Great Lakes Surfing Association
Beach & Pier Rescue Project

Pier Rescue Exercise 8/19/07

   This is a simplistic photo outline of how a typical pier rescue can be accomplished by a surfer and a wave ski.  The primary goal here is to get flotation to the victim A.S.A.P. and provide the time necessary to bring up additional rescue resources.




1.  Marty Karrish, as pier wash-off victim.  Many pier victims wash off to the windward side and risk waves slamming them back into the pier.


2.  Surfer Mike Smith runs out the pier to rescue victim.  The pier serves as an excellent platform to initiate a rescue. 


3.  Mike jumps into the water from pier ahead of victim so that he can be washed back towards, rather than away from him.



4.  Mike extends board to victim and tries to calm him and give him instructions.  A panicking victim can grab the rescuer instead of the board.


5.  Mike gets victim on board.  This can be done by various methods.  Surfboard should be pointed away from pier with surfer towards back of board.


6.  Surfer either push swims the board from behind or lays on tail of board and paddles/kicks board away from pier to a safer area for pick-up or to await further help.


7.  Ken arriving with wave ski which is a great vehicle for moving a victim through surf to a Coast Guard rescue craft positioned out in deeper water and away from wave impact zones.


8.  Victim pulled aboard wave ski.  A rescue sled here would be better, but recreational wave skis are not usually equipped with one. Any rescue craft need to be a safe distance from pier.


9.  Wave-ski heads to shore with victim.  A pier wash-off victim should only be brought in through surf zone as a last resort.  A wave ski can do this by staying between waves.


Photos by Bob Beaton



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