I can’t swim. Can I still come on tour?
We’ve been running our tours for almost 7 years now so we’ve met and managed absolutely every level of capability in that time.
Some of our guests are obviously a little scared or nervous when they arrive. We can see it. We ‘feel’ it! They have a certain hesitation, a certain look in their eyes….
We’re sure that they expect us to ask “can you swim” and then maybe they hope that when they say they can’t, we’ll say “sorry, but we can’t take you….” (They’re usually the people who were just dragged along by an enthusiastic friend or family member.)
We don’t ask people if they can swim . Why not?
Because there’s only 2 answers: yes or no. And everyone’s assessment of their own ability in water varies greatly. If someone says they can swim, we assume they can swim at least 50 metres without stopping.
We actually feel better about the other answer: No. I can’t swim. Okay – got that. All good.
Because we assume that nobody on our tours can swim….
How can that be safe?
- every single person is fitted with a PFD (a personal flotation device)
- children are fitted with a PFD Type 100 – these are designed to hold a child’s head above water until someone can rescue them.
- most of the sections of river we paddle are quite shallow.
- when we’re paddling in deeper water, our guides are on higher alert. It’s not obvious to the paddlers, but we deliberately steer them closer to the sandy beaches if we are concerned about the paddler’s ability to stay afloat.
- our kayaks are extraordinarily difficult to tip over! Hobie kayaks are the best and most stable you can get and actually difficult to capsize.
If a paddler DOES end up in the drink – we’re trained to rescue them
The river we paddle on plays a big part of our Risk Management Plan. It is sandy bottomed, lined with easy to access sandy beaches. This means that if someone has a medical episode that threatens their life – or appears to – we can quickly move them onto the sandy riverbank and conduct First Aid.
This allows us to immediately respond to any issue that arises during a tour. Whether or not someone can or cannot swim becomes irrelevant – the best swimmer in the world cannot swim if they suffer a major medical event such as heart attack or stroke.
At the end of the day, we are trained to respond to any emergency – and we are confident that our safety practices consider every risk on our tours.
Your safety is, was, always will be our #1 priority. That will never change.