Safety

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A club must always strive to maintain its safety standards to the highest it can achieve. WWKC always work to maintain its high safety record and to work in a proactive manner to ensure that incidents are kept at an acceptable level.

Most of our rules are maintained in WWKC’s Safety Statement

Canoe Ireland’s Safety guidelines can be found on www.canoe.ie

Key Safety issues are:

+Weils Disease

WHAT IS IT?

Weil’s Disease, also known as leptospirosis, is an acute infectious disease. It is caused by different types of one bacteria of which there are over 200 known strains. Weil’s Disease is spread in the urine of infected animals (wild and domestic) and in water or soil contaminated with infected urine. The bacteria thrive in wet and moist conditions and can survive for months in stagnant water or wet soil.

CONTRACTING THE DISEASE

The infection enters through broken, grazed or cut skin especially on the hands and feet and sometimes through the lining of the mouth, nose and eyes. It can also be picked up while wading or swimming in infected water.

SYMPTOMS

Symptoms may include fever, headaches, chills, severe muscle pain in the calves and thighs, vomiting, diarrhoea and bloodshot eyes. Sometimes the fever may fluctuate and other symptoms such as a rash, jaundice, confusion, depression, kidney failure, liver failure and meningitis may occur. The incubation period is usually 10 days but can range from 4 to 19 days. If Symptoms persist please contact your G.P.

WHO IS AT RISK?

Effluent Treatment Plant Workers, Sewer Workers, Refuse collection and processing, Underground Cable Laying and Maintenance Workers, Miners, Farmers, Gardeners, Abattoir Workers, Animal Care Workers, People who use water for recreational purposes, Fishermen, Boating and Canoeing enthusiasts, Outdoor pursuits activities, e.g. Hill walking, camping, Scouting Associations, Rescue Services, Fire Services, Army and Garda Personnel.

PREVENTION

Adhere to a rigid hygiene policy. Cover all cuts, scratches and abrasions with a waterproof dressing. Wear protective clothing especially gloves when handling soil, vegetation, animal feeds, tools or equipment that may be contaminated. Avoid touching mouth and nose. Food stuffs should not be consumed in the work area.

More about Weils Disease

+Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) Lifejackets & Buoyancy Aids

View Legislation

Under legislation introduced in 2005, EVERYONE getting in a kayak must wear a PFD.

What is a Personal Floatation Device?

This is a generic term used to describe lifejackets and buoyancy aids. The main difference between lifejackets and buoyancy aids is that a lifejacket is designed to turn an unconscious person face up on entering the water. A buoyancy aid is not guaranteed to do this and is as the name describes, an aid to keeping you afloat.

Wearing Personal Floatation Devices

It is vital to wear a buoyancy aid or a lifejacket when afloat or if your activity takes you near the water. You must ensure that it is the correct size, properly fastened and that you understand how to operate it. In sports like kayaking, wearing the right personal floatation device (PFD) will give you the confidence to enjoy your activity even when you
re in the water. For other activities wearing an appropriate PFD can give you extra time for the search and rescue services to find and rescue you.

Understanding Personal Flotation Devices

Buoyancy is measured in Newton. 10 Newton equals 1 kilogram of flotation. There are 4 European standards for personal floatation devices, which must all carry the CE mark.

    • The 50 Newton Personal Flotation Device is commonly called a buoyancy aid. It is intended for use by those who are competent swimmers and who are near to the bank or shore, or who have help and means of rescue close at hand. These PFDs have minimum bulk, but they are of limited use in disturbed water, and cannot be expected to keep the user safe for a long period of time. They do not have sufficient buoyancy to protect people who are unable to help themselves. They require active participation by the user. Recommended for dinghy sailors, windsurfers, water-skiers & personal water craft where the user might reasonably expect to end up in the water.
    • The 100 Newton lifejacket is intended for those who may have to wait for rescue but are likely to do so in sheltered and calm water. Whilst these lifejackets are less bulky than those with more buoyancy, they are only intended for use in relatively sheltered waters. They may not have sufficient buoyancy to protect people who are unable to help themselves and may not roll an unconscious person onto their back particularly if they are wearing heavy clothing.
    • The 150 Newton lifejacket in intended for general offshore and rough weather use where a high standard of performance is required. It should turn an unconscious person into a safe position and requires no subsequent action by the wearer to keep their face out of the water. Its performance may be affected if the user is wearing heavy and/or waterproof clothing. Recommended for general use on coastal and inshore waters when sailing, fishing etc. where the user would not expect to end up in the water.
    • The 275 Newton Lifejacket is intended primarily for offshore and extreme conditions and for those wearing heavy protective clothing that may adversely affect the self-righting capacity of the lifejacket. This lifejacket is designed to ensure that the wearer is floating in the correct position with their mouth and nose clear of the surface of the water. Recommended for offshore cruising, fishing and commercial users.

The right Personal Floatation Device?

The PFD most commonly used in kayaking/canoeing is the 50 Newton (50N) PFD. There are numerous types available in different shops around Ireland.

It is important to check when choosing a PFD that it meets the following 2 requirements at a minimum,

    • It provides the minimum buoyancy i.e. 50N
    • It fits you well. With all the buckles and straps done up it can’t be pulled over your head.

When choosing a PFD you may find that some offer buoyancy above the 50N requirement, which one you choose will depend both on your physique and the type of kayaking/canoeing you will be doing.

If you are in the process of choosing a PFD, please contact the Safety Officer or appropriate discipline officer for guidance on the type of PFD that would be best suited to you.

+ Hypothermia
When the body’s core temperature falls below 35 °C there are varying stages of Hyptothemia:

    • Mild 35–32 °C
    • Moderate 32–28 °C
    • Severe 28–20 °C

Any time you lose more heat than you produce, hypothermia results.
Without adequate food and clothing or external heat sources, your core temperature cannot be maintained except in tropical climates.

Your body at rest loses more heat than it generates

    • When in air less than 26 C
    • When in water less than 32 C

Your body loses heat five ways

    1. Radiation
    2. Respiration
    3. Conduction
    4. Evaporation
    5. Convection


How different clothing affects survival

      1. Protect & insulate the critical areas of the body to preserve heat.
      2. Wear clothing (e.g wetsuit/drysuit) appropriate to the conditions.