If rescued by a Rescue Water Craft during a flood, what should you do?

Keep Thinking-Keep Moving

Flood Rescue using Personal Water Craft (PWC)

Oftentimes people will be recovered by citizens who own a PWC during flood events. Why is that?

Because most often in widespread disasters we are on our own and we help one another. There may not be organized rescue for a few days.

These images below are from Japan in November 2018 during severe flooding the nation experienced. It's not the first time Japanese have used Personal Water Craft for evacuations. During the Tohoku tsunami of 3.11.2011 Mr. Imazaki rescued over 100 persons in extremely dangerous freezing conditions at night.

Masayuki Imazaki

Wake of Fame Inductee: Phoenix Award

The 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami PWC Rescues (東日本大震災, Higashi Nihon Daishinsai)

PWC Operator: Mr. Imazaki, 40 years of age, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan

Owner: Higashi Nippon Marina – PWC Dealer ‘Marine Mechanic’

They represent our 'Everyday Heroes' conducting rescues of their neighbors. This is an experience occurring around the world as floods are the number one reason people drown worldwide, and a Personal Water Craft is one of many small craft that assist during the critical and initial food stage.

When you look at this images study them. Learn from them. Try to place yourself on that roof, or on that shoreline.

What do you need to know if you are in a flood and a person brings a Personal Water Craft (PWC) to you to evacuate from?

Watch out for wakes and the water jet pump

This is not training per-se, but an awareness article, something to think about. You could possibly apply this to other vessels as well.

This is a problem for us, having this kind of discussion is rarely a topic of anyone’s top ten list but we have to go here. K38 wishes that you adopt your own 'Safety Behavior' for yourself and your loved ones by being educated in advance of water disaster such as flood, earthquake-tsunami or storm surge.

EDUCATION SAVES LIVES

Did you know we host along with the Rescue Water Craft Association a Disaster Preparedness Education Group on Facebook?

Here is a link to the group, you may be interested in the outstanding educational editorial posted, visit the UNITS section: Disaster Preparedness Education Group

I am going to share with your potential issues or concerns from the perspective of an evacuee.

I’m not going to share with you the thousands of successful flood rescue recoveries conducted by citizens who have no water rescue training. They may not have professional training but they are doing great work and we are very proud of their efforts!

These are very good craft to use because of their shallow draft, which means they can operate in shallow waters. As long as there is no underwater hazards, these are great power boats for confined spaces.

They can also navigate in close or confined quarters (tight spaces). They are a great ‘point of contact’ craft. However debris can be a problem as well as strong currents, or capsizing due to lack of effective balance.

I would encourage you first to ask of the Personal Water Craft operator who is responding to your situation effective questions about how you will be transported and what to expect in case of an emergency. Make a plan first!

Remember this boat does not have a lot of room for bringing on a lot of personal items. Those would be best stowed in a towed vessel astern (behind) the Personal Water Craft if there is one, use it.

You probably will not be dry, meaning that it could be raining, your feet will get wet (pants), and you will experience spray from moving forward. You must consider the wind chill effect as well when underway, you may find yourself colder than when you started.

You can drop things and lose them in the water as well, so hold onto and secure your personal items.

Be careful of electrical lines

Be exceptionally aware of downed utility or power lines, you do not want to experience shock or electrical burns. Be careful of your surroundings and what you touch.

It may be difficult to hear, so you may have to talk loudly or yell to communicate.

TRANSPORT WEIGHT

There are probably 2 types of Personal Water Craft that citizens will use:

1. Sport - Capacity: 1 to 2 persons on board
2. Runabout - Capacity: 1 to 3 persons on board

*. Runabouts can also have a Rescue Board attached to the stern if its a volunteer Search and Rescue Group or public safety agency, oftentimes these are the color yellow but not always.

Both of these Personal Water Craft have what is called 'weight load limits'. These are set by the weight on board and can be somewhat rated by adding together the total human weight but not to exceed it for calm conditions. Obviously the more stable craft will be a three-seater type craft we call a 'Runabout'.

You can tell this by the way the seating looks on the Personal Water Craft. Do you see that three people can sit down?

How do you hold on? You can hold onto the waist of the operator in front of you, or onto a strap on the back of their lifejacket. But do not tug them, they can lose their balance.

Some models have a seat strap that goes across the front seat area.

Some models have hand held finger grasp imprints along the plastic that is the re-boarding handle. See if you can identify any of these areas to use for stabilizing your position on the craft.

Your feet should remain in the footwell areas while you are facing forward in a seated position. Do not stand up underway! Falls overboard can occur.

When re-boarding be mindful that some of these craft do not have a neutral position but will be in idle moving forward from 2 to 4 miles per hour.

Some of these models may have a retractable re-boarding step below the molding on the deck area, near where the directional steering nozzle is at the back of the craft below the waterline. You can see if there is one or ask the operator, you can feel for it and pull it downward to get your knee onto it, but be mindful it can retract back into its resting position when released.

Use due caution when loading on a Personal Water Craft (PWC)

Moving pets is a different topic altogether, use common sense and be careful!

Sometimes you will see a rescue board, that is a flat device that is on the stern of the craft to the waterline. It is secured with 3 tie downs to the stern (back) of the Personal Water Craft. You may be asked to lay flat, hold onto the front handles and watch out for spray in your face.

You can expect to get wet and you will have water wash over the rescue board and it may be spraying in your face, so we advise you to be cautious of this during flood events. (Again we prefer to not to use a rescue board in flood stages professionally, except for small livestock and pets).

It is best if you do not stay near the waterline, because of debris, contaminants, cold, and fixed objects underwater. It is better if you can be up on the rear seat behind the Personal Water Craft (PWC) Operator. This means that the craft will be less stable with a higher center of gravity from body positioning however. The rescue board can be used as a ramp to help guide you towards the seat.

RESCUE BOARD POSITIONS

1. Kneeling on the Rescue Board
2. Laying Face Down on the Rescue Board

Oftentimes people sit upright on a rescue board. This is less centered balance, especially if you are near the back of or the end of the board. Keep your body forward and place a hand on the re-boarding handle behind the back seat to steady yourself.

If you have an operator who applies sudden throttle to the helm, you may experience a sharp 'lurch' forward or to the sides, hold on tight as this can set you off balance and back into the water. Take your safety seriously when using a rescue board, you do not want to fall backwards. Be mindful of hair or loose clothing wrapping on the handles.

The Rescue Board can slip below the surface at the midpoint, but it is connected to the stern cleat of the Personal Water Craft (PWC). This makes it a bit awkward to board until you get closer towards the back of the PWC, then the board will rise towards the surface but that back end will still be below the surface as it is dragged forward.

Think of the Rescue Board as two distinct halves. The strongest point for you is closer to the back of the Personal Water Craft. No matter what make sure your pelvis is above the back of the rescue board and not dragging in the water.

Also you may need to coax and assist others with boarding, so pay attention to additional weight changes.

Rescue Board

You can also hold your legs up from the knees when laying flat as they can trail in the jet thrust and pull your shoes off, especially if you have loose fitting shoes. Stay centered on the rescue board and hold on to the top two forward handles you will be looking at.

Do not hold onto the center line attached to the Personal Water Craft. Do not hold onto the re-boarding handle if you are laying face down on the board. Simply hold on with both hands, keep a watch and stay alert for the water conditions underway.

Watch where you place your fingers, you don't want them to get pinned, pinched or smashed especially if you are wearing rings on your fingers, remember the Rescue Board pivots and moves, this means you may lose your grip or find that you are not holding onto a safe area, think about where your hands are and reconsider positioning.

Towing a boat with Survivors behind a Personal Water Craft

Sometimes a rescue board is not used for transporting survivors but a boat is being towed behind it where people are placed. The same principles apply, set your body position in a stable part of the towed boat and find a seated position and observe for safety issues ahead while underway. Keep a watch on the boat you are on, look for any water pooling in the bottom by your feet or how high the water is to the side of the boat.

Oftentimes boats are overloaded due to the emergency and not having effective training as volunteers. Question the safety and ask the operator to make a second trip if you believe its unsafe to continue. Remember, you can communicate your concerns!

SITUATIONAL AWARENESS

It is desirable if the Personal Water Craft operator maintains a level, steady and stable PWC for you while maneuvering to a safe landing, but this may not be the case with untrained volunteers. You may find yourself back in the water in a worse situation than you were in, so think along the route about the hazards, trust your instinct!
You may notice depending upon the currents and speed of the Personal Water Craft some shifting of the towed boat taking place.

Always maintain a watch! You may find that you have to help out sometime.

It is most important to realize when the PWC begins to slow down that you need to start counterbalancing, as the stern wake catches up the PWC can start to roll slightly. Usually the PWC flips because the operator is unaware of this action as well as passengers. You may have to conduct slight counter balance measures to assist.

Two Persons laying flat, side by side, holding forward 2 handles

The most important thing for you is when the Personal Water Craft stops. How to get off? Wait for the Operator to bring the Personal Water Craft to a complete stop first. Observe what is ahead of you and start to prepare for your exit.

Its easier to get off by climbing off the back, from the seat. It is the most stable part of the craft. If you exit from the right (starboard side) or the left (port side) you will discover that the Personal Water Craft will pitch or roll off its centerline which is the most stable part of the craft. If you have been sitting on the seat you will notice this.

Forward propulsion stabilizes the PWC, so when it is stopped you can expect increased motion from the craft, counter balance.

Be careful stepping off! You don't know what you are stepping onto, make sure your have good foot contact so you don't roll your ankle in soft mud or dirt or get tripped on debris. Plant one foot at a time and maintain your balance during each step.

Take your time and go slow. Don't be nervous, focus on your surroundings. You don’t know what you will be stepping on, so get a firm foot down first. Don't let your ankle roll or jump or dive off. Remember the Personal Water Craft moves a lot, so prepare yourself for that, its a very small craft.

Never lock your knees or arms when riding, unless you have an injury.

Loading from a roof line can be dangerous, slow down and take your time!

Safety is a Behavior

If you have the ability to put on a lifejacket that is even better! (Or have some type of flotation with you if you are not a strong swimmer). Do so immediately and properly secure all the buckles for a good fit. If you have children with you take care of them first.

Remember an adult lifejacket may not be the best measure for small children, they can slip out of them due to inadequate sizing! Let the children know verbally what is happening so they are not scared, give them key information to help them deal with the situation and tell them if they fall overboard to go into a 'floating position' or to swim towards shore, or if the PWC capsizes to 'stay with the PWC'.

If you have brought a small pet with you, be mindful of their behavior. They may be distressed and want to bite at others. Make sure you have secured them with a collar, leash, muzzle or a very firm grip. Remember, pets are protective and may not respond to people helping them positively especially a uniformed person.

If you are bringing any electronics such as a smart phone, be mindful this is a wet ride and items easily fall overboard or out of pockets and you will get wet or lose them!

If you have been a witness to a drowning or lost a loved one, pet or livestock, you will have to hold on a little longer till you get to a safe area. It will be important for you to seek help and to talk about the experience at some point. Evacuations are a long process of loss to many degrees.

At this critical time, 'Life and Safety' are most critical and should be your primary concerns.

Once safe, everything else can be dealt with, but first its imperative to get you out of a risk zone and to a safe zone.

EMERGENCY
If you experience a problem underway, such as the water jet pump being fouled with debris, or the PWC capsizes or you fall off the PWC, you can do something to help yourself and others. But first discuss it before your board a vessel!

If the Personal Water Craft capsizes remain calm! Tell yourself not to panic or be afraid. Especially if you do not have a fastened lifejacket. What you do next is vital.

Since you have been observing for hazards you already know where the currents are going and any downstream or upstream or surrounding hazards, you may have to start swimming away from objects if you are going to drift into them.

These may be called strainers and they can be deadly. A strainer is a fixed object that water can pass through but objects get pinned against them.

If you are not taking care of small children or pets, immediately when you surface roll onto your back and float face upward to the sky, and relax and breathe.

Get control of your thoughts and take a look around for safe landings or objects to grab onto. You may have to help the Personal Water Craft operator to right their capsized PWC. It's not hard to do! The sooner the PWC gets righted the sooner you will reach safety.

Re-boarding from the water line can be exhausting. Take it slow and counter balance. If you focus it will be easier to determine what needs to be done and you will do great!

Righting a Capsized Boat

1. You will see an intake with metal bars on it, that's the water intake screen. Place your fingers on the outside of the bars and start to pull the PWC towards you. You can also place a knee up on the edge of the capsized PWC, and give it a few tugs!

2. Once the PWC starts to roll over, it will settle in an upright position. For four stroke engines we wait 10 seconds till we restart, but if the PWC is upside for over two minutes it becomes more difficult and the engine compartment can start seeping water making it heavier than usual.

