Deep Water Solo – Dorset Climbing part 2

By 16th September 2016 No Comments

In the last DWS blog we looked at some of the hazards faced when participating in Deep Water Solo climbing and how Swanage and Lulworth can receive big swells and tidal ranges. The main focus on this blog is how we can potentially help a climber if they come into difficulty whilst in the water.

dws-6Firstly get a good forecast to help decide whether conditions are calm enough to make the drive in the first place and on getting there if the conditions are more treacherous than expected go to plan ’B’! Swanage and Portland climbing have lots of alternatives to offer. Hopefully nobody will get into difficulty whilst in the water but having a Throw Line and Peterson Tube provides you with some basic equipment to help.

Whenever performing some form of rescue to a struggling swimmer always consider your own safety first and try to avoid entering the water if possible. However if a swimmer is unconscious immediate action is required. The use of a throw line allows you to reach a conscious swimmer from the land and help pull them back into safety. To do this requires an accurate throw and then to get your centre of gravity down low to pull them back in. Inform the swimmer to place the rope over their shoulder and lie on their back whilst you pull them to safety. Make sure you don’t get pulled in yourself and it’s worth practicing with a throw line on dry land before needing it for real.

A Peterson tube is commonly seen on the edge of swimming pool and carried by beach lifeguards. The tube carries lots of buoyancy and isdws-7 primarily designed as a float to be wrapped around a conscious or unconscious swimmer. If somebody in the water is panicking you could simple throw the tube towards them to provide the security and comfort of a float. If you feel entering the water to assist them is required the tube can then be wrapped around the casualties chest, under their arms and clipped together around their back. If approaching a conscious casualty don’t get to close as dws-8they could grab you in desperations. Instead pass the tube to them and ask them to turn away so you can approach and clip the tube together. If somebody does grab you take a deep breath and go underwater; they will soon let go! Once the tube is attached you can then assist them by either providing a short or long tow back to land.

I hope this series of blogs has provoked some thought for water safety whilst climbing in Swanage, Lulworth and Portland and if you would like some training in these techniques email Ellis Bird at