The term ‘swift water’ or ‘white water’ is used to describe the state of a river after heavy rains or a dam release.
In Tasmania, this flood state does occur and a sudden deluge can often carry fallen trees and branches with it, causing dangerous obstacles to form. Existing foliage growth and rocks can form additional obstacles. Together with fast, turbulent water waves, rapids and eddies form in the river that are exciting and challenge even experienced paddlers.
• Develop skills, knowledge and experience through a local paddling or boating club or training provider.
• Be very familiar with swift water features, avoidance techniques and basic rescue skills.
• Ensure your group has adequate skills, knowledge and equipment to complete the trip safely. Before getting on the river
• Check the level and condition of the river. In flood it will be much faster and more dangerous. Contact the local Department of Parks and Wildlife office if in doubt.
• Do not attempt rivers or rapids that are beyond your fitness and paddling or boating ability. If in doubt, stay out!
• Let someone know where you are going and what time to expect you back.
Top 10 tips for a swift water paddler
1. Join a paddling or boating club or find a training provider to teach you the correct paddling technique and safety skills required.
2. Know your own limitations and capabilities and don’t attempt environments beyond them.
3. Let someone know before you go and when you return.
4. Check your craft and equipment are suitable for the conditions and in good repair.
5. Dress for cold conditions, hypothermia can set in very quickly.
6. Carry some energy bars and a flask of hot drink.
7. Wear a lifejacket and helmet to save your life.
8. Never paddle alone, minimum of three in a group.
9. Start the trip early in the day to avoid low light conditions.
10. If in doubt; don’t!
The Rescue Services Forum makes up part of our ongoing program of training for Flood Swift Water Rescue Operations to further enhance Surf Life Saving Tasmania’s inland, inshore and offshore rescue capabilities” said Boyd Griggs, Lifesaving & Services Manager.