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Paddlesports training - Foundation Safety and Rescue Training

One of the adventures I am planning next year is a multi-day paddleboarding trip. Being in different places and on different waters means I need to know as much about water safety as possible.

So I enrolled onto a Foundation Safety and Rescue Training (FSRT) with Paddlesports Coaching. Encouraged by Neil Boast, leader of the River Deben Paddlers group, I went along with two swimming and paddling friends Selena and Penny.

What is FSRT?

This British Canoeing course promised to empower me with skills to rescue and safely manage common emergency situations in a sheltered water environment. I would gain confidence in self rescues and rescuing others. This award is all about keeping safe on sheltered water venues, equipping paddlers with a range of rescue skills so they can deal with any scenarios which may occur while on the water.

It provides training on key skills needed to operate safely and deal with common emergencies in a sheltered water environment. These skills then form the foundations for safety and rescue throughout British Canoeing Awarding Body awards. From January 2023, the Foundation Safety and Rescue Training will be replaced by the new Paddlesport Safety and Rescue course.

What was it like?

On a sunny day in October we turned up at the River Stour Trust Centre to meet with with Paddlesports Coaching and the other three people doing the course; Chris, Todd and .

We started with introductions and a look at the different types of rivercraft including kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. We discussed the different safety features on each craft. Then it was time to get changed for the water and have a cuppa in the sunshine.

First up was bank-based training such as how to assess a situation if a paddler was in trouble, how to throw a throw line and call to them, the hierarchy of risk and so on. We practised with the throw lines and rescued the instructor Jon who was being a swimmer in trouble.

We then got onto our own craft and had a paddle around as it was starting to get chilly. We then went through various paddleboard, kayak and canoe rescues in lots of different scenarios. We started off with just nudging another craft to shore with our own craft, and had a go at swapping craft. We then moved on to towing other craft with lines.

After lunch in the sun it was time for us to get wet! We went through various rescue techniques, including rescuing an unconscious paddleboarder, a paddler stuck upside down in their canoe and a kayak who had fallen out. We all had a go in different craft and learnt different techniques for getting people out of the water.

Would I recommend it?

Absolutely. Jon is a great course leader and made it fun. It is a really good course for anyone who paddles in any capacity, as well as those looking to go into paddlesports leadership. I certainly feel much more confident in my abilities of being able to rescue people. I also loved learning about other craft and having a try of some.

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