Safety -- Getting swimmer attention
To make a very sad and long story short, I was turned around during my long swim today because law enforcement and local citizens were searching the lake for the body of a father who drowned last night. He'd gone into the water after his 6 yr old son who'd fallen off a boat w/out a life jacket on, and didn't make it to safety. The child was successfully rescued by another boater.
This is sad and tragic, and really gut wrenching.
I was happily swimming along, my kayaker had been blown behind me and was working to catch up (not all that far behind, but some) from just behind my left shoulder. Another (bigger) boat was drifting (they'd seen me and cut their engine) ahead of me, off the front of my left shoulder. BOTH were trying to get my attention. The bigger boat was being blown by the wind, and I ended up swimming under its bow. While I was startled, I was NOT injured in any way, and came out from under it without problem.
BUT, we all agreed that not being able to get my attention was a problem. My kayaker had a whistle around her neck, but she lost her thinking and forgot that it was there. The wind was blowing from me to them.
On the way back to the launch point, we experimented with her using the whistle to get my attention. I heard her once out of 4 tries, and it was the only time that the wind had died down a little.
Normally, she's right there with me, and I can see her. So, I do see how "swimming away" contributed to this issue. Note to self: NO MORE swimming away from kayak. BUT, are there other ideas/techniques that people use to get their swimmers attention if shouting and waving don't work? I'm wondering whether I need to have my paddlers practice throwing something like a Nerf ball tied to a line in order to whack me on the back.