First Aid For Kayaking

Use this scenario to put your Raven Medical 80-hour Wilderness First Responder skills to the test – what first aid for kayaking tools are in your arsenal?

Fill out a set of our RavenMed SOAP notes with your assessment, and compare your response to ours… which will be uploaded to this post in about a week!

First Aid For Kayaking Scenario

You and a few other staff are manning the rentals at the boat house at Camp Nakamun, a year-round retreat destination in central Alberta.

A large group of teens has rented kayaks and PFDs, and is paddling on Lake Nakamun.  It is a beautiful June day, forecasted to reach 21 degrees celcius, with only a few clouds in the sky and a light wind across the water.

Part way through the afternoon paddle, the wind picks up and three of the kayakers get separated from the larger group.  

As the wind pushes the three boaters further away, one of them overturns.  The paddler tries to self rescue, but cannot get back into their boat. The other two kayakers try to help him, but he can only hang onto the hull of his boat.

Paddlers from the larger group had headed back to shore shortly after the wind picked up. They notify you and the other boat rental staff that three members of their party were separated from them because of the wind.

You and another staff member head out onto the lake in a power boat to locate the three kayakers. It takes 25 minutes to reach them.  The immersed kayaker is pulled into the boat, and your co-worker immediately wraps him in a tarp. The other two kayakers, and their boats, are also pulled into the power boat.  The immersed kayaker is conscious, but very lethargic and unclear in communicating. He is shivering and shaking violently, and there is a loud wheezing sound with he breathes out.  His first set of vitals, taken at 1630, are A-, with a pulse of 95 and a respiratory rate of 24.

When questioned, the other two paddlers estimate that the patient was in the water for just under an hour, and that he has asthma but forgot his blue puffer at home.  It’s also noted that he didn’t attend lunch or breakfast today.

The boat throttles the 25 minutes back to shore.  From shore, the nearest medical centre is 35 minutes away. Cell reception is readily available.

A second set of vitals is taken at 1645, and are A-, with a pulse of 92, and a respiratory rate of 22.


Given the immersed kayaker’s condition, decide on your treatment plan for the kayaker.

Create a SOAP note for the patient, including anticipated problems. Record any treatments, and the plan moving forward for your patient.

This scenario was supplied by our friends at Camp Nakamun. Camp Nakamun is a summer camp and year-round retreat destination.  Their staff is trained to meet and exceed the first aid industry standard for Alberta Camping Association members, which calls for variations on Alberta workplace first aid.  

Wilderness medical training goes above and beyond workplace first aid, and equips Nakamun staff to handle challenging scenarios, like this one, with confidence.


While your judgement and decision-making will make your handling of this first aid for kayaking scenario unique, these SOAPs from the experts at Raven Medical are the standard by which you should measure your own response…