Potential threats, prevention and action in a case of accident

The kayaking marathon Gauja XXL is a 310 km long race (420 km for the realay), participants must be notified, as to the adverse health effects can result in injury, the outcome of which can also be fatal.

Environment-related risks:

• A participant may get lost.
• A participant may have an injury after a contact with animals (e.g. snake bite).
• Various insect bites, for which the participant may be allergic. In the forests around the Gauja ticks are occurring which can carry dangerous diseases.

Water-related risks:

• If boat is overturned or filled with water, the participant’s body may be subject of hypothermia.
• A participant’s boat may be damaged after a collision with an object under or over the water.
• Stream and / or wind can cause the boat to tip over.
• A participant may have an injury and / or damage to the boat in the rapids.
• Participants should be aware that velocity of the stream at different locations may be different.
• Floating logs in the river may endanger the participants and / or his boat.
• Depending on the water level in the river, some places may have uncovered stones.
For safety reasons, at the nighttime 420 km relay teams must run the double seated boats. Also it is recommended for participants of 310 km individual race at nighttime to keep an eye on each other.

Race duration-related risks:

• Participant vascular system may have to withstand high loads, which can lead to cardiac insufficiency.
• Hard load can cause issues to muscle, joint, bone or skin.
• A participant may suffer from dehydration (if not drink enough water)
• A participant may suffer from less of carbohydrates and other essential nutrients (if food is not enough)
• A participant may suffer from cold (especially at night)
• Immediately after the Finish it is not recommended to sit behind the wheel.

Other risks:

• Accidents involving multiple threats simultaneously, such as fatigue, darkness, bad weather conditions (wind, rain, low temperatures, etc.).
• All risks and hazards can not be predicted, so the participants themselves must assess their capability and state of health prior to the competition.
Risk prevention and mitigation
• Participants are obliged to assess all the risks and realize their potential deal with them.
• Participant will consider withdrawal from the race, if he/she feels that will not be able to take the whole road.
• The participant chooses path of obstacles in the river near it, where in case of roll over, could safely get to shore.
• Participants is noted that it is not possible to organize the rescue from the water in such long distance racing.
• At all the distance participants must wear life jackets.
• Participants must have sufficient drinking water reserves, it will be possible to refill only at the checkpoints.
• It should be accompanied by a sufficient amount of energy bars and other food, as race course takes approximately 35 hours.
• Participants need to bring spare clothes with him in waterproofed containers, as well as sleeping bag and tent.
• It is recommended for the participants to be vaccinated against tick-borne encephalitis in a timely manner.
• The competition runs both day and night, so participants have opportunity to spend some part of night at intact and not equipped territory (the organizers will provide an opportunity to have some sleep in a tourist level equipped camp., approxx. in the middle of whole distance.

Emergency situations:

In a case of an accident, health problems, where the participant can not continue the distance, the participants must contact their support team as well as organizers. Withdrawal should be done near bridges or roads, where support team can access you.
• If you see other participants getting into trouble, it is your responsibility to provide he/she with all possible help.
• Participants are obliged to inform the organizers about all accidents in the distance.
• Each participant must be equipped with a mobile watertight packed cell phone with a fully charged battery and the organizer’s phone number stored.
• If you can not reach support groups or organizers, for instance, because of poor phone coverage, you should seek more open space or higher place on the banc, where it may be more likely to make a call successfully.
• Depending on the situation, organizers can help organize rescue and / or transportation of a victim, but participants should be aware that the closest and fastest way is to ask for help their support team.
•Note that arriving of emergency medical help and/or organizers in the remote areas of the river may take a long time!

Some basics about prevention of hypothermia.