I don't normally teach assisted rescues. I didn't do a lesson for it on the blog, and they aren't included in the book. I formerly taught for the National Outdoor Leadership School and they were a big part of the curriculum. They are wonderful in big groups, when the group doesn't have a lot of experience.
Two weeks ago I spent some time with a superstar student. She is interested in going on the next expedition, and she made this decision with no real paddling experience. Essentially she responded to a challenge. In response to seeing one of the Paddle North Videos, she said 'I would love to do something like that." I said you can, we are planning another trip. What keeps you from going? She started to come up with reasons and realized they were all pretty weak excuses. She then dove in whole heartedly. She bought a kayak, and has been working pretty hard to get where she needs to be - skill wise - to do a trip like the inside passage trip. So we spent a day working on assisted rescues, balance drills and we also did paddle floats, and scrambles. To her credit she is the first person I have ever seen successfully complete a scramble on their first attempt, and her kayak - the perception essence - has fairly low primary stability.
I like the assisted rescues because in a big group they are faster than the paddle float, it also gives other team members something to do. The key is body contact. One person - the assister - is holding the swimmers kayak. The more contact between the assisters body and the kayak the more stable it will be. She does a pretty nice assisted rescue, mine isn't bad either.
I think the important thing is to make a day like this fun. We certainly had a lot of fun messing around with boats, and rescues.
Assisted Rescue Fun from Paddling Otaku on Vimeo.