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Safety Concepts for Open Water Swims

Safety Concepts for Open Water Swims

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Published by Steven Munatones

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Published by: Steven Munatones on Oct 29, 2010
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05/12/2014

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Open Water Source
 
Safety Concepts for Open Water Swims
Open Water Source recommends that race directors look at safety from four perspectives:
Philosophy
Planning
Preparation
Priority
Philosophy
The philosophy that safety for the athletes is the top priority must be genuine because thereare inherent risks in the sport.
If budgets cannot allow for proper safety measures to be taken, then the event mustnot be held.
If human resources are inadequate to provide proper safety measures to be taken,then the event must not be held.
If equipment (watercraft, radios, emergency medical facilities) is inefficient, then theevent must not be held.From a positive perspective, a philosophy of safety must be pervasive from the very momenta race is conceived. The focus on safety is set by the race director and needs to be on themind of every race volunteer and organization personnel. Budgets, watercraft (boats, kayaks,Inflatable Rescue Boats (IRBs), surf skis, personal watercraft (PWC), paddle boards),volunteers, professionals (lifeguards, physicians, paramedics) and equipment must be part of the planning process from Day One.
Planning
When a race is in the planning stages, safety aspects and considerations are paramount. Ageneral idea of the number of safety personnel will be derived from the estimated number of athletes. A general idea of the optimal type and number of watercraft (diesel boats, kayaks,IRBs, PWCs, paddle boards, stand-up paddlers, JetSkis) to use will be derived by theconfiguration and location of the race. The assumed water and weather conditions willdetermine the type and number of onshore personnel and equipment (mylar blankets,whistles, radios).A communication plan must be prepared so every individual involved in the race organizationknows what their roles are and where and what they should be doing during contingencyplans or in emergencies. Emergency plans must be prepared that documents assignedresponsibilities, actions and procedures required in the event of an emergency.Additionally, a written Athlete’s Guide is a useful tool to educate and inform the athletes of what is expected and all the different situations that can occur. The Athlete’s Guide can be
Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatonesp.
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