PWEP – People, Weather, Equipment, Plan
Just like putting on a seatbelt, we always PWEP before each and every session whether we think we’ll need it or not.
A minimum of three craft are required at all PD single craft sessions.
Know the people you’re paddling with. If things go wrong you’ll be relying on each other.
Ask about their swimming ability and their level of paddling experience.
How many times have they paddled in similar conditions? Can they comfortably get going again after a huli in those conditions?
Know the current and forecast conditions by either:
– going to the PD website clicking on On the Water > Weather/Tides
– phoning 13-12-36 and selecting 3 for a recording of the same forecast on the website
From the forecast make note of:
– weather warnings. These appear at the top of the Bureau’s NSW Coastal Waters Forecast
– wind strength and direction
– seas ie. size of waves generated by wind in the immediate area
– swell ie. size and direction of waves generated by wind at another time and place
– tide ie. time of next high or low . The greater the difference in height between the last high/low and the next the greater the strength of flow.
How might these change over the course of the session?
How might the above interact to influence the conditions at the location you’re paddling?
Check you have the right equipment for the conditions you are heading out in.
Single Craft – Is it in sound condition? Have you checked the rudder cables lately? Have you tightened the rudder nut?
PFD – must be worn or carried at all PD sessions
Leg rope – must be worn at all PD ocean sessions
Waterproof Safety Pack including:
– gel shot
– rigging rubber
– grey tape
– sunscreen sample
– pea-less whistle (wear it in conditions where communication might be difficult)
– space blanket
Phone or Marine Radio – Place in waterproof pouch through which you can use the phone. Include the following numbers on speed dial:
– Sydney Water Police – 9320 7499 (Balmain)
– Australian Volunteer Coast Guard – 9337 5033 (24hrs, Vaucluse)
– 000 equivalent for mobiles – 112 (you can still use 000 but 112 accesses all networks)
Spare Paddle – have at least one amongst the group for ocean sessions.
Clothing – wear or carry a thermal. Even on the warmest days extended time in the water will cause your body temperature to drop.
Lights – Sessions starting before dawn or finishing after dusk require you to have lights that give both you and your craft 360 degree visibility. This usually means a light at the front and back. White lights are recommended to avoid confusion with navigation markers. They also need to be 100% waterproof to avoid them failing when you need them most ie. after a huli. One option to achieve this is to use mini clip-on lights on your cap. These can be purchased from Blue Earth or online. As a guideline, sessions starting before CTS or finishing after CTE as described here will require lights. Exceptions to this include cloudy days when lights will be required after CTS or before CTE.
Discuss where you are going, how you will stick together and what the plan is if you get separated.
Check that everyone clearly understands the plan and is comfortable with it.