KAYAKER RESPONSIBILITIES

K ing Wolf Swim extends a big THANK YOU for supporting a swimmer in their quest to cross from Kingston to Wolfe Island. There is no swim without escort kayakers, so we appreciate that you're giving your own time to help someone else achieve their goal.
 
The following information is provided to ensure escort kayakers understand their role on the water, and know what to expect before race day.
Physical Requirements:
  • Escort kayakers and/or their swimmers will be expected to carry their kayaks to the shoreline, and seed them in the appropriate race wave prior to the safety briefing.
  • Once the safety briefing is over, swimmers will line up at the race start while escort kayakers launch their kayaks in the water by assigned wave. KWS will have some volunteers on hand to assist in the launching of kayaks, but lifting and bending is to be expected.
  • During the race, escort kayakers will need to to keep strong steady control of their kayaks, and should have experience in rougher water in case winds are high on the day of the swim. Be prepared to stay on the water for up to 3.5 hours for the 5km event and 5.5 hours for the 11km event.
  • Should an escort kayaker need to be removed from the racecourse, a Safety Boat will pull the escort kayaker from the kayak onto the boat, and will tow the empty kayak to the race finish. Reaching, pulling, and climbing up on to the boat in the case is to be expected. The escort kayaker will not be permitted to remain in the kayak while it is being towed. The escort kayaker is taken to the race finish, and not the race start, as it is the command centre for documenting exits from the water.
  • Should an escort kayaker's swimmer experience distress, the kayaker will hand or throw the spare PFD and signal for help.
  • Once the race is over, the escort kayaker must make arrangements to return to the mainland with their kayak, either by paddling back or carrying the kayak onto the ferry. KWS does not have volunteers posted between the General Wolfe Inn and the ferry, as such the escort kayaker should ensure their swimmer is prepared to assist them. If the escort kayaker and swimmer will be having brunch after the race, they can leave their kayak at the race finish until 11:45am if they wish, at which point race officials will be clearing the course. Kayaks can be left longer, but not that race officials will no longer be present. Note there is no direct supervision of the kayaks, if left at race finish it is at the owner's own risk.
Supporting swimmers:
  • A few words for kayakers who don't have a swimming background. Swimmers are positioned lower on the water than kayakers are, and they see far less than you do. Your line of sight will always be much better than theirs, especially in rougher wavy waters. Water that sloshes around a swimmer's hear and face makes hearing anything you say difficult. Point is, as an escort kayaker, you're their ears, their eyes, their guide, and sometimes, you're the voice of reason.
  • If any escort kayaker feels their swimmer is unwell or unsafe, their have the right to relay their concerns to members of the Safety Crew. 
  • Kayaker escorts must not separate from their swimmers during the swim for any reason, and should stay within a 15 foot range of one another in a way that allows for making eye contact if needed. Stay close to your swimmer to ensure they are seen by boat traffic, but first discuss how close is too close. Some swimmers like to swim closely alongside the kayak, while others will want to be a bit further out or positioned at the bow. 
  • ​Kayakers escorts should carry a copy of the route map so that they can guide the swimmer in their crossing and to to finish line. There will be safety crew kayaks and motor boats out on the water to assist you if needed. Talk to your swimmer about sighting, will they be expecting you to navigate for them?
  • Kayaker escorts must carry whatever water and nutrition  (gels, energy drinks, etc)  the swimmer decides to use for the swim. Even if a swimmer does not intend to consume water or fuel along the way, they must bring along both just in case their are out on the water longer than they expected. Ask them what they are bringing, and how they expect you'll hand it over to them, and will they hold on to the side of the kayak while feeding?
  • ​Kayaker escorts are the first line of support if a swimmer finds themselves in distress, and each kayak must hold a spare lifejacket in case the swimmer needs support. If either of you need assistance, use a standard distress signal by raising your paddle in the air and waving it back and forth. Carrying a horn or whistle on board is mandatory.​

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THE KING WOLF SWIM IS AN OPEN WATER SWIM FROM KINGSTON TO WOLFE ISLAND ON HELD ANNUALLY IN JULY.

© 2015-2017 by Deborah Durbin

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