Safety preparations for slalom practice without an observer ?

swbcaswbca Posts: 867 Crazy Baller
edited July 6 in Technique & Theory
Started competing at age 14 then quit at 46 until starting again last year.

- Approximately 30,000 passes through the slalom course; very rarely with an observer.
- Used a competition vest for half of those passes. Skied without a vest occasionally.
- Injuries: Broke an arm when falling forward with arm through handle & 2 rib cartilage injuries.

What safety preparations should be in place to for skiing with a 120lb women driver and no observer ?

Thinking Comprehensively - My driver is asking and she has leverage - she can refuse to drive.

For starters, I no longer practice with the competition vest and we have our GPS coordinates written down in the boat for an emergency call . . . We ski in one part of a large lake. (its 25 miles from the nearest hospital) I weight 165 and use double T-Factor boots so they don't release from the ski. Probably should have something to cut the rubber toes open.

What EQUIPMENT and PROCEDURE EDUCATION to deal with a an unconscious/unresponsive skier.
Home of the world's first submersible slalom course.
david_ski

Comments

  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,525 Mega Baller
    USCG lifevest on the driver. Cellphone with solid signal/service. Learn how to turn over an unconscious skier while protecting their spine. Have a tether from the driver's vest to the boat stern eye, if the driver must get in the water (not recommended).

    See this video on how to turn over an unconscious skier (starting about 3:30 mark). But, the rest of the video is important, too.

    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.

    Than_BoganswbcaDeanoski
  • swbcaswbca Posts: 867 Crazy Baller
    Modern skis have are so light (~3lbs without the bindings) that they have significant floatation. If both feet are still in the boots hopefully the greater floatation at the front of ski well help keep the skiers face up if there is enough floatation in the vest.

    How can the driver use the swim platform to stabilize the skier for a long wait for help ? If the ski is still on with double boots, that's going to require some help to get the ski off.
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course.
  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 3,913 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    There may not be a comprehensive set of answers to your question. I suggest that your driver take an AWSA safety clinic, combined with first aid and CPR. That will probably cover a lot of your bases and be the best you can get short of EMT training. You can do first aid and CPR, if you like, on line.

    If there is no safety clinic offered near you, call Melanie Hanson at HQ and ask her to help you find someone nearby that can do one for you.

    If you start thinking about what it might be handy to have in the boat in case of emergencies, you’ll pretty soon realize that after a life jacket, fire extinguisher, flare and anchor, and maybe a first aid kit, the next most handy thing is a backboard and that’s not really practical.

    Look on the bright side: if your driver is trying to keep your head above water while she treads water and holds on to the platform, she won’t be able to access any of that stuff anyway. Or reach the phone…
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
    swbca
  • MISkierMISkier Posts: 3,525 Mega Baller
    The way to stabilize the skier in the water until you have a backboard crew and/or other first responders to assist is for the rescuer to be behind/under the skier as a human backboard - properly stabilizing the cervical spine with their hands and forearms using the technique in the video. They basically wrap the skier and float with the skier laying on them. This is why the USCG life vest is necessary for the driver/rescuer.

    In a no observer situation, that implies the call for help is made before getting in the water or the communication with the dispatcher can be maintained while the rescuer is in the water. A waterproof wearable interface to the phone (watch) may be a part of the solution.

    I haven’t seen any training using the platform, but I would certainly be interested in that approach. However, the boat engine cannot be used, due to CO poisoning.

    The worst slalom equipment I own is between my ears.

    swbca
  • aupatkingaupatking Posts: 1,821 Mega Baller
    Thank you for starting this thread. It’s important to have what you can and a plan for what you can’t. Training, as @lpskier mentioned above is irreplaceable. Call, give location and render what aid is possible until skilled help arrives. Preparation and training are paramount. No particular scenario is going to be the end-all answer, but being as prepared as possible is all you can do.
    You have reminded me of a thread that mentioned someone on site during such an emergency having scissors that are sufficient to cut away bindings. I have been meaning to make those part of my boat gear since reading that thread. I just ordered these

    When these scissors come in, I’ll update the discussion. You need to make certain that whatever you have will do the job without risk of making the situation worse, like a deep cut to the victim or the person rendering aid.
    swbcaSkoot1123Bruce_Butterfield
  • chrislandychrislandy Posts: 385 Crazy Baller
    This is a great subject but the answer would vary depending on setting, it also highlights the usefulness of organised national bodies such as BWSW & AWSA, they have risk assessed various scenarios and can provide guidance - for example, if we are on a public lake BWSW guidelines are observer is mandatory (and with our insurance), on a private lake with one boat running then driver only is acceptable.

