PADDLERsmart! Canada Knowledge Base

Module 06 - Emergency Preparedness



Always opt for the least dangerous rescue technique when you’re rescuing another paddler. The following rescue options are progressively more dangerous to the rescuer and should be practiced in a controlled area before being performed: 

1) Reach (This is the safest option):

  • First, get the capsized paddler’s attention using your voice, a whistle or another sound signaling device.
  • Then, reach a hand or paddle towards the capsized paddler and pull them to safety.

2) Throw:

  • If the capsized paddler is too far away from you to use the ‘reach’ technique, you should throw them a rope with a flotation aid that they can grab onto.
  • Once the capsized paddler has grasped the end of the rope, pull them to safety.

3) Row:

  • If the capsized paddler cannot be reached using the ‘reach’ or ‘throw’ techniques, you should attempt to paddle out to them.
  • Paddle just close enough so that the capsized paddler can be pulled to safety using the ‘reach’ or ‘throw’ techniques.

4) Go:

  • The ‘go’ option should be your very LAST option—it places the rescuer in a very dangerous position.
  • To perform this rescue technique, swim to the aid of the capsized paddler while bystanders call for help.
  • This technique should only be performed by trained rescuers and as a last resort.


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