Day 110: Kayak Rescues and… a bonus new thing!

Today I actually did 2 new things! I know, I know… impressive, eh? Well, the one required the other, so I found myself being doubly adventurous. I am a kayak instructor at L.L. Bean for their Outdoor Discovery School, and today we had training to learn on-water rescues. I have been kayaking for years, but have never learned any rescues, and thankfully have never had to attempt them. I was super excited for this one.

However, spending some time in cold lake water in May is not ideal, and it was recommended that we wear… wetsuits! Surprise! Another first! Although, this was a first I was not excited about.

Thankfully, I was able to borrow a wet suit from my friends, Luis and Annemarie. When they gave me the wetsuit they told me that they recommended peeing in it, saying that this would help keep me warmer. My first thought was, “You’re kidding… you’re telling me to pee in your wetsuit?” My second thought was, “You’re giving me a peed-in wetsuit!” This wetsuit idea was becoming unattractive.

Later, when I tried it on, it was even more unattractive. Wetsuits are not the most flattering thing you can wear. Let me rephrase that. Wetsuits are the most unflattering thing you can wear.

So today we all (the other kayak instructors, myself, and our supervisor) suited up in our wetsuits (or drysuits) and headed out onto the lake. The warmth we felt from the sun and our exertion from carrying kayaks in and out of the trailer, mixed with the heat from wearing the wetsuits was unbearable. By the time I actually “fell” out of my kayak, I was so hot that the water felt really refreshing and was a welcomed temperature change.

Now, let me rewind a little bit. About 3 hours before we actually paddled out onto the lake, I got a medium Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee on my way to the site. I drank it. From the minute I got out of my car, I had to pee. But, with Luis and Annemarie’s disgusting recommendation in my head, I held it (for you know when). Then, once at the site, I started drinking water as we were getting the kayaks out, going over first-aid, etc due to the hot sun. So, fast forward to paddling out, and you can understand why I was extra-excited for finally getting on (and in) the lake!

Now onto the kayak rescues… I learned three rescues: the T-rescue and the Scoop rescue (for getting someone else into their capsized boat) and then a self-rescue (for getting myself back into my capsized boat). I had to perform each one as the rescuer and as the victim. It was awesome learning these rescues. I feel very empowered and safe knowing that if I had to, I could get a guy 3 times my size back in his boat, or get myself back in my own boat.

The T-rescue is probably my favorite for getting someone else in their boat, and the Scoop for someone else getting me back in my boat. As for the self-rescue I learned, I’m not a huge fan. It’s kind of a process. But hey, it works. If you want to see examples of these rescues, you can visit REI’s YouTube page and watch and learn to your heart’s extent.

Once we got back to shore, I thought the hard parts of the day were over. I was wrong.

Getting out a wet wetsuit… yea, definitely not one of the items on my list of fun things to do on a summer day.

(Oh, and for the record… I peed in my wetsuit… And I stayed very warm… Yes, I know, disgusting… Don’t worry, I scrubbed myself clean when I got home.)

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2 Comments on “Day 110: Kayak Rescues and… a bonus new thing!”

  1. Chelsea Knechel Says:

    this would have been a PERFECT post to include pictures in. :) Bummer.

    • Sarah Sullivan Says:

      i know! if i had known steve was going to stay in his kayak, i would’ve had him take my camera!!! (not that i would ever have wanted a picture documenting me in a wetsuit:)


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