The challenges of coaching have taught me many things. The one that sticks out the most is to Always Be Prepared. Anything can happen on the water when you are miles from the dock. Think ahead to any scenario, good or bad, and plan for what you might need. Could your boat flip? Could you get lost? Could your boat break? Could you hit a log, loose your skeg, take on water and have to swim to shore dragging your boat behind you?
When sculling by myself and often times for long distances, I have to plan for these types of disasters too. So far the worst thing that has happened is that I got really hungry.
Here are five things to get you started being more prepared on the water:
1. Spare Parts. If you own your boat or are in the same boat every day, familiarize your self with that model and carry the specific parts for it. Nuts, bolts, and spacers are easily lost or dropped in the water. If you are in different equipment each day you may need to carry a handle of sized parts.
2. Tools. A simple swiss army knife or multi tool will usually do the trick. A small adjustable wrench is a good idea too. (Fun fact - When I was a sophomore in high school my mom gave me what is now my favorite mini adjustable wrench for rigging. That was Spring 2007, and I still have it!)
3. First Aid. This is a easy one. Band-aids, med tape, sanitary wipes
4. Snacks. We always need snacks! Pack a small snack that does not require refrigeration. Cashews - good idea. String cheese - bad idea. Granola bar - good idea. A water bottle is always a great idea too.
5. A nice fanny pack to carry everything in. Best part of the fanny pack is that the waist strap can be used to attach it to the boat, in the rare event your boat flips. Clip it to foot boards or wing riggers. (You can find to oarsome bag pictured above at SewSporty.com)
For those of you scullers venturing out by yourself, please always have a fully charge phone with you, and know the number of you local waterway patrol. Safety first!
What do you bring with you when you are training on the water?