3. The Engine Cut Off Switch will be needed to re-start the craft, the operator should have this, but they can break or float away. If using a Kawasaki Ultra model, open the glove box below the helm and remove the immobilizer key and re-key it to start. You will hear a chirping sound.

4. Re-board the craft from the back stern deck, not the sides. Stabilize and take your time. Observe for hazards you may be floating towards.

You will need the engine cut off switch to restart the engine. If you are on a BRP Sea Doo the engine cut off switch on newer models is digitally coded, as are the Kawasaki Ultra models immobilizer key. Keep all electronics away from these!

Follow the diagram on the stern of the PWC (If it has not been removed)

UITEMATE

If you find yourself in the water, a simple technique of floating will help you and others! Do not panic! Learn how to float on your back using the Uitemate technique from Japan.

Uitemate

Japanese technique "uitemate" on preventing drowning

Uitemate Method

When you get closer to a landing area, start to think ahead of what you need to do and be mindful of. Allow the Personal Water Craft operator to complete their final maneuvering. Continue to counter balance.

You may find that your legs have gone to sleep in a strange position or the cold has caught up to you. Take your time moving and getting off the Personal Water Craft.

Be mindful of the soil or area your feet will make contact with. Do not dive. Do not jump! Place your feet down slowly and firmly. You do not want to roll an ankle or trip and fall into the water.

If you can and are physically able, assist others from disembarking.

If you have any open cuts or wounds, you may need to get them cleaned out from contact with the water.

Now its time to get ready for your next evacuation plan, a shelter or a staging area or counseling!

Hopefully you never have this experience but these are some of the items I would like you to be aware of so you don’t experience any fear, frustration or worry. Better to know something than to know nothing at all.

Thanks for your time! Ask any questions you may have!

Special thanks to our Everyday Heroes in these photos. I am sending all my best thoughts to the responders in Japan, please join me!

Special thanks to this blog post: http://netgeek.biz/archives/122152

_________________
Posted 11.25.2018

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

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.

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.

IDENTIFY YOUR WEAK OPERATORS

BECOME THE STRENGTH

Identify Your Weak Operators. Identify your role as team leader or administrator.

Strength and Weakness are reciprocal. Insert either word and we still discover the same framework of concern.

How much foundational knowledge do you possess to manage a Marine Unit?

What is an Marine Unit Administrator? What is a Coxswain? They are the Operator. They are the Captain. They are in charge of the Crew. They are in charge of the ship (Rescue Water Craft). It is important to identify your weak Coswains for a variety of reasons:

1. Reduction of liability through competence
2. Teaming (building a cohesive unit)
3. Safety at Sea
4. Operational Integrity
5. Mentoring
6. Operational Acumen

It is the precision of opposites we identify. We can easily state this is the same 6 criterion needs for a strong operator or crew!

LACK OF EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT

When you can identify the weakness in your Operators you have a distinct advantage to identify the complimentary strengths in your team. This is something that needs to be conducted periodically.

How can you make an assessment?

1. Review the condition of the Rescue Water Craft(s)
2. Review the condition of the trailering and Transport equipment
3. Quiz the Operators
4. Skillset assess monthly the technical ability of your team
5. Rate the level of competency and assign the rating in the database
6. Describe the shortcomings and capabilities, make improvement on both!
7. Assign degrees of performance related to service work

If you have an Operator that is identified as problematic in techincal skills, but is high in managing equipment, perhaps a reassignment is necessary? Where are their strengths? What are they comfortable doing? What are the uncomfortable doing?

Provide an honest counseling session regarding performance, executive and completion of all tasks. Ask them if they would be willing to take on another level and manage that specific area of the program. Correlate that with documentation that will verify their factual performance and related success or defaults.

It is important that an administrator oversees and inspects the performance of the team, leaders and program guidelines.

You may need an outside program assessor to partner with who is unbiased but willing to check deficiencies that could lead to a lawsuit, injury, death or program destruction. There is nothing wrong with this, but everything goes wrong when it's not in place and considered important.

K38 Jet Ski Training

STRENGTH

Strength is a needed ingredient in program management and sustainability, but how do we measure strength?

Is id conducted by setting a program and essentially abandoning it year after year because its always been that way or do we determine to investigate the program failures and success?

That begins with the personnel in charge. Whether administrators, operators, crew or mechanics the teaming aspect is critical for future safety as well as present safety and program sustainability.

Make a commitment right now to review your Rescue Water Craft program.

Interview your team.

Ask them what they think is working well and what areas they would like to see changes.

Be courageous and represent integrity, as you may be saving one of your team members reputation or your own.

Care About Your Team

EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP CARES ABOUT RESULTS

Conduct periodic program reviews. Inspect equipment. Look at mishap or injury reports. Get the entire team together and ask them to share with you their concerns. Do they have adequate budget? Do they have the right equipment? Is the service of the boats adequate? Do they believe their skills are competent?

Review other mishaps. Can you see your team in the video or storyline?

...Otherwise the door is open for a mishap.

Don't wait until you have to learn from a lesson.

Take the lessons now and make a plan. A solid plan.

People do not have to get hurt, Rescue Water Craft do not have to be damaged to learn a lessonM, nor reputations damaged.

Backing up and slowing down your program flow can save your department and your staff intense grief and discouragement.

Review your mishaps. The story is in the actions and the subsequent behaviors can be alerted.

Ask us how we know?

Good luck, we wish you a safe and noble program that you are proud of and your people are operating safely!

_______________________________
Posted: 10.27.2018

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

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.

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.

IDENTIFY YOUR STRONG OPERATORS

COXSWAINS

Identify Your Strong Coxswains.

What is a Coxswain? They are the Operator. They are the Captain. They are in charge of the Crew. They are in charge of the ship (Rescue Water Craft). It is important to identify your strong Coswains for a variety of reasons:

1. Reduction of liability through competence
2. Teaming (building a cohesive unit)
3. Safety at Sea
4. Operational Integrity
5. Mentoring
6. Operational Acumen

MANAGEMENT

When you can identify the strength in your Operators you have a distinct advantage to identify the complimentary deficiencies in your team. This is something that needs to be conducted periodically.

How can you make an assessment?

1. Review the condition of the Rescue Water Craft(s)
2. Review the condition of the trailering and Transport equipment
3. Quiz the Operators
4. Skillset assess monthly the technical ability of your team
5. Rate the level of competency and assign the rating in the database
6. Describe the shortcomings and capabilities, make improvement on both!
7. Assign degrees of performance related to service work

If you have an Operator that is identified as problematic in techincal skills, but is high in managing equipment, perhaps a reassignment is necessary? Where are their strengths? What are they comfortable doing? What are the uncomfortable doing?

Provide an honest counseling session regarding performance, executive and completion of all tasks. Ask them if they would be willing to take on another level and manage that specific area of the program. Correlate that with documentation that will verify their factual performance and related success or defaults.

It is important that an administrator oversees and inspects the performance of the team, leaders and program guidelines.

K38 Jet Ski Training

STRENGTH

Strength is a needed ingredient in program management and sustainability, but how do we measure strength?

Is id conducted by setting a program and essentially abandoning it year after year because its always been that way or do we determine to investigate the program failures and success?

That begins with the personnel in charge. Whether administrators, operators, crew or mechanics the teaming aspect is critical for future safety as well as present safety and program sustainability.

Make a commitment right now to review your Rescue Water Craft program.

Interview your team.

Ask them what they think is working well and what areas they would like to see changes.

Be courageous and represent integrity, as you may be saving one of your team members reputation or your own.

Care About Your Team

PROGRESS IS EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP

...Otherwise the door is open for a mishap.

Don't wait until you have to learn from a lesson.

Take the lessons now and make a plan. A solid plan.

People do not have to get hurt, Rescue Water Craft do not have to be damaged to learn a lesson.

Today there are service providers such as K38 who have gone through the scale of difficulty and formatted procedures that
protect reputation, reduce risk of injury and accident and are on the frontline of knowledge.

If you do not have a subject matter expert on your staff who is invested in the Rescue Water Craft community and can represent 100 questions that are accurate about a Rescue Water Craft, 200 questions about the environment and 500 questions about how this lines up accidents, you may need to reach out and have your program reviewed.

Backing up and slowing down your program flow can save your department and your staff intense grief and discouragement.

Review your mishaps. The story is in the actions and the subsequent behaviors can be alerted.

Ask us how we know?

Good luck, we wish you a safe and noble program that you are proud of and your people are operating safely!

_______________________________
Posted: 10.27.2018

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

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.

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.

PROTECT YOUR HELM

DON'T DO THIS

Helm Safety is Security Underway.

I would advise all of Rescue Water Craft crews, teams and operators to never strap anything down on top of the Rescue Water Craft handlebars (helm) that places direct and consistent pressure against the helm station.

Rescue Water Craft helms do not have the structural strength in storage or transport to maintain a weight load placed up against them, let alone any ratchet cargo straps pressing down.

Disregarding the structural strength of the helm and over bearing a significant weight load against it could lead to a catastrophic failure of the helm.

Resulting in a serious mishap, injury or fatality.

Also to note that the rear stern re-boarding handle is also plastic and can suffer damage as well.

A rule of thumb? If you capsize your Rescue Water Craft and it heels over upside down in shallow waters, when you right it, check the re-boarding handle, rear seats and helm, forward cowling, turn the helm and pull back throttle and inspect the steering nozzle before you start the craft.

This typically happens because of a lack of education regarding the care and maintenance of the overall craft itself. A simple solution would be to have every member of your team read the Owner's Manual warnings and cautions of the Make, Model and Year of Production of your Rescue Water Craft.

Sheared off Helm

KNOW YOUR BOAT

Not all of the steering column necks are not metal fabrication unless you have an afermarket one designed for race builds. Construction can be a combination plastic and metal and both can receive stress fractures from objects that produce repetitive movement, such as air pushing against an IRB and creating a bounce affect with a downward force towards the Rescue Water Craft.

This could also be caused by a poorly maintained trailer where the trailer bunks are failing or the axle, tires and wheels are overloaded with more weight than their rating or the tongue weight is incorrect.

1. Protect the helm
2. Protect the handlebar grips to not cause rotation which can result in wrist flexion
3. Protect the throttle lever and clutch lever (port/starboard helm sides)

The only way you can inspect the helm after a transport such as this showed in the header photo is to remove the shroud and inspect the entire steering assembly closely and even then, maybe not.

First care is to protect the helm and the water jet pump because of their relationship values, inspect your throttle lever and don't allow any lines near it, that could be a fatal mistake.

You don't want to be underway and have your helm shear off when hand hold forces are applied and it let's go, loss of steerage and stopping distance to fixed objects or other crews cannot be controlled at this point, and the operator and or crew could be ejected.

This could become a serious situation if ignored due to not understanding the craft, not knowing its construction design and not having enough storage for ancillary gear.

Remember, you are a mariner, not a rescuer!

Don't get it backwards! Repeat after me: I am a mariner.

Know your boat as a prudent mariner and care for them as you care for yourself; rescue is an application of our maritime community. It is one facet of operations. If you consider yourself a rescuer first you are going to experience many mishaps and chronic failures of your Rescue Water Craft Program.

Recommendation: Deflate the hypalon tubes for the IRB and set your gear up on site instead, don't compromise your boats. Don't strap anything above the helm station. Take a RWC maintenance course, check ours out!

Ask me how I know? lol

_____________________

Posted: 9.14.2018

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

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.

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.

KIDDE FIRE EXTINGUISHER RECALL

RECALL

Back in late 2017 a Kidde fire extinguisher recall notice was sent throughout our Marine community. However we have noticed many of our colleagues are not using fire extinguishers in their Rescue Water Craft. We are required by law to carry on board the proper fire extinguisher. Since the recall, there has been confusion on what type will fit in the secure areas onboard Rescue Water Craft. Sharing with you the fire extinguishers we are using on our K38 Kawasaki Ultra LX Jet Skis. Please read this article and make sure you replace yours if you did not get the notice!

November 2, 2017 - In conjunction with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Kidde announced a recall to replace certain Kidde fire extinguishers. The replacement program was initiated because certain fire extinguishers can become clogged or require excessive force to activate, posing a risk of failure to discharge. In addition, the nozzle can detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard. The product recall involves two styles of Kidde disposable fire extinguishers: plastic handle fire extinguishers and plastic push-button fire extinguishers.

At Kidde, the safety of our customers is our priority. We have identified a potential product safety issue related to certain fire extinguishers.

As a result, Kidde is voluntarily recalling these extinguishers. This guide will help you identify whether your fire extinguisher is included in the recall, and show you where to find the information needed to process your request for a free replacement.

