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RememberSchiff

That sinking feeling - Homemade Canoe Trip, Green River (UT)

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Sgt. Vetere said the homemade canoes had “no business” on the river especially with the conditions of the water running a little high even for commercial canoes with experienced canoers.

Sheriff Greg Funk emphasized that those planning on being on the river in Emery County should do their research, know their limitations and be prepared.

He added, “”We have had numerous river rescues over the years – – – on the Green, the San Rafael, and the Muddy. It is fortunate that the canoe problems happened early in this trip where there is access to the river from the banks, rather than farther downstream with sheer canyon walls. The Green River is wide, the water is cold, and hypothermia can set in in a matter of minutes.”

Officials said the total time of the rescue was three hours and all were accounted for.

Now the beginning of this story is amusing as the source link tells it.  Can a sheriff spank a scoutmaster?   :unsure:

https://www.abc4.com/news/southern-utah/scout-groups-rescued-after-cannoeing-trip-gone-wrong/

Edited by RememberSchiff

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We make boats on an outing.  They try to paddle around a buoy.  This is on a lake, within 100' of the shore, with normal kayaks around to provide support.  No way we would try to head 57 miles down a river

That's just silly.

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Just now, Jameson76 said:

We make boats on an outing.  They try to paddle around a buoy.  This is on a lake, within 100' of the shore, with normal kayaks around to provide support.  No way we would try to head 57 miles down a river

That's just silly.

Yes it is.

A 57-mile trips is a very significant undertaking. Lots of planning. Good equipment choices, etc.

The scoutmaster's shortcomings aren't in letting the boys make boats, or even boating when the water level is a "little high"....it's in doing these things as a 57-mile trip.  THAT combination is silly.

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15 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

Yes it is.

A 57-mile trips is a very significant undertaking. Lots of planning. Good equipment choices, etc.

The scoutmaster's shortcomings aren't in letting the boys make boats, or even boating when the water level is a "little high"....it's in doing these things as a 57-mile trip.  THAT combination is silly.

Agree.  Seems like if you did in fact want to undertake a homemade canoe trip 57 miles, which is a cool idea, there would need to be significant shakedown and testing.  Maybe load them up and let them float in a lake (pool??) for several days.  Have the Scouts paddle around a lake that provides a simple and easy bailout area.  If you do undertake this journey, have some regular canoes, chase boats, to sweep behind. 

Maybe they did the testing phase and process, but seeing as how several barely made it off the ramp, would appear they may not have.

We kayak with an outfitter every couple of years.  Everybody wears PFD, stay with your buddy, we stop and group up a few times, one specific lead boat, and most of the leaders perform the sweep at the end to make sure no hangups

Edited by Jameson76

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This is why National has to keep adding rules to the GTSS.  Coming soon, a rule against homemade boats on scout outings --- why, not because it's inherently unsafe or a fun idea to do as J76 does, but because somewhere out there is another group like this 

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5 minutes ago, T2Eagle said:

This is why National has to keep adding rules to the GTSS.  Coming soon, a rule against homemade boats on scout outings --- why, not because it's inherently unsafe or a fun idea to do as J76 does, but because somewhere out there is another group like this 

I'm replying only because I want to be able to find this in a couple of months.   

RichardB

PS:  Really glad this worked out for everyone.   Between flooding and a huge snow pack water around the US is high, cold and fast this year.   Please plan with vigilance and take a PAUSE before you hit the water.  https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/healthsafety/pdf/680-046.pdf 

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12 minutes ago, T2Eagle said:

This is why National has to keep adding rules to the GTSS.  Coming soon, a rule against homemade boats on scout outings --- why, not because it's inherently unsafe or a fun idea to do as J76 does, but because somewhere out there is another group like this 

As you said, homemade boats are not inherently dangerous. No more than a commercially made one.

I would hate to see bsa move towards prohibiting homemade "anything" as that is the antithesis of scouts learning to do for themselves and others.

The problem was poor planning and execution for such an advanced skill level trip. Gear prohibition is never the solution, training in safe use is.

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Found on another website:

Quote

 

Sheriff’s Sgt. Mitch Vetere, who has extensive experience on the Green River, said in the post that the boats had “no business being on the river,” especially because the river is currently flowing swiftly.

It is running at 11,400 cubic feet per second as of Thursday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey WaterWatch. That is a level at which the river might be too high even for some experienced boaters with sturdy canoes, Vetere said in the post.

 

My troop has done many parts of the Green river, in rafts. When I heard home made canoes I was thinking of something that might float. They really are quite lucky nobody got hurt. There's a lot of that river I wouldn't do in a good canoe much less Tyvek and pvc. Those canoes are just classic. I can see seams that go below the water line where the Tyvek is folded around the frame. I bet that leaks.

One of my fears I used to explain to scouts and adults was something along the lines of, I just don't want a photo on the front page of the NYT if this goes bad, so let's make sure it won't.

Again, really glad nobody got hurt.

 

  • Upvote 1

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Home made canoes....  Yes, I agree that a lengthy shakedown cruise on a smaller body of water was in order.   "Mythbusters"  has often built rafts, canoes out of duct tape and PVC pipe and cardboard. Motor boats out of sawdust impregnated ice blocks, with varying success, and enviro-suits, PFDs and  LOTS of rescue all around them.

Many moon ago,  a wonderful former Navy CPO founded a Scout Ship. They built a raft out of 2x4s and fifty gallon oil drums and floated down the Potomac and into the Chesapeake. Eventually, that SSShip had to fold due to lack of Scouts, but not before the local Councils named the regional Sea Scout Regatta after Henry Nygard. 

And there is this:  

Scout Regatta.jpg

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Scout leader gives his side of story...

Brandon Jones is one of the Boy Scout leaders and said they made this trip with Boy Scouts three years ago with no issues — this time they found themselves in a “tough" situation. 

Once the canoes were flipped upright again, Jones said the boys continued on their way. The trip required canoeing and camping for a few days, and the boys made it all in their handmade canoes.

“This is about turning young men into men and giving them life experiences,” Jones said. “I think they learned some valuable lessons that when life throws you some curveballs and you can get by.”

More including video at source:

https://fox13now.com/2019/07/12/boy-scouts-in-handmade-canoes-caught-in-green-river-how-they-got-out/

Edited by RememberSchiff

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