Explore, Experience and Enjoy the Beautiful Smith River in Southern Virginia

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sunday, June 27, 2010

River Rescue Class- June 20 2010

Members of local area paddling clubs converged on the Smith River below Martinsville Dam on a Sunday June 20 2010 for an all day River Rescue class.  The class was lead by Swift Water Rescue Instructor  Edgar Peck who teaches through Get Outdoors in Greensboro.

I want to thank Edgar Peck and Eric Stuart for taking their time to come to the Smith and teach the skills that will benefit both the experienced and novice area paddlers. At least 16 local paddlers took the course and spent the entire day honing skills and learning new techniques that could eventually save a life on the river.

Most river rescues classes are held in North Carolina on classic white water runs but with some prompting by Delane Heath and Smith River Valley Canoe Club along with other members of the local paddling clubs, Edgar was persuaded to come to the Smith to provide the much sought after instruction.

The ACA River Safety and Rescue (Level 3) was extensive training in general river rescue and many local area paddlers appreciate the chance to participate in the training .

“Not only was I glad to finally take a class from Edgar yesterday, I thought
it was really cool that so many of the participants were folks that I paddle
with. It not only made it an enjoyable day, but I think it will pay
dividends if we ever need to work together on a rescue in the future”- Delane Heath
The rescue class lasted 11 hours and went from dry land rope practice to in-water skills including:  Rescue Philosophy/ Scene Management, equipment, medical and legal considerations, hazards-hydrology (reading water signs),throw ropes, pins, entrapment, Snag and Tag Lines, swift water swimming techniques, swift water wading, and boat based rescue and recovery.  The last 2 hours of class were used to put in to practice all that was learned by participating in a variety of scenarios.
“There were so many important topics covered that I had been looking forward to
learning more about, like vertical pins, strainer drills, etc.  But I was really surprised at how many simple tools and tricks I picked up that I will be able to use ALL the time. Edgar had tricks to use for boat
rescues that were so simple I can't believe I have not seen someone use them before. And we all know how often we have to wrangle lost boats. He had a trick for retrieving paddles that, again, was so simple that I seriously don't know why I hadn't thought of it before. His method for making a quick
second and third throw after a rope is already extended in the river was simple and super effective. Just lots and lots of cool things like that. So thanks to Edgar and Eric and thanks to all the folks that took the class with me. Thanks to Brian Williams and Eric Juday for working with Edgar to find a suitable
location and for Edgar investing the time during the week to scout the Smith.  And I have to say, if you want to beat the heat, standing in the Smith for about 6 hours certainly does the trick.” Delane Heath

It was a long day but well worth it !  We all needed rescue rope throwing practice and this really helped.  Everyone that participated was out there because they care about their fellow paddlers and want to be able to respond effectively to someone in trouble on the river. It was awesome to see all the paddlers out there who cared enough to be out there learning as much as they could.  Edgar kept throwing out new things for us and everyone kept coming back for more.  Just about 11 hours later we were cold exhausted but still excited about our new found skills” Brian Williams

The previous week, Edgar had come to the Smith River to scout out a suitable location for the Class, he had never paddled the Smith and knew little about the locations, water temperatures, and access points.  He called for some help and I was able to take him to several locations until we found one with the right conditions, deep enough and swift enough for training.  Even below the Martinsville Dam, 5 or 6 hours n the water and you start to really understand the effects of hypothermia. 

“I learned I could do things well that I didn't think I could do at all. I still have a long way to go to be
truly as safe as possible but I loved every long minute of the class . I was very proud of our group when Edgar said that he had to change his usual advice of communication at the end of the class because we already worked together so well. I will also say that I learned the different techniques for taking a long swim to protect your energy levels but reach the shore safely.” – Traci Petty

 To see all of the days pictures go here: