Friday, September 14, 2007

Drydeck Safely?

Is Creeking in a Drydeck Safe?

I've been using a drydeck for about 3 years. They are great for playboating as they are super comfortable, usually super dry (depending on the boat) and can be even cheaper than buying a skirt and drytop separately. Some folks think they are a bit dangerous, either because when/if you swim you're gonna get more wet or getting hung up on a log, or other hazard and being unable to free yourself. I creek in a drydeck in the warmer month because I find them dryer and more comfortable, easier to dress etc. I just got a new IR drydeck to fit a recent switch to Riot boats. Its my second IR deck and I've been really happy with it so far and IR's service (No, I'm not sponsored but I wouldn't mind one!)

I've never really worried to much about getting wet while swimming. Its gonna happen unless you're in a drysuit (and sometimes even then). As for entrapment, until recently, I had never heard of anyone actually get their skirt hung up and be saved by pulling themselves out through the tunnel. Now I've heard of it once from Jesse Coombs.

Its been my opinion that creeking in a drydeck is just as safe as creeking without a facemask or without body armor. I agree that it may be slightly more hazardous but the extra risk is minimal an manageable, same as wearing a helmet without a facemask or using a back deck roll while creeking. All of which I do. Granted there are probably more people that wear helmets without face masks than creek in a drydeck but I want to hear what ya'll think.

Hit me!



AustinR said...

First of all, I support ever individuals right to make there own choices on the river. In creeking, especially class V, safety must always come first, in my opinion. Thus said, if wearing a drydeck creeking adds to the inherent risk, wouldn't it be safe to say that by wearing one, you are not putting safety first? I agree the risk is minimal and uncommon, but so is foot entrapment, and we all just watched a great paddler drown this summer from that. Do what you feel is safe and right on the river, but remember your choices don't only affect you, they affect your team as well.
Good lines
Austin R.

EJ said...

Thanks for your Comment!

Do you think the risk is any greater than wearing a drytop and shorts on a cold day or cold river? Or greater than wearing a helmet without a facemask? Or not carrying a breakdown paddle all the time? Or greater than any number of common things we have all done. Keep in mind, I don't say that because we all do it, its safe BUT there are so many possible things that can happen that we can't prepare for them all. While I have never been trapped by my drydeck, or had my foot trapped, I do realize that kayaking is and inherently risky sport and no choice of clothing will ever reduce the risk to nill. Perhaps it would be safer to not creek in a drydeck, but it would also be safer to paddling in a facemask and always paddle in a drysuit and always carry a breakdown, or an extra skirt, or extra layers and a bivy etc.. Where should we draw the line on how 'safe' to be?

Thanks again for your comment AustinR!

Anonymous said...

ej, the mindset that dry decks are inherently more dangerous than normal sprayskirts is kind of a non-argument. You can always come up with a failure scenario regarding the gear you chose to use (face masks snag). It comes down to what you're comfy in and what's appropriate for the conditions and to an extent just bad luck. I've seen someone snag a skirt underwater while swimming and not be able to unhook it themselves for a bit until he got turned so he could reach it. Sliding out of the tube wasn't an option although cutting was an option. You swim as much me and you're comfortable with your choice. Next time you head to the UU give me shout.