My friend Beth has built a small business around kayaking for open water marathon swimmers. She paddled for 12 Catalina crossings this year as well as guiding me on my 12.6 mile swim from Manhattan Beach to Santa Monica back in October. She has a major interest in swimmer safety and educating other kayakers on how to best keep their swimmers in line and out of trouble. She sent me a document that she recently put together that outlines a lot of things that swimmers and kayakers need to think about before they get in the water and while they’re in the midst of their swims. I think there’s a lot of good stuff in there and figured I should share, it’s definitely worth a read.
Here’s a brief excerpt about having a plan:
Q: Will there be a ‘plan’ before we get into the open water?
A: A ‘plan’ is the first thing the swimmer and kayaker should always discuss. If it is the first time meeting there are questions to ask and guidelines to discuss. Some first questions to be answered by the swimmer before entering the water:
What is your normal stroke count and does it slow progressively or is it constant? Kayaker will be monitoring stroke count at regular intervals.
- How do you breathe? One side or bi-lateral? The answer to this will determine position of the kayak but it might also take time to establish the perfect positioning once the swim is underway.
- What is your desired feeding schedule and what do you eat/drink?
- Do you want me to alert you to the presence of marine life in the water?
- How do you want me to alert you when it’s time to eat?
- Do you trust me to make decisions concerning your safety while you’re in the water?