Affected Fire Extinguishers with Plastic Handles
There are two styles of fire extinguishers included in the recall: certain plastic handle fire extinguishers and push-button Pindicator fire extinguishers.

If the extinguisher has a gauge, the first thing to look for is a vertically oriented pull pin that is either fixed with two connections or hanging with a single connection.

Push-Button Pindicator Fire Extinguishers
The other type of affected extinguisher is the push-button Pindicator design. These extinguishers have push buttons, and a T-shaped pull pin and a loop handle. These units come in two sizes and are either red or white.

First Alert Marine Compact Fire Extinguisher 5-B:C

REPLACE

Note to Personal Watercraft Owners
If your push-button Pindicator model is used with a personal watercraft, Kidde does not currently have an exact replacement for it, but will provide a replacement that is U.S. Coast Guard rated, and similar in size. While it may not fit in the same location as the extinguisher that you currently have, there may be another space on your watercraft where the extinguisher can be stored or mounted.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE KIDDE REPLACEMENT MANY NOT FIT IN EXISTING PERSONAL WATERCRAFT COMPARTMENTS, WE DO HOWEVER HAVE A LIMITED QUANTITY OF EXACT FIT REPLACEMENTS AVAILABLE IN OUR SERVICE DEPARTMENT. GIVE US A CALL TODAY (231) 220-2128 FOR DETAILS ON THE REPLACEMENT.

Non-Affected Fire Extinguishers with Metal Handles
If your extinguisher has a metal handle and metal pull pin – in any style – it is not affected.

Non-Affected Fire Extinguishers with Plastic Handles
Plastic handle extinguishers with horizontal plastic pull pins and a curved black plastic handle are also not affected.

These units come in various sizes and are either red, white or silver and can be ABC or BC rated but the important thing to remember is the horizontal plastic pull pin and curved black plastic handle.

For more information about how to determine if your extinguisher is affected:

Recall Video

Affected models

We have Four Kawasaki Ultra LX 2017 Jet Ski models currently. These are the fire extinguishers we recommend.
_________________

Posted: 8.31. 2018

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

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.

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.

VHF Radio Use for Rescue Water Craft

MARINE VHF RADIO

Let’s take a very quick basic overview of the use and function of a Marine VHF radio analog technology. Keep in mind there is a lot more to know FOR VHF Radio use, so use this guide as a precursor for further educational benefits by conducting your own research. VHF band is by law intended for use by mariners.

TERMINOLOGY-Marine VHF radio refers to the radio frequency range between 156 and 174 MHz VHF signifies the ‘Very High Frequency’ of that range. So that leads to what is MHz? Megahertz is used to express microprocessor clock speed. The unit is occasionally used in measurements of bandwidth for high speed digital data, analog and digital video signals and spread spectrum signals.

CHANNEL 16-Here in the USA, on a hand held Marine VHF radio Channel 16 (156.800 MHz) is reserved for distress messages only. It is not to be used to make contact with other mariners. You also would not conduct your radio check on this channel! Channel 16 is monitored by the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and they will issue weather, hazards and restriction placed on navigation alerts when they are needed in your area of operation (AO). There are 50 different channels available with select defined roles by the FCC. Once contact is made on Channel 16 the USCG may redirect you to another channel.

Channel 16 should be monitored when you are underway in case a distress signal and request for emergency support is issued you can respond. Keep this channel open for those who truly are in need of lifesaving connectivity.

ETIQUETTE - Do not use foul language, do not allow children to handle your Marine VHF radio but do teach them how to use it properly for an emergency distress call, it is not a toy, and is monitored for transmissions that are forbidden. Keep Channel 16 open for true emergencies. Know the channels and their complimentary functions.

But most importantly, know your radio! You may want to place in a waterproof bag, and not all of them float. So we operate with them affixed to the front of our lifejacket, but not near our chest, off towards our shoulders. Marine VHF is not for shore use only for on-water, if used on land you are in violation of the law unless you have a special permit.

Don’t hog a channel, be mindful others may need to use it, it’s not a social device for communication but is intended to support safety at sea and navigational needs.

BATTERY-They have a self-contained antenna and battery pack. Normal range of battery life is approximately 8 hours, but it depends, some claim 20 hours of use, but for me, it’s dependent on location, weather and use of the radio. Batteries can fail due to corrosion of it the case is cracked of the cover not secure. Also make sure you use the proper charger and follow the charging instructions.

GPS

VISUALS-Being able to see the display helps to know which channel you are on. You can lock the channel in as well, we use iCom radios. Dot Matrix Display is helpful when choosing the menu functions, over a standard 7 segment LCD display. Dot Matrix pixilation count is rated for its screen resolution. Some are backlit brighter than others and the buttons as well.

GLOBAL-Some of the radios have a built in GPS that can send to the USCG your exact position in case of emergency. This provides you your Latitude and Longitude position. You can used stored waypoints with this feature for navigation. Some radios have Digital Selective Calling (DSC), it’s similar to using a device like Spot Locators as an emergency beacon. You just have to push down on a button usually lit as a red or orange emergency distress and it will send an automated digital distress message to the USCG and others vessels with radios in the vicinity. Channel 70 is Note that channel 70 is now authorized only for Digital Selective Calling, an emergency automated distress system mandated by international treaty; channel 70 may no longer be used for voice communication

This feature is great because you can store your emergency contacts. Some radios have other accessories such as different battery types or headsets. You can use your radio to hail Towing companies such as Vessel Assist, which is more reliable than using a cell phone due to dropped calls and on-water range, waterproofing and battery life.
K38 recommends you have a separate GPS tracking device. In case one fails you have a backup.

RWC VHF Radio

CARE

WATTAGE-There are limitations of range due to a transmit power of six watts. This is why you see some RWC operators in calmer waterways adding a larger external antenna to transmit from a high location. For our Rescue Water Craft use you can average a five watt transmit power to work at three to eight miles of range with variables. Switching to some models using higher watt output you may drain your battery quicker, so be careful on your settings.

Recreational Marine VHF radios for recreational boaters are limited to output of 25 watts so transmitters cannot be boosted and operate on a line of sight between stations, the higher the atenna the better the result. However our handhelds are limited.

BATTERY LIFE-Radio manufactures have a generic recommendation for battery life. 90% standby, 5% to receive and 5% to transmit at high power. Read the owner’s manual and you can have great tutorials on your specific brand model.

By having your radio with you on your person you can communicate when away from your Rescue Water Craft, which is a great safety feature for yourself as the Operator or Crew. Even better if the vessel capsizes and you are separated from the RWC you have a safety threshold to hail for assistance.

CAREFUL-Do not drop your radio! This is how irreversible damage occurs and can render the radio dead. Also any strikes to helm while underway can damage the lens or the housing and destroy your radio, so use due care! Never store your radio inside the glove box or any other compartment without completely protecting your radio from strike damage and breakage!

Make sure you use silicone grease to maintain an anti-corrosion base your battery housing for water or condensation inside the housing, mainly near the battery cover opening and the buttons and the antenna base. Apply silicone weekly to the battery terminals. Make sure the radio is dry before placing in charger.

Do not bend the antenna! If the rubber is cracked, replaced the antenna immediately.

Rinse with fresh water! What I like to do is to evacuate the water from the microphone and button areas to try to reduce the signature of corrosion. Conduct a final post inspection by opening up the battery case and look for condensation or water invasion, cracks in the case and be sure to use silicone grease to maintain anti-corrosion practices.

CHECK! If you want to hail a second Rescue Water Craft or vessel here is some advice:

1. Before you splash your RWC, make sure your radio is fully charged.
2. Power your Radio ‘on’.
3. Set your volume and squelch buttons.
4. Conduct a Radio Check on Channel 9 (noncommercial and non-emergency channel)
5. Make sure you are both operating on the same radio channel, Ch. 1078 is good for some areas if there is not a lot of traffic, but then switch back to 16 when underway to listen for emergencies
6. You can also monitor your local weather broadcasts on your VHF radio
7. Push down the mic key for clearance to talk, it’s usually located on the side of the radio, then send your message and depress the key button.
8. Hail the second RWC pressing the mic key and holding it by stating the vessel name twice, followed by your vessels name: “K38 one, K38 one, this is K38 two on Channel 1078, over” release the key.
9. Once contact is made, and our conversation is completed “K38 two returning to standby Channel 16 or K38 two out”. Do not say ‘over out’.
10. Channel 9 is designated for the boat calling channel (156.450 MHz)

Don't leave shore without your VHF Radio

EMERGENCY

1. Securite-Securite-Securite: Warns crew or others about important safety information. Also used to issue warnings and meteorological updates. Such as towing someone with restricted maneuverability and you want others to avoid you.

2. Pan-Pan-Pan: Urgent situation but not at imminent risk. You are in moderate risk, and a hazard to navigation

3. Mayday-Mayday-Mayday: SOS distress signal. Sets Search and Rescue (SAR) in motion. Life threatening situation. You are going down, you have lost a man overboard or you are heading to the beach or rocks, imminent danger.

During emergencies we can rely on our volunteer Ham radio operators. Ham radio operators using their frequency will state ‘Break-Break-Break’ as the equivalent to a Mayday call, never use the term ‘Break’ unless imminent threat to property or life is present.

REFERENCE

Channel 16
International Distress, Safety and Calling. Ships required to carry radio, USCG, and most coast stations maintain a listening watch on this channel.

Channel 70
Digital Selective Calling (voice communications not allowed)

Channel 1078
Non-Commercial. VDSMS (USA Great Lakes commercial channels 1079, 1080)

USCG INFORMATION: Frequencies are in MHz. Modulation is 16KF3E or 16KG3E.
Note that the four digit channel number beginning with the digits "10" indicates simplex use of the ship station transmit side of what had been an international duplex channel. These new channel numbers, now recognized internationally, were previously designated in the US by the two digit channel number ending with the letter "A". That is, the international channel 1005 has been designated in the US by channel 05A, and the US Coast Guard channel 1022 has been designated in the US as channel 22A. Four digit channels beginning with "20", sometimes shown by the two-digit channel number ending with the letter "B", indicates simplex use of the coast station transmit side of what normally was an international duplex channel. The U.S. does not currently use "B" or "20NN" channels in the VHF maritime band. Some VHF transceivers are equipped with an "International - U.S." switch to avoid conflicting use of these channels. See ITU Radio Regulation Appendix 18 and ITU-R M.1084-5 Annex 4.

These new channel numbers should eventually begin to be displayed on new models of VHF marine radios.
Boaters should normally use channels listed as Non-Commercial. Channel 16 is used for calling other stations or for distress alerting. Channel 13 should be used to contact a ship when there is danger of collision. All ships of length 20m or greater are required to guard VHF channel 13, in addition to VHF channel 16, when operating within U.S. territorial waters. Users may be fined by the FCC for improper use of these channels.

USCG Website

_______________________________
Posted: 8.28.2018

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

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.

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.

Constitutional Value

What Constitutes Your Rescue Water Craft Value?

What is your fundamental Rescue Water Craft fact presented to you filtered to a specific point of your actions and your agency perception? Can you decide what reduction or increase you allow or is compromised? Value can be determined as personnel safety and competency, financial, the importance, worth or usefulness of your RWC program, your program principles or standards, the benefit, gain or merit of your program.

These values are interpretive. To the extent of which is perceived by the group or measured by the instructor cadre and the expectation of the public for a reliable service to be performed. We care about your reputation and your program. We have posted information to rally the community to take responsibility and contribute to reducing the injury accident rate by competent behaviors. First you have to know what you are doing for it to be a secondary benefit.

I have said before ‘Safety Means Danger’, and this means that each of us are placing ourselves in grave danger. Grave is an Old English word for ditch and in the sense of burial ‘graf’ is a Germanic language for grave meaning for heavy or gravity, if we base the saying ‘grave danger’ in etymological roots for us we can use it as a reminder to be prepared to avoid the grave through mistake. Of course this is my interpretation and you are welcome to select your own.

How do you rank?

The facts we have are in the domain of education and distributed through information outlets entrusted to instructors. Or for the modern push we can say for those who view YouTube videos and attempt to imitate what they best determine to be the ‘facts’. Is this reliable and if so how do we account for leveraging the facts to interpret if they are determinable for our increase of safety and our reduction of danger?

Risk management is a solid aim, its truth lies in the details. For this we must remain constantly vigilant for our personal safety and to ensure our program stays in step with current changes in our equipment.

Yes, accidents will happen and so can injuries. There are RWC answers and information that is credible that can assist your department in mitigating these risks significantly. Conduct effective RWC research and do your homework, both at the inception of a Rescue Water Craft program and with an annual review. You will feel better knowing that you applied your best effort to the facts at hand.

Perception and facts can be targeted by groups, hubris, and the individual who reduces the structure of facts to a single point of values in the agency, community or individuals facts. How are these gauged? Usually after an accident or an injury. So once again, conduct effective research and be prepared to present facts vs. perceptions when the occasion arises.

Rescue Board Training and Inspection

MANAGEMENT

Any accident is a story that tells our behavioral trackline. Typically a lot of mishaps can be prevented simply by incorporating an effective preventative maintenance and inspection program. Often the facts are obvious, but ignored. Such as a crease in the rescue board or its anchor points are frayed, or the Rescue Water Craft hours are not maintained according to the manufacturer recommendations for inspection, replacement and care.

Compromise eventually catches up to us. It’s not easy to maintain a Marine Unit. It requires a lot of dedication towards program management, team building and a strong knowledge base.

Unfortunately often due to the demands of budget limits many programs are greatly reduced or in the process of reduction from a functional structure. Time is a big part of the Rescue Water Craft structure. Applying the appropriate amount of time to create a rule based program and to enforce its governing principles is key. This will require that effective checklists are generated for not only the Rescue Water Craft, but all the accessory equipment, training and maintenance needs.

If you are open to a suggestion, think about the amount of time allocated for maintaining your program. List the following:

1. Annual budgets: Vessels, accessories, maintenance, training
2. Replacement budget for losses/damage
3. Training hours focused on ‘training with purpose’. Make sure you are training for the results you can expect in the field. Forget YouTube videos for a while and look at your agency or neighboring agency past incidents and revisit the actions of the survivors you worked with and start from there.
4. Practice the ending! The transport, care and extrication of your survivors and gear.
5. Join the Rescue Water Craft Association and get connected with Subject Matter Experts
6. Attend the WaterRescueCon-the only RWC conference in the world.

When you take the lead, you are helping an entire team, their families and the public at large. There is no greater accomplishment knowing that you have spread a protective layer over many, including yourself. Not easy, but you can do this!

_______________________________

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

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.

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.

A Moment for Safety

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

When you have accomplished your mission you know you are paying attention to risk!

Do not be afraid to fail, that is what training is about. Its actually required unless you already know the content.

But for the first time learner an effective instructor will translate to the student the best measures to approach the problem with credible solutions.

The mission is delivered when there are no mishaps, the operations are based on technical boating, proper PPE is assigned, and training is documented along with the program needs. If this is not taking place, stop and restart the program before a mishap occurs.

Successful mission outcomes are great, but it comes with a heft investment of time, personnel and funding.

Updates cannot happen within an agency, they must come from those who are in the field and discovering content, creating content, testing the content, measuring the content and delivering the content. This is what qualified instructors bring to an agency versus a 'train the trainer' format that weakens the foundation strength.

It's been proven that intellectual knowledge is delivered from subject matter experts. Most training programs do not maintain or reach their potential due to downsizing the curriculum to save time. Those agencies should not have a Rescue Water Craft marine unit. Maintaining a boat unit is an expansive responsibility.

Oftentimes agencies treat the Rescue Water Craft program as a rescue asset instead of a boat asset. The two are in conflict with on another. Boating must come first, rescue is the final application.

Students must want to learn and content must be updated annually for this to happen.

How do you rank?

Your must evaluate your training program. You need a baseline measure to compare the success from failure.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you have the proper fitted and sized PPE?
2. Do you evaluate physical fitness levels and how often?
3. Are your checklists signed off by the individual who tasks the assignment?
4. Are your RWC's pulled out of service when there is questionable operational behaviors?
5. Are your rescue boards inspected?
6. Trailer inspection list, how often?
7. Weather and water conditions listed in training logs?
8. Individual training logs and results maintained.
9. Equipment is retired according to use and wear and manufacturer recommendations.
10. Is your team certification current and valid for 3 years?
11. Do you review your curriculum annually?
12. Has each team member read the manufacturers Owners Manual?
13. Does each team member hold a current valid Boat operators license or permit?
14. Do your team members know how to swim in the water you train in?

1 to 4 - AT RISK

5 to 8 - NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

9 to 12 - SECURE

Rescue Board Training and Inspection

CORRECTIONS

Any of the questions above that were not checked are the ones you need to focus on.

You can revise your program internally or hire a subject matter consultant. We can help you with that.

We have created hundreds of solutions for clients who knew their program was at risk. It's easy to correct. Don't let your program suffer or open up bigger problems down the line. Consider making your own program evaluation and presenting it to your
administration for review. Then tackle those concerns head on.

It's better to effect change before problems occur rather than when a mishap occurs. They can be costly in resource loss, out of service and injury recovery time due to loss of work for individuals.

Thank you for taking the short quiz and for caring about your Marine Unit.

Remember this: A moment for safety can save a lifetime of regret.
_______________________________

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

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.

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.

WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT PROGRAM STATUS?

CHECK!

Program status matters! It's how you ensure reputation and efficiency.

As a qualified Rescue Water Craft Coxswain what are your operational responsibilities?
They are a composite of equipment and personnel needs.


Ask yourself how many of these are incorporated in your Rescue Water Craft Program?
Let’s survey now! Select the number of program plans you already have in effect:

1. Rescue Water Craft Maintenance Records
2. Training Records
3. Inspection Records
4. Certifications, Re-certifications (Physical standard requirements)
5. Incident Histories
6. Mishap Reviews
7. Dated Revisions
8. Weather/Environmental Notes
9. Training Videos
10. PPE Records
11. TAD Records
12. Trailer Inspection Records

How do you rank?

1 to 4 - AT RISK

5 to 8 - NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

9 to 12 - SECURE

Rescue Board Training and Inspection

MANAGEMENT

It is a significant responsibility to maintain a professional marine RWC unit. It requires first of all a proper budget. Second effect training for the areas of response. Thirdly it requires inspection, maintenance and updates.

If you scored below 9 as a minimum it’s time to get to work! Make a list of the areas you need support in. If you need your program reviewed, we can assist you with that. Programs should be reviewed every three years, and assessed annually.

We wish you a safe and secure season and we know you care about your program or you wouldn’t be reading this story. You are the direct link to your team’s safety and public confidence, we are glad you are in our community. Let’s get to work!

_______________________________

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

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.

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.

MINDSET OF DENIAL

CHOOSE WELL

The deliberation to not act and go against standards of care, or the best practice is a serious violation of trust. Both personal, and public.

What motivates people to accept cutting corners, excuses, lack of leadership, budget and fatigue of not driving a program to successful completion?

Routines can be familiar but when one operator in a crew decides to deviate from the practices that were put in place, they open the liability door. Somebody pays the price. Others hide and live with grief and regret.

Sometimes personal character of an individual supersedes the motivation to serve the public instead of serving oneself. Manipulating a system for ulterior reasons, that are personal and not for the oath of service.

 When was the last time a mishap was reviewed in your department or group?
 How was the process engaged?
 Did you permit an outside subject matter expert to evaluate the data?
 Was the information distributed to enact change and address the identifiable issues?
 When a mishap occurs the obvious is determined. What did the operator, crew, mechanic or instructor miss?

Reputation can be evaluated on social media in a viral scope from all corners of the world and reference posters who may never have operated a Rescue Water Craft. Those posts will last a career span. Oftentimes they point out things that operators obviously missed, and its repeated hundreds of times, or memes and gifs go viral.

Many of the mishaps I review through social media had definite steps of setting up the accident that were clearly avoidable. But if the team instructor is not trained properly, and the student follows the same advice from the instructor, and there is no determination to challenge the training methods, it’s inevitable. Is this what people line up for?

Accidents, how often do we say ‘preventable’? It’s comedic, like ‘don’t do drugs’, or ‘don’t drive drunk’, or ‘turn around don’t drown’, phrases that have effect but are not practiced to stop the flow of risk. What does risk management mean? Safety is not a word, it is a way of being.

Many agencies should not have RWC programs. They are not ready. They have not conducted proper homework and they do not have the appropriate budget. But mainly they do not respect the craft or the usage.

Oftentimes those who created mishaps are rewarded with medals of heroism. This protects the mishaps from gifting the reward of progress and reducing risk for the next mission. In fact it enables the next disaster to go into effect.

Rescue Water Craft Training for Night Qualification

THESE QUESTIONS HAVE TO BE ASKED

Personalities are selected through a vetting process to match up to a specific job description, attitude and capability. They are put through paces, educated, corrected and evaluated to see if they have what it takes to qualify. Or not.

There are definite draws to the various water rescue disciplines from a variety of agency personnel from military to lifesaving. Certain personality types are easier to lead into excellence, while others may be less mature, or disciplined. Most of that is from peer influence and personal influences of upbringing, values, culture and spiritual commitments.

Some rescue minded persons are motivated to excel for personal gain, team effort, community support, private psychological drive and stacking up a value to the worth behind effort and the altruistic or personal rewards.

Experience and perspective come into play with the hours in the field, research and study, practice and industriousness. A conscientious person will pay attention to fulfillment of the mission full circle. Industrious people work very hard and can be irritated with the unproductive team members.

Sharing the labor load of the rescue scene is a conscientious person is going to work really hard, put in very long hours and be the last to leave. Persons who are orderly like to have everything in order and are always cleaning up behind everyone else, usually women tend to fill that role.

Sometimes they are over concerned about details and they may be disappointed in the personalities who are productive because they may be making more of a mess. Know how to orchestrate agreeable persons and disagreeable persons to try to balance out the complexities of teamwork.

Personal traits are a big source of conflict in teams. This can relate to mission work in tension, conflict and friction.

Knowing the various personalities it is imperative to place tested persons who thrived in the specific roles needed. For instance: It is important for an RWC Operator to be comfortable in the water they work in. If they are not comfortable, it may be time to replace this operator and bring them to shore support.

How do you identify a mishap or rate accidents? Moderate to significant or got lucky?

Oftentimes after reviewing serious mishaps that I know were preventable, I have to say, how could this department not recognize the potential for harm?

It usually comes down to a lack of boating knowledge. They may have knowledge that is excellent in other stages of rescue, but when it comes to operating or implementing a power water craft program, they have assessed a casual program when in fact this is a high risk marine operation.

Who are your Subject Matter Experts? How were they tested and selected? What world experience do they have that is recent within the past 30 days and 30 years?

Oftentimes when I review a program, the organization was not prepared to have a marine unit. They lacked knowledge of the craft, maintenance schedules and budget. But mainly they lacked follow through after training to ensure their program was sustainable.

Acquiring a certificate will not protect you. The entire program needs to be reviewed annually. All mishaps must be reviewed and adjusted. Outside sources should be sought for additional knowledge based on modernizing any loopholes. Personal Protective Equipment has to be effective and replaced as needed along with RWC accessory devices.

Boating rules and regulations are constantly broken by public safety agencies using Rescue Water Craft. Lifejackets are not worn, rules of the road and not utilized, boating basics are not incorporated properly. Most of this is because training programs are outdated and incomplete.

Who is the program instructor and who backs their certification. Did your department determine if their certification was current and verifiable? Who wrote their training program, what type of craft and program management needs were resourced? How was this data entered and how is the program monitored and by whom?

How are the operators evaluated and why is their certification not revoked from a mishap and they get rolled back to training? How is the discipline process protected for teams, and who is the person monitoring and enforcing the program?

Rescue Board Training and Inspection

The community is fragmented by not conducted effective research. Instructors are self-proclaimed, self appointed or appointed by the agency and not evaluated annually. Instructors need to be assessed annually. Where does a RWC operator go for new content? Are they stepping outside their domain and going to where the value structure is: private enterprise.

People like to belong to something. They will affiliate with personalities that correspond with their own. Sometimes this is negative instead of creative. Creatures of comfort may protect hubris and not allow the science of physics to advance our culture.

Are you willing to let one of your team mates die and possibly yourself? Forget about the survivor, lets talk about the team. You cannot afford to be rescued during a rescue. How valuable is your career and reputation to you and your family? If you start with these simple values and expand them, it will be much easier to tune a program.

The Rescue Water Craft Association (RWCA) is the sole governing body for the RWC community. There is no other sole source that offers advances in the generation of knowledge. Others are taking micro steps. The best predictor for structure and rules applied comes from not only pioneers but those connected to the industry and a variety of water way needs, agency perspectives and direction.

The RWCA is our community peer group, it scales iinternationally. What we do is dangerous. It’s extremely dangerous. Think about it and let that sink in. Once you surrender to the risk involved it will be easier to being the process of engaging this risk to mitigate the flaws that exist and to clearly determine where they are and what can happen.

Because You Care.

Join today: RESCUE WATER CRAFT ASSOCIATION

Document Your RWC Program Results