fresh blog blitherings - throwline discussion

Discussion in 'Paddling Safety' started by mick_allen, Feb 13, 2019 at 6:49 PM.

  1. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    [moved from kayakwriters post in general discussions as suggested by designer]:
    http://www.westcoastpaddler.com/community/threads/fresh-blog-blitherings.8380/

    I [too? don't want to put words in yr mouth] have the opinion that the requirement to have a 15m bouyant 'heaving line' for everyone is a misapplication of a requirement. Much of my and most other paddling is in benign conditions where something like that has never been needed, could be an entanglement and control hazard in inexperienced hands, and more importantly should definitely have a breaking strength of less than the ability to paddle from danger:
    [Is the buoyant line to rescue a boat? a loaded boat? a person in the water? to tow a boat? you and your boat?]
    if a heaving line is to heave from danger, it could just as easily heave one into danger - need an auto breakaway. Seems like a whitewater tool applied to all other kayaking instances.

    Out on the chuck like you were it makes perfect sense and Gumby and Pokey were lucky that the Torrens Towroper was there for the rescue. You probably should have taken the offered barnacles, asked for a bunch more and then dumped them overboard!
     
  2. designer

    designer Paddler

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    I'd go on a little about this - as I'm prone to do - but I think we are moving into the Safety Paddling sub-forum waters. For the short of it, I've been told a throw line (like whitewater people might use) can be handier than a two line - but the towline is regulation in Canada.
     
  3. kayakwriter

    kayakwriter Paddler

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    Preach, brother. A throwline in inexperienced hands is at best useless, at worst a hazard. And a bare line is a really difficult thing to rig a tow with. It has no quick release unless you know how to tie a "slippery" knot.

    A proper belt or boat-mounted towline is much faster to clip in, and can be released quickly, even under load.

    They do make combo throwline/towlines, but I prefer to wear a dedicated waist-mounted towbelt, and stow a meet-the-regs throwline elsewhere. I've used the towline "for real" many times in both my personal and professional paddling for retrieving abandoned boats or towing exhausted paddlers. And the throwline? Mostly for lobbing over tree branches to make a high suspension point for my tarp.

    Actually, it's the throwline that's the requirement in Canada. Scroll down to the chart on page 16 of this PDF.
    http://www.tc.gc.ca/media/documents/marinesafety/TP-511e.pdf?WT.mc_id=87y56
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019 at 9:31 PM
  4. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Is there any enforcement of this requirement? I believe it dates back to about 2002 or so.
     
  5. kayakwriter

    kayakwriter Paddler

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    Never heard of it being enforced, but... on a thread we had years ago about the use of US approved PFDs in Canada, I opined that I thought the Coast Guard here would only nail you for not having a (Canadian approved) PFD if you you were otherwise being some kinda jerk. Since then I've learned of an exception, sort of:

    A friend of mine keeps her Stand Up Paddleboard in the same boathouse as I store my kayak. Paddleboarders who want to keep legal have a choice of a foam PFD (which they're not required to actually wear - they can jam it under their decklines) or a compact hippack inflatable PFD (which must be worn to be legal).

    In actual practice, most boarders wear an ankle leash connecting them to their board, so the board itself is the flotation device (and they can be back on their board about as fast as a kayaker can do a roll.) So a lot of boarders don't (or didn't) bother with any PFD. My friend was one of them. She was pulled over by the Coast Guard a few summers ago, and they asked where her PFD was. Being full of mischief as well as full figured, she waggled her "lady bumps" at them with the declaration that "These are my flotation devices!" They laughed, and they laughed. And they wrote her the full $200 ticket anyway. I thought she at least deserved a discount for trying...
     
  6. designer

    designer Paddler

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    Is it the throw line that also must be 50 ft (I'm sure it's expressed in meters in Canada)? My poor memory recalls discussions about tow lines coming in practical 35 ft sizes and "regulation" 50 ft sizes. As part of kayak savvy, we'd put a butterfly knot in the line about 15 ft from the bag and clip it there - so we were usually dealing with 35 ft but had the full 50 if we needed it.

    The only time I could have used a line, neither of two paddlers near me (Americans in Canadian waters) didn't have one. I had paddled into a "slot" to see if there was a small beach around the corner and realized the incoming tide was pushing me in. The gap was too narrow to paddle out and the sides were covered with sharp shells. I imagined if both of the other two people had a line, one person could "anchor" outside with a line to the second person. The second person would padding in to me and TOSS me his line, then the outside person would pull the other person out and they would both pull me out. In that case, attaching a tow line, instead of tossing it to me, would have been really problematic because the passage was only wide enough for one boat - no way to get up to my boat to attach a tow.

    So I'm still stuck in that gap ... Oh, wait - I waited/timed it for the big waves and they picked me up to a No Resistance height so I could push off/back on the rocks enough to work my way out. Lesson learned. I suppose, because I had a tow line, that one person could have gotten close to the gap and I could have attached the end of the tow to myself and tossed the bag over may head, hoping it would land near the other person. The twisting required to face "freedom" would have qualified me as an extra in "The Exorcist".

    Once I was camping with someone who proudly showed me his "multiple use" by using his tow rope as a clothes line. Problem was, when we went out for our day paddle, he didn't have a tow line because it was being used as a clothes line. That's why I wear belt and suspenders when I make a presentation (Map/Compass/GPS). I prefer a little redundancy over multiplicity.
     
  7. mick_allen

    mick_allen Paddler & Moderator

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    Is there any enforcement of this [throwline] requirement? I believe it dates back to about 2002 or so.

    I've never heard of the kayak throwline being enforced, just the presence of any pfd.
     
  8. Tangler

    Tangler Paddler

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    As Phil mentioned, the requirement is for a "Throw line" not a tow line.
    All the required equipment for kayaks is about personal safety not rescuing others. (Polite as that might be).

    While