    One additional idea for public lakes, and it would need drilling to make sure it's automatic, but you could lift the dog box in an emergency, that way if the driver HAS to get in the water, at least there is an obvious visible issue on the boat so anyone near might see the engine cover up and no-one in the boat and come to investigate

    Also, depending on the boat, but a flare gun in the rear locker that's reachable from the swim platform
    swbca
  • dave2balldave2ball Posts: 1,126 Crazy Baller
    Lots of good info here. The above video is old. but still good. If you want to be safe it is advisable to take a first aid /cpr class. USAWATERSKI is not advisable for reasons I'm not going to get into. lets get a little realistic here. If you don not know how to do proper C-spine precautions DONT. YOU WILL CAUSE MORE HARM THEN GOOD. Unless you have been trained you will not know what to look for or proper questions to ask. Majority of people will panic and forget what training they went through. Unless you deal with it on a daily basis that is to be expected, If you find your self in this type of situation Try to stay calm think before you do something. Take that extra 10 seconds and remember what you were taught.
    thagerswbca
  • swbcaswbca Posts: 867 Crazy Baller
    edited July 6
    My first concern when finding the skier face down in water is to address the skier's position and then "hold" a survivable position for whatever length of time before help arrives.

    CPR, spinal or neck restraints, Cutting off boots and other activities can't be done or well be of no value if the skier's face is under water. First thing is to get the skier secured in a survivable position . . . by a single small person

    Totally Unprepared Until yesterday I never gave this any thought.

    A 120lb women is probably not going to be able to lift a man onto the swim platform. At a recent pro tournament, an injured skier was laid on her back on the tow boat's swim platform. That required a team of swimmers and on deck assistance.

    Without knowing anything more, I would be inclined to build a nylon strap that could be put under the skier's arms and across their chest. Then I would get in the boat and pull the skier up the side of the boat adjacent to the pylon so their head and shoulders are above water with the nylon strap configured to hold that position attach to the ski pylon.

    It seems that any other life saving skills can't be done with 2 people free-floating with life preservers.

    Comment ?
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course.
  • dave2balldave2ball Posts: 1,126 Crazy Baller
    @swbca go take a first aid course. PERIOD. Some of the things you are proposing are really scary. If 2 people are trained properly they can handle most situations until advanced help arrives.
  • swbcaswbca Posts: 867 Crazy Baller
    @dave2ball There is only 1 person, not two. I agree it would be good to have training, but no one has commented on how to stabilize the injured person without the able bodied person (driver) also floating in the water. The injured person is in the lake; not on a floor or in a car.

    My first and urgent concern
    How would you imagine you would deal with an injured person in the water when you are by yourself and help may not arrive for 30 minutes.
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course.
  • dave2balldave2ball Posts: 1,126 Crazy Baller
    edited July 6
    @swbca If you are worried about helping someone when you are by yourself take a first aid course and learn the skills necessary to make yourself feel comfortable to handle situations. You are asking the same question in a different form and the answer is the same. Call you local community college, America heart association, Red-cross.
    To answer you question you do what ever you can or you feel comfortable doing until help arrives. Sometimes doing nothing is better then doing something that may cause further injury.
    If you are looking for a checklist if what and how to do something it does not exists. Every situation is different and no medical situation are done the same.
  • DanoDano Posts: 234 Baller
    As a former lifeguard I will tell you that getting in the water as a rescuer is a last resort. @dave2ball sums it up well. Take some training. Stay calm. assess the situation, Establish the basics ABC's and then decide your next move. If help is likely to arrive you have done enough to keep them face up and breathing. If help is not arriving and you are alone you will have to decide how to proceed while limiting further injury. As for getting a body out of the water as a single rescuer. You should have a plan specific to your boat. My boat has a low transom then the swim platform, I'm very confident I could pull a body into my boat. Spinal injury will make that plan less attractive.
    swbca
  • lakeolakeo Posts: 86 Baller
    All of the above, plus check your equipment before you ski and survey the ski area with binoculars for any impediments.
  • swbcaswbca Posts: 867 Crazy Baller
    @dano Thanks, I appreciate your direct comments on a common sense first response. I believe from what you said, you would consider it appropriate for the driver to be sitting on the swim platform holding onto the vest of injured person to keep them oriented face up. Then make calls for help. My driver can do that. We have a paddle in the boat so she wouldn't worry about using the engine for the last few feet of orienting the boat to injured person.

    We will go with that, and keep her out of the water but with a good approved vest.
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course.
  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 2,413 ★★★★Quad Panda Award Recipient ★★★★
    edited July 6
    Screw Driver, Knife, Scissors, Air Horn, Phone with Three Words App to give precise location to Emergency Services.
    You need somebody to remain calm, the injured party does not want to hear, Oh My God look at that cut, or that bone sticking out of you leg, shock and panic can Kill !
    First make sure the airway is not compromised, keep them calm and breathing to a rhythm, Sit on the platform with your legs under the injured persons arms , until help comes, you could make things worse trying to get them on the boat.
    Call somebody closer if the Emergency Services are going to be a while.
    Depending on the severity of the injury and I am thinking arm through the handle, if they can get in the boat, get to the dock dump everything, put them in a car and head straight for the nearest hospital, there are some main arteries under the arm, that could spell Danger if damaged..
    A good skier that has been talked about on this forum and endorsed handle guards, actually died twice on the operating table, they waited for emergency services that didn't, show up for a couple of hours, fortunately after 1 hour somebody made the decision to put him in a car and take him to the Hospital, that person saved his life.

    Looking Forward To Getting On The Water, It Has Been A Bleak Winter

    swbca
  • dave2balldave2ball Posts: 1,126 Crazy Baller
    edited July 7
    .
  • skibrainskibrain Posts: 283 Crazy Baller
    Good thread to be thinking about.

    When about 20 yrs old, I was pulling a college buddy on combo skis. 18-20 mph, he did a slow twisting fall and broke his femur.

    Coincidentally, we had just completed a WSI training together, so pretty cool even though he was in extreme pain. At 210# I was not going to lift him into the boat. (No swim platform). I floated him (life vest on of course) on his back, held him alongside boat and idled the boat back to cabin 1/4 mile where I had help. Another bud and I were able to lift him out of shallow water into a car and drive to the ER. (1/2 hr away).

    Getting skier out of the water is not always the solution. I didn’t go in until we were in 2’
  • swbcaswbca Posts: 867 Crazy Baller
    @skibrain When I broke my arm by putting it through the handle, I couldn't climb into the boat. I held on to the swim platform with one hand and was pulled home about .4 miles. Broken legs and arms are easier than some other injuries.
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course.
  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 3,913 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    FYI, @dave2ball is a professional EMT with the Orlando FD. Good man to have on the dock when the effluent hits the air conditioning. His advice on this topic is solid.
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
    Hockdog
  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 3,913 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @Stevie Boy He probably would if he wasn’t hurt. Reread the start of your comment!
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
    dave2ball
  • dave2balldave2ball Posts: 1,126 Crazy Baller
    @lpskier thanks.
  • 6balls6balls Posts: 6,171 Mega Baller
    I’ve skied behind a lot of drivers w/out a spotter. Most Not trained in anything other than a great pull. Never felt it was a huge risk—though obviously risk exists. For those skiing behind me…safety bonus to some degree.
    To each their own on risk tolerance—a personal thing. If I only skied behind safety trained drivers, tho, I sure wud have skied a lot less.
    Dave Ross--die cancer die
  • Stevie BoyStevie Boy Posts: 2,413 ★★★★Quad Panda Award Recipient ★★★★
    .

    Looking Forward To Getting On The Water, It Has Been A Bleak Winter

  • swbcaswbca Posts: 867 Crazy Baller
    edited July 8
    @6balls like you for decades we never thought about an injury where the skier needed urgent help to prevent them from drowning. A broken rib, arm, leg, wind-knocked-out are not life threatening and no reason to panic. If I ski for 5 more years the chances of a real problem are very slim. But, my driver is very safety oriented and is always asking "what if".

    Thanking @Dano and @Stevie Boy , two that responded to my primary question . . . how to secure an injured person in the water when you are by yourself and help may not arrive for 30 minutes.

    I am making progress, I have given up skiing with no vest, and now have some answers to my driver's "what if" questions.

    Only ski without a vest when necessary >>> For women to slalom at night wearing nothing but a ski, it requires they start with a vest and then drop the vest. They need the vest to stay afloat if they have a double boot ski.

    Thanks everyone !
    Home of the world's first submersible slalom course.
  • wski1831wski1831 Posts: 180 Baller
    Keep it simple. Assess problem. If they’re face down it’s a hurry. For almost anything else an extra minute or two won’t change their prognosis. Be alert. Keep calm. Think clearly. Act decisively.
    swbca
  • dbutcherdbutcher Posts: 570 Crazy Baller
    Consider this. Hire an athletic high school kid to be your observer. Put him/her in a CG approved vest and pay him/her with free ski rides. Solve your immediate problem, level your boat if needed, and maybe grow the sport.
    dchristman
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