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Ah spring… Green grass, warming temperatures…

… and RAIN!

A wet, wet, WET landing area at Skydive Spaceland
Photo by JP Furnari

One of the most common questions we see in our social media news feeds this time of the year is, “How wet is the landing area?”

If you have to ask, the answer is usually “underwater!” 

So, we have at least a fair chance of landing in a puddle from time to time. As you might have already discovered, it’s far from the end of the world! There are a few things that can help you land more safely and better manage your gear.

Water landing technique

Puddles are the last hazard to avoid. Water won’t hurt you unless it’s deep enough to drown in and you can’t swim. Plan your landing pattern to avoid obstacles and people first, puddles last.

Water won’t hurt you unless it’s deep enough to drown in

Instructor Hank Prewitt surfs the main landing area, showing us how it’s done
Photo by Erendira Sanchez

Don’t dodge puddles if you’re on final. Since no one WANTS to land in the water, it’s very tempting to turn a little left or right to avoid a puddle when you’re about to land. However, remember two things:

  • One, low turns can hurt you a whole lot more than a little water!
  • Two, other skydivers may be flying near you, and your turns may cause them to turn low to avoid you and thereby risk injury. Not cool!

Water and mud are super slick–be ready to PLF! Whether you’re touching down in a puddle or slick mud, chances are very good that you may slip and fall. As funny as it can be for the rest of us to watch others trying to stay on their feet in this scenario, it can increase your risk of injury. Just like if the ground were dry, always be prepared to PLF if your landing isn’t going as planned.

Puddles are the last hazard to avoid, after obstacles and other skydivers
Photo by Erendira Sanchez

Look after your gear

Once you’re down, hop up quick to get the rig out of the water. If the container soaks in water for any length of time, it will have to be dried before it can be repacked, meaning you can’t jump it again for awhile. And if the reserve container gets soaked, there’s a reserve inspection and repack in your future and that rig is down for even longer. Thirdly, there is the risk that if the reserve container gets very wet, your automatic activation device (AAD, Cypres in our rigs) may have gotten wet enough that it will need maintenance as well–>more potential downtime.

If the container soaks in water for any length of time, it will have to be dried before it can be repacked

Pick the canopy up out of the water quickly as well. If your canopy lands in standing water, pick it up as quickly as you can rather than waiting until after you’ve removed helmet/goggles, etc. The packers won’t pack a wet canopy, so if you want to jump that rig again soon, pick it up quick to minimize its soaking time! Make sure you have every bit of the gear off the ground before carrying it in, as always.

If your jumpsuit or shoes get significantly muddy, you can hose them off out back by the observation deck or between the hangars.

If your rig gets significantly muddy, it’s usually best to scrape off any clinging mud, then let the rig dry thoroughly before using a brush to knock the rest of it out of the fabric. If you brush it wet, you’re just cramming the dirt deeper into the fabric.

Not sure if your rig needs any special care after a wet landing? Ask one of the packers or instructors for help if you’re not sure how to handle your wet gear. If the rig needs cleaning and a repack, you will incur some charges from the riggers whether you are jumping your own gear or renting gear. 

Tip

Bring dry shoes and socks to wear after jumping. Don’t waste your last pair of dry socks and shoes on another water landing, but it sure is nice to have dry feet for the evening and on the way home.

Stay safe, not dry 🙂
Photo by Erendira Sanchez

Article originally published on Skydive Spaceland’s website

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Meet: Christy West

Christy is Marketing Director for Skydive Spaceland and loves to write informative articles, especially for newer jumpers. She enjoys many aspects of the sport, especially 4-way and 8-way. Christy has been instrumental in developing Spaceland programs to nurture newcomers to the sport.

She is outside center for Aviatrixx, the US women's 4-way formation skydiving team for the 2021 World Meet.

Christy is proud to be sponsored by Sun Path, Cookie, Performance Designs, LB Altimeters, and Tony Suits

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