect the electrical system and the battery by not holding down the start button longer than 5 seconds and waiting 15 seconds prior to the next start.

Frequent starts will engage a quick shut down cycle on the battery if the engine cannot run. You don’t want to burn out your starter motor. Patience goes a long way and will help you understand the temperament of your RWC electrical system.

Don’t rush, take your time to troubleshoot and be patient.

Jet Pump

Waterproof Battery Tender

VOLTAGE

When the battery voltage drops low it’s time for a new battery. It is also possible to purchase a new battery that was not fully charged and it drops its voltage and becomes worthless pretty fast, requiring another new fully charged battery.

It is important to follow the directions for using the appropriate battery charger that can fully charge a new battery. Many times people do not follow suit properly and they waste time and money.

Waterproof battery tenders are often used for long time storage to help protect battery life. For some watercraft there are other contributing factors it could be a bad DESS key for a BRP Sea Doo as well. A simple replacement of the DESS key and coding might be the answer.

Always check a battery on a multi meter to see what the voltage level is. Make sure you are using the right battery that is recommended by the OEM manufacturer as well. Low voltage can be really bad for electronics and relays. Good batteries should be 12.3-12.5 volts but refer to your RWC brand to be specific.

Cheap batteries yield cheaper results and some of the batteries like Yuasa require a special charger to load the batteries, so that can be problematic and not getting a full charge. Use dieletric grease on the terminals in the future, you will be glad you did.

Rescue Water Craft batteries work best when the charge is maintained. Maintenance free batteries are highly recommended. Batteries get hot when working hard, so don’t overload the amperage by adding accessories to the craft that need an electrical draw.

Answer: Tight connections and Clean Cables are required, good straps and the appropriate fully charged battery. This was a brand new battery in the images above being charged.

Recap:
1. Bad Battery Sealed or Cell, gel cells or AGM (vented or not vented) Wet cell batteries need distilled water.
2. Poor Battery Connection-Partial short
3. Wrong Battery Used
4. DESS post failing (inductive arcing)
5. Fast Charged Battery
6. Inspect Fuse Box

This is not a tutorial, it’s a basic Q & A regarding battery connectivity. Take your RWC to a qualified mechanic for servicing and follow basic preventative maintenance schedules to ensure the longevity of your operations and underway safety.

Content Creator - Shawn Alladio cares most about her community and the culture surrounding the safety of event service providers and Rescue Water Craft operators, working hard and dedicated towards protecting their reputation, distributing safety information and continuing to train these amazing individuals to the highest standards of care.

RESCUE WATER CRAFT RESPONSE FOR KITES

Rescue Water Craft Kiteboarder Recovery

Kites, Wind, Water and You

May 21, 2018 - Just a reminder, not a formal tutorial.

Shawn Alladio

Photos: k38 Italia

Rescue Water Craft Response for Kites, some reminders and suggestions, however training is required to reduce liability at sea.

How will you use a Rescue Water Craft to recover a kiteboarder and their equipment?

Most Kite Boarders are well versed in self-rescue and the warning signs of their activity relative to others in the water. They will often use their kite as a sail and drag themselves back to shore (safety) to depower and deflate their rig. They may even be using their kite as a float an/or a sail to draw back towards shore under wind power.

Not all Rescue Water Craft operators or crew are well versed in kiteboard activity and recovery.  Usually the Kiteboarding community has designated areas with high wind capacity and times of day they enjoy their sport. There are a variety of skill levels and equipment uses.

Does your agency have a policy for contact with kiteboards and their gear?  Two things to consider:

  1. Water Based Response
  2. Shore Based Response

Ask yourself a few questions, are the winds light or strong and growing stronger?  What is the direction of the swell, the wave height and spacing, shoreline configuration, hazards and any background or nearshore traffic?

An able bodied kiter can have their kite laying on the surface with little power, sometimes this is because the kiter has brought it down intentionally.  They may have a tethered safety line they are using to recover their bar. They will loop their safety line along with handle of their bar while the other lines to the kite will have slack and it will not be able to fly.

They will continue on wrapping lines on the bar depending upon if they have 4 or 5 line bars.  It is a slow process for the athlete at times.  You will see the kite draw in closer and they will possibly grab onto it or lay on it and be drawn back towards shore. Determine if they are in close and okay. You may not need to intervene; observe body language. Sometimes things don’t’ work out as planned.

If you are observing a kiteboarder in the water, try to differentiate between an assist or a rescue, and possibly no response. It’s always good to conduct a safety check and maintain visual contact. For instance, they may be dragging themselves back to recover their board using the kite as a sail. There are many different behaviors of self-rescue and trouble situations kiters can get into, this is only one for reference.

Know the causes of runaway kites and potential injuries both on water and land not just to the athletes but to the responders and bystanders. There are a variety of reasons kite boarders have safety issues underway or during prep to launch or recover. Kite boarders can suffer joint and ligament, dislocations, traumatic injuries, fractures and back and neck injuries. It would be advisable to prepare for transits with these type of injuries in mind.

Kiteboarding Safety

Know the popular Kiteboard areas and observe the times they tend to launch and their behavior on your area of operation. Spend some time observing their normal body language and deployment procedures.

Visit a local supply shop and inspect the gear and become familiar with it. If you have a popular kite zone in your area, prepare in advance for those difficult situations. Sometimes you can aid a kiter who is landing on powering down the kite to bring it down. In those cases you can communicate verbally or with sign language.

Or go and talk to them, invite them to come to your agency and give a presentation; ask them questions about response in case of an emergency. Check out their kite rigs, personal protective equipment and harness set ups and how to release their kite and secure their gear.

Know the signs of a kit in distress vs a kiter just going through reset formations, there is a difference. There are a variety of injuries or suspect injuries you may encounter, so be prepared.

INDICATORS

Sunset is usually a higher risk time as thermals change with the heat/cooling effect. Out of control looping kites are a warning signal.

Remember lines can be submerged, never cross the path line of the kite location to the downed athlete with the Rescue Water Craft.

Approach the kite itself from upwind or up drift not downwind, never grab the lines.  Lines can wrap, and slice under a load and it happens quickly. Once pinned you are now part of the problem.

Hopefully the kiter has unhooked from the lines first. Sometimes with an unconscious individual or severely injured this is impossible. You will need to go to a Plan B real fast. Ask the kiter if they are free of their rig. Distance of lines to note are up to 25 meters or 75’. Many variables apply, so its up to your fundamental knowledge of water, weather, kites and survivor behaviors.

If responding with a Rescue Water Craft, you must maintain craft safety as a maritime asset. This means first you protect yourself as the operator and your crew, along with your Rescue Water Craft.

You do not want the filament lines to make contact with the helm or throttle lever, let alone personal contact, and be mindful these lines will sink.

Make a quick assessment; is the kiter exhausted, are they unconscious have they suffered a traumatic injury, are they panicking? What you see is your best determination and that can change quickly.

Make sure you have a minimum of 2 tourniquets on board your Rescue Water Craft. Our operational standard is 4 and we have them stowed inside a waterproof Pelican case.

At idle speed driving over lines you can consider the threat level of fouling your impeller to be ‘danger high’. So don’t do that.

Rescue Water Craft Approach

This is no easy task, consider the type of RWC you are using and your idle speed and athlete condition.

You may need to shut the Rescue Water Craft off and float/drag in the water alongside the athlete until a full recovery is made. Be mindful of which position your bow is in and subsequent threats under time and direction.

Stay clear of all filament lines regardless and do not grab the bar. Make sure you have your cutter ready with you in cases of an emergency.

If you are responding to a situation with a looping kite this one is tricky. It’s called the ‘death loop’. If you can make contact and deflate the kite that would be advantageous if a serious situation occurs. Remember two kites that are tangled, the athletes have no way to control the depowering of a kite.  You will see a spinning kite in these situations most likely.

Keep in mind with wind direction, velocity and athlete positioning they can get dragged and seriously harmed and you don’t want to become a part of that problem. Stay clear of the line of sight and line of drift, and think ahead!

Kites can impact others in the water such as swimmers, surfers or bodyboarding. They can run alongside piers or jetty walls or if offshore winds persist run away at sea. On land they can be menacing and deadly.

If nearshore grab the kite at the center bridge, along the leading inflatable edge if it makes it to land you may have to flip it upside down. Once again pull it downward rapidly and walk towards the tension of the lines against the athlete (if still tethered) and drag down to get the lift away from the inflatable bridge/sail.

MONITOR the Kite

Remember once a kite makes landfall there is a strong possibility depending upon wind conditions that the kite will pick up speed, you must act quickly and know what to do.

You need to know how to release the kite from an athletes harness at their midsection.  This can be very difficult with an unconscious survivor.  Typically you are looking for a red knobs to pull as a release (or cut the lines). Make sure the lines are not under tension and that you are both facing a positive direction relative to the wind.

Again be mindful of lines and their direct position to you, the Rescue Water Craft and the athlete. You may need to have several cutters as at this point. If you don’t have a safety tether attached to the cutter it’s possible to lose one overboard. Be mindful at this point of contact your own engine cut off switch. Secure it safely inside the chest opening of your lifejacket if you power off the Rescue Water Craft.

Approaches to the kite are best measured by contact with the leading edge of the inflatable bridge windward at approximately a 45 degree angle. Do you best to avoid the lines and keep a steady observation on the water and wind conditions surrounding the threat and athlete location.

MEDIATION

Immediately deflate the kite by identifying the location of the plugs.  Then in a lengthwise direction roll the kite and wind the filament lines onto the bar itself. Then return to the kiter location and assist in their recovery. Remember once again lines can wrap or snap or have already done this to the athlete.

Be mindful if you are heading towards shore or out to sea. Keep a watch regarding nearshore rip currents. Keep in mind that the kitesurfer may be pulling their lines in. Consider how much drift you will have from point of contact to boarding the kitesurfer and possibly their kit on your Rescue Water Craft.

Ensure you are mindful of when to power off the Rescue Water Craft. Ensure you have secured all the threat hazards. I like to use a 4 foot runner with a carabiner to put a fast lock loop around kite gear to help me with mobility and stowage. I usually have redundancy of these assets. These are to be considered to be disposable accessory devices. Make sure you have replacements readily available.

When you get underway you do not want to ‘wash away’ the kite gear. You can do this one qualified Operator of a Stage 5 category or a Stage 5 category crew. Secure the kite board, athlete. Do not operate above 25 mph under transit. Slow is Pro at point of contact!

At sea you will be setting the kite adrift (or it already is), so there is that secondary hazard for others and don't forget the length distance from athlete to kite.

There are a variety of quick releases usually marked red but not always.

Landing a kite: grab again at center bridge, make sure the inflatable bridge is lowered to the ground with skirts up and throw some sand on the flaps to weight it down probably 20-30 lbs. of weight.

Pull the inflator hoses, deflation valve or plug to depower the rig on land and stow it, watch out for those lines again.

You should all undertake specific training with these kind of rigs, watch those lines and be mindful of your water jet pump.

Upwind or Downwind

RECAP

Not a training aid, please refer to qualified certification programs and visit a Kiteboarding club or shop for further details and important information.

  1. Approach the athlete with the kite in front of them and the wind to your back on a 45 degree angle, or conduct a Johnny B Maneuver. (Draw an imaginary J with the bow of your craft to your point of contact either port or starboard side)
  2. Contact with the kite is best done at the center inflated bridge, hold on tight while maintaining your balance on the Rescue Water Craft and do not let go. Keep in mind the rotational forces of your Rescue Water Craft and any windage against both the hull and the kite itself.
  3. Approach the kite downwind at a 45 degree angle, you can also position and let it drift towards your line of direction and make contact broadside. Keep in mind you may be making contact on port or starboard side so refer to your best practices and operational functionality.
  4. Once you make contact with the kite and have the rig secured you can complete a full circle rotation keeping the lines to your inside turn so you don’t cross over them and bring the kite back to the athlete. They may be able to get underway again if the rig is okay and they have no injuries or exhaustion, talk to them and ask them how they are doing, visible signs of injury or panic take to shore
  5. (Situation Option) Or the kite must be deflated and the athlete may have already have packed down, or the kite could be drawing free in the direction of the wind. Often a kite boarder will use their harness to wrap a deflated kite into a bungle for transport. Kites can be lethal if unsecured so keep it low to the water/ground and deflate.
  6. Your ending is the most important part, slow steady stable transport and a calm ending for transfer to shore, keep your bow out to oncoming wave energy or your bow towards shore in large bodies of water.
  7. Power down your Rescue Water Craft once you are in 2.5 feet of water

Reference Video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOjMA9a0rSc

 

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Photos: K38 Italia

Content Creator - Shawn Alladio cares most about her community and the culture surrounding the safety of event service providers and Rescue Water Craft operators, working hard and dedicated towards protecting their reputation, distributing safety information and continuing to train these amazing individuals to the highest standards of care.