Lifesaving clubs, wanting to be competitive have had competition racing rescue craft shaped and manufactured for them for a number of years. In recent years these have become 1) very expensive 2) Because they are expensive clubs do not use them very often and the competitors do not get a chance to practice on these lighter more sophisticated craft, and 3) Not many of them meet the International safety specifications required of these craft which is going to become an issue for them as scrutineering becomes more
of a reality on all craft.
For a number of years my lifesaving club, “Marine SLC in Durban”
has had a double seated version which has been very successful in lifesaving
competitions. It has a forward paddling position and a well balanced back
sitting position when paddling back to the beach with a patient on it. It meets
all the international specifications, is longer than the existing molded models
and is virtually double the buoyancy, making it fast, very easy to paddle and a
lot safer to paddle and surf, even with a patient on board.
We have remodeled this craft and taken a mold off it, in confidence that it is a vastly improved craft, for both patrol and competition purposes. Clubs can purchase a standard weight model for patrol purposes and their members can become proficient in using the same craft that they will be racing at competitions. With today’s technology, we can make
lightweight models of the same craft for competition use. Maintenance on these
is a lot easier than custom shaped models.
Last week the first two of these craft were in action in a very successful professional lifeguard carnival in Durban with teams coming from different regions. I lent out two of the new craft to our central borough, who won all the craft rescue events in the competition on the new craft.