Lessons Learned

 In General

They say history repeats itself and, in a rescue sense, it sometimes does. Teams are called to popular locations on a regular basis, which is not surprising given the higher volume of visitation, but there is some regularity in the types of calls (or at least contributing factors) received too. Here are a few ‘rescue-inducing’ trends we’ve noted from past experience, which will hopefully serve as helpful reminders to folks for the remainder of their summer adventures:


  • Swimming in water stronger than you are: Just because you intend to stay in that gentle eddy is no guarantee that you won’t end up in the swift moving water beside it. Wear a PFD.
  • Wearing poor footwear: Small slips can lead to big problems, and though footwear isn’t always the cause, wearing inappropriate gear can make injuries more likely. Dress appropriately for your activity of choice.
  • Under-estimating time: Take a bit of time to research your destination either online (more than just liking Instagram pics) or through books before you go. If there are online comments left by previous travellers, look through them to help determine a realistic timeframe for yourself/your party or pose the question to an appropriate outdoor group or forum and gain some feedback that way. If you end up going somewhere but do not know the trip time, note your start time as well as how much daylight is left, and then turn around when you have reached a little less than the half of that time. Yes, you can turn around before you reach your destination!
  • Overdoing it: Little out there can make you feel quite as vital as being active in the great outdoors… just try not to get carried away. It’s great to expand your boundaries and push a little harder, but if your gut tells you that you’re out of your depth, it’s a good idea to stop and listen. Travel with companions that understand each others’ right to veto an activity or destination.
  • Heading out without a plan: If you’re heading outdoors, even if it’s just for a walk by the river, let people know where you’re going, what you’re doing and when you intend to be back. Feel free to use our Trip Planner for adventures big or small!


Please keep in mind that most tasks we’re called to assist with are the result of things just going wrong. Many experienced individuals have had accidents happen; please don’t assume rescue teams are only called out for the ill-prepared. That said, even if you do everything ‘right’ there is still a chance you might need help, which is why we encourage folks to complete a trip plan and to travel with at least some basic emergency gear. Should you get to a point where you realize you need outside help, please call 911 or your emergency contact sooner as opposed to later. As much as summer offers nice long days, the sun will eventually set, and light is a big ally for first responders.


Stay safe everyone!


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