Fresh Water Jump - Potential Damage

Recommended Posts


Some of us are planning a jump into a fresh water lake. Is there any potential to damage the container, and or canopy.

I have heard several different thoughts on this, and am looking for someone who has the experience to comment.

Does the water affect the ZP of a canopy. I have a relatively new canopy that I might be jumping, but I won't if there's a chance that it could be damaged.

What does your experience say?
What goes up, must come DOWN!!!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
It would depend on the type of coating on the canopy, or more so what kind of shape its in, with ZP. It also depends how long it's in the water. Land next to the boat, or shore, and getting plucked out right away is always better. But even in the case of "fresh water" a later rinsing of the gear in a clean trash can with clean water is usually a good idea.

However, it's the load tapes in the canopy that can be affected most by water and also the lines. And the more your ZP canopy depends on trim to fly properly the more water immersion can effect it. Most of this effect would be brought out by improperly drying the gear later and having the load tapes and lines dry at different rates. But in any case just like with us men and water - some shrinkage will occur.

Another point is what is fresh water? To me that means you could dip a straw in and drink it. If not than who knows what's in there.

When we do BASE type water jumps it's either with a round, or an older F-111 square. And with those whatever the water does isn't too noticeable later on as far as performance.

There's also the gizmo issue, but I'm sure you thought of that already. But you certainly don't want to intentionally soak an AAD even if it claims to be waterproof.

Containers are pretty tough so as long as the plating on your hardware is intact, and you dry it off properly, you won't get any rust.

It's been my experience that most people who do intentional water jumps use their "B" gear. If you don't have "B" gear I've seen folks use the opportunity to jump some older round gear, but I'm hesitant to suggest that if you've never done it before. Jumping non-familiar gear can always be dangerous and I'd rather you use what's familiar to you, even if you have to throw the canopy away and buy another - if it comes to that.

Lastly, to be perfectly honest, if you ever sell the canopy you should cop to the fact it's got a water jump on it. And that might scare off some folks unless you drop the asking price enough.

Have fun and wear a floaty device not matter what!

NickD :)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Even in the 80's when we had simpler canopy designs, gear, etc, not to mention much CHEAPER gear we would use "B" gear. Hell, we used "f" gear!B| Old rounds or ram airs, chest reserves or older containers with round reserves. These days the equivalent would be a 15 year old Vector II with a Raven reserve and a Fury main.

I've got enough water jumps and gear that I wouldn't even think of taking my primary rig into water now. Didn't then either.

So, it may very well be fine it's not the best thing for it.

If you do it remember to take your AAD out first, no matter what the manual says. You all will have two wet canopies to hang up, fully spread, out of the sunlight somewhere clean and safe. It's tought to find room to do that. In addition you'll have a wet harness that will takes days to dry completely.

IF you chose to use other gear, remember you may MISS the water. Jump something you want to land off the DZ in a tight area on land. I watched a whole Beech 18 load miss the lake. Many of the jumpers were jumping older rounds or ram airs, secondary gear.

ALSO many of the jumpers that missed the lake were wearing swim suits and nothing else. No shoes or shirts. Be prepared to land anywhere.

Of course the BASE guys don't have time to miss the lake.;)
I'm old for my age.
Terry Urban

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
My very first "water" jump was like that. I was using a T-10 and gut gear and I spent so long getting my chest mounted reserve into a protective plastic bag I got seriously off the wind line.

I landed in some weeds about 20 yards from the water, but in looking around I didn't see anyone, so I gathered up the gear, sprinted for the lake, and jumped in . . .

Pretty sad, eh . . . :o

NickD :)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account. It's free!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now