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    Row, Row, Row

    Photo By Pamela Doty | By R.J. Garren read more read more



    Story by Pamela Doty 

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Water Safety

    My previous blog addressed the importance of everyone knowing the reach, throw, and never go rescue techniques. These are ways to rescue someone struggling in the water that ensures both the rescuer and the victim will survive. I’m a retired park ranger and everyone who works on our nation’s lakes and waterways knows there’s another simple technique that fits into this recitation. They know it as reach, throw, ROW, and never go.

    Even children as soon as they’re able to understand should be trained in reach, throw, row, but never go method of rescue. At a lake near me, an 8-year-old boy learned this rescue method from a park ranger that visited his school a year or so prior to a boating accident that could have easily ended in tragedy. The boy was wearing a life jacket because in his state, and in most other states, children under 13 are required by law to do that. His grandfather was not wearing a life jacket because he thought he was a strong swimmer. They had stopped to fish in their small boat and in a blink of an eye their lives were changed forever. A large wave made the grandfather lose his balance and he was thrown overboard approximately 300 yards from the shore. The waves prevented him from getting a good breath of air and he struggled to swim. The boy threw his grandpa a rope to pull him closer to the boat. The grandfather was exhausted and didn’t have the strength to get back into the boat. Fortunately, he had taught his grandson how to operate the trolling motor. The boy tied the rope to the boat and trolled to the shore where his grandpa was able to recover until he could get back on board. The grandfather said on the news that his grandson saved his life and in regards to life jackets he said, “Somewhere between the age of 16 and my age you better start wearing them again!” The grandfather learned the hard way the importance of always wearing a life jacket.

    Another rowing rescue I heard involved a park ranger who was actually on the shore. The ranger saw someone trying to swim to an opposite shoreline that didn’t look like they were going to make it. The ranger called out for help to a boat near the person who was struggling and the boaters were able to rescue a man just as he was showing some of the typical signs of a drowning victim. The man admitted afterwards that he had overestimated the distance to the shore and his swimming abilities.

    Rowing rescues have also involved people paddling all kinds of watercraft (i.e. kayak, canoe, paddleboard, surfboard and inflatables). Paddlers, even if they consider themselves strong swimmers, should always wear a life jacket when attempting to rescue someone struggling to survive in the water. Unfortunately, many people have learned hard lessons from accidents that didn’t end positively like these stories because they were not aware of the reach, throw, row, but never go rescue method. There’s another lesson in these stories and it’s that people often overestimate their swimming ability, so please always wear a life jacket. For adults, a belt-type-inflatable life jacket that requires manual inflation doesn’t impair your swimming ability and it is there if you need it. If you don’t wear it for yourself, wear it for those who love you.



    Date Taken: 06.05.2018
    Date Posted: 06.05.2018 17:24
    Story ID: 279725
    Location: US

    Web Views: 36
    Downloads: 0