I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that over the past year I’ve developed the rather disconcerting and frankly dangerous habit of falling out of boats. I’ve fallen out of boats in Russia, on the Skeena, on the Bow, and most recently on the Dean. In the process I’ve filled up my waders, banged up my shins, whacked my knees and elbows, and cut the heck out of my hand…oh and looked like a complete idiot most of the time too. I can’t quite figure out what’s wrong with me these days, but my 9 year old son thinks it has something to do with watching the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy.
I used to be able to leap out of boats like a 220 lb Johnny Depp, worst case scenario a temporary stumble or two; nowadays it’s so common for me to end up at least partially submerged that guys around camp are calling me ‘Splash’. You can avoid my fate by following a few simple rules when exiting watercraft:
- If at all possible, sit down inside the boat and swing both legs out, then stand up. This works well in rafts, sleds and some driftboats.
- If you can’t exit two feet first, get a firm two-handed grip on the side of the boat, lean forward and swing one leg out. When it’s planted firmly on the ground, swing the other out and stand up, maintaining your hold on the boat. This way if you slip you can use the boat for support. This is a useful technique when exiting high-sided sleds and driftboats.
- Keep in mind that most boats will rock when you exit, so be prepared for this and mind that you don’t get one of your feet caught or hit your back on a rising gunwale,and…
- Never, never, never exit a boat until the captain has told you to do so.