Prepare men and equipment for a crossing as far in advance as feasible. Final preparation should be completed in a security perimeter on the near side just before crossing. Preparation includes the following.
a. Waterproof water-sensitive items. Wrap radios, binoculars, SOI, papers, maps and any extra clothing in waterproof bags (trash bags also work well), if available. These bags also provide additional buoyancy in case of a fall.
b. Trousers are unbloused and shirts are pulled out of the trousers. All pockets are buttoned. This allows water to escape through the clothing. Otherwise the clothing would fill up and retain water, which would weigh the body down. This is especially critical if an individual must swim to shore. Depending on the circumstances of the crossing (for example, tactical situation, temperature of the air and water), the crossing can be made in minimal clothing so that dry clothing is available after the crossing. Boots should be worn to protect feet from rocks; however, socks and inner soles should be removed. On the far side, the boots can be drained and dry socks replaced.
c. Load-carrying equipment harness and load-bearing vest (LBV) is unbuckled and worn loosely. It is extremely difficult to remove a buckled harness in the water in an emergency.
d. Helmets are normally removed and placed in the rucksack in slow moving streams with sandy or gravel bottoms. If you have to resort to swimming it is easier done without the helmet. However, when crossing swift flowing streams, especially those with large rocks and other debris, the risk of head injury if a person slips is high. In this case the helmet should be worn with the chinstrap fastened.
e. The rucksack should be worn well up on the shoulders and snug enough so it does not flop around and cause you to lose your balance. The waist strap MUST be unbuckled so you can get rid of the pack quickly if you are swept off your feet and have to resort to swimming. If a pack has a chest strap it must also be unbuckled. Secure everything well within your pack. It is easier to find one large pack than to find several smaller items.
f. Individual weapons should be attached to the pack or slung over the shoulder.
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