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#284702 - 06/04/17 06:00 AM canoe country rescue
CANOEDOGS Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1805
Loc: MINNESOTA
the park i'll be going into next week for a two week solo canoe trip had a search and rescue in the last few days.
from what I gather they were lost and overdue for four days.
they got turned around in the maze of lakes and creeks in the wilderness park.
http://www.twincities.com/2017/06/01/search-underway-for-overdue-group-in-boundary-waters/
the link gives the full story and I promise that this year i'll take the advice I got here on ETS and carry my PLB on my person at all times!

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#284704 - 06/04/17 06:53 PM Re: canoe country rescue [Re: CANOEDOGS]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 1953
Loc: NE Illinois
Glad they are OK.

I am a BIG fan of what personal locator beacons can do, and I heartily recommend folks heading into wilderness bring one along. They are so cheap and simple to use today.

As I've said before here, I am big believer in people going into wilderness bringing a good paper map of the area, a compass, and a GPS (even a very basic one will do) ... and KNOWING how to use them together.

They have to know how to take a waypoint from the GPS and find it as a coordinate on the map, so they know where they are. For this I like https://maptools.com/ tools and tutorial.

If they can know exactly where they are, often just using the compass can help them know the correct directions when faced with a choice.

They have to know how to navigate using the map, compass, and even the GPS so they can find where they need to go. There are lots of online tutorials!!

If using the GPS to help with navigation they need to know how to take a coordinate from the map and enter it as a waypoint in the GPS. Again, see https://maptools.com/

That means that the GPS and compass magnetic declination need to be set so they can work with each other.

I prefer everything set to true north bearing (as opposed to magnetic north). This is why I prefer a baseplate compass with adjustable magnetic declination. Of course when planning for the trip they'll need to determine the area's magnetic declination (about 2 or 3 degrees west of true north in that area). See https://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/geomag/declination.shtml

I'd prefer they save (I suggest both on paper and in the GPS) key waypoints before the trip. I also prefer to leave the GPS off most of the time to save batteries - only turning it on when necessary.

That makes self rescue possible.

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#284715 - 06/06/17 05:56 PM Re: canoe country rescue [Re: CANOEDOGS]
TeacherRO Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2107
arc plb, Gps -- Compasse go wacky up there - Huge Iron deposits in the area. Also, carry spare food (and meds) in case of lostness, weather, etc.

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#284716 - 06/06/17 09:06 PM Re: canoe country rescue [Re: KenK]
Mark_R Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 05/29/10
Posts: 822
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: KenK
Glad they are OK.

I am a BIG fan of what personal locator beacons can do, and I heartily recommend folks heading into wilderness bring one along. They are so cheap and simple to use today.

As I've said before here, I am big believer in people going into wilderness bringing a good paper map of the area, a compass, and a GPS (even a very basic one will do) ... and KNOWING how to use them together.

They have to know how to take a waypoint from the GPS and find it as a coordinate on the map, so they know where they are. For this I like https://maptools.com/ tools and tutorial.

If they can know exactly where they are, often just using the compass can help them know the correct directions when faced with a choice.


If you can get the map oriented with true north, you can often figure out where you are from the surrounding terrain. An analog watch and the sun/shadows will get you the general neighborhood. If the magnetic field is really wonky, you print out an elevation/azimuth table to establish the local declination. IIRC, the Vikings used a very crude azimuth compass. It was only good for a few days and a few degrees, but it would keep you pointed in the general direction you needed to go.

https://planetcalc.com/4270/
_________________________
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane

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#284729 - 06/07/17 07:21 PM Re: canoe country rescue [Re: CANOEDOGS]
TeacherRO Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/11/05
Posts: 2107
The problem with this wilderness is that it all looks the same; mostly water and lakes. Very hard to get any idea where you are, even with an accurate compass reading.

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#284736 - 06/08/17 03:18 AM Re: canoe country rescue [Re: TeacherRO]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5728
Loc: southern Cal
In flat country, a GPS and a good topo map should do the trick; a compass will be useful when visibility is limited.
_________________________
Geezer in Chief

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#284745 - 06/10/17 06:12 PM Re: canoe country rescue [Re: CANOEDOGS]
KenK Offline
"Be Prepared"
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 1953
Loc: NE Illinois
For me the magnetic compass is used for simple direction alignment (which way is which?? ... I actually bring a small compass to places like Disney World & Sea World), orienting the map (usually in a pretty rough way - done that at DW & SW), and certainly as a backup plan in case the GPS stops working.

When I've canoed on big lakes with uniform shores I found it hard to determine if I'm going in a straight line - especially when there is a bit of side wind.

I've thought that a nautical-type (ball) compass would be nice for that, but with my old eyes it would have to be so big that I think it would get in the way, and certainly be too big for Boundary Water use.

I continue to struggle with the idea of navigating by field bearings in places where I can't travel in a straight line. As a young Boy Scout we did navigation in a huge area of mixed fields and wood, and went in straight lines through some nasty brush. I would think it would be tough to have to zigzag around natural pathways and have to repeatedly figure out the current location and set a new field bearing. Any insight on that would be appreciated (sorry if this is hijacking the thread though).

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#284746 - 06/10/17 09:32 PM Re: canoe country rescue [Re: KenK]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 5728
Loc: southern Cal
I've had good experiences with ball-type nautical compasses mounted on the foredeck of a sea kayak visible and out of the way, even for my aging eyes. It has worked for me in open water passages of up to 26 miles. But a compass doesn't account for the effects of ocean currents.

It helps if your horizon is broken and cluttered, hills, tall trees at a distance, etc. Take a bearing and head for an object which is on or close to your line. The more hills, the better for navigation, although travel may be difficult. The route you will need to follow may have nothing to do with compass bearings.
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Geezer in Chief

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#284792 - 06/15/17 06:04 PM Re: canoe country rescue [Re: CANOEDOGS]
GoatRider Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 817
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
I've been canoeing up there since I was a teenager, long before GPS. In fact, the most memorable time I got disoriented was one of the first times I was following the GPS, and it wasn't quite matching up with the shoreline. I wandered into the wrong bay of an island on Seagull, thinking it was the one that went through. No big deal, we just had to paddle an extra mile or so. But it was an eye opener, to use paper and compass as primary, and the GPS as backup.

I learned how to use declination back in the day, when it was like 6, but I don't usually bother now that it's down to about 2.

My usual procedure is to take a bearing on the map, find a landmark with the compass, and paddle towards that. As a lifelong sailor, I also use the wind as a secondary compass- if the wind direction changes in an unexpected way, it's time to double-check the compass.

I really do need to get a PLB. I got my Ham radio license recently for other reasons. I'm told the repeater network is usually reachable with a handheld, particularly if you're on the far side of the lake from the nearest repeater. So I'll be bringing my handheld next time and trying it out.


Edited by GoatRider (06/15/17 06:04 PM)
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#284824 - Yesterday at 02:56 AM Re: canoe country rescue [Re: CANOEDOGS]
CANOEDOGS Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 1805
Loc: MINNESOTA
back from my trip with no real problems but on a nasty,stormy day in my shelter I was watching the lake whip up.
the thought was that if I swamped in that and just had my PFD with the survival gear in it I would still be in a world of hurt.
a fire would be impossible until the rain stopped and it kept it up a drizzle for hours.a foil bag and blanket over my wet clothes would still be cold. the shore line is cliffs,swamps and thickets and not a easy place to find shelter.
which is why of course I stay away from bad water and camp when the weather gets bad.
a mistake I made years ago in the park in Canada was trying to find my way in confusing areas by looking for campsites.
in the BWCA the only place you can camp has a forest service fire grate.in Canada you can camp anywhere.
so I passed an island in Canada and saw a camp and looked at my park map where some camps are marked and thought I knew where I was.wrong island!wrong camp! I went way out of my way before I saw the mistake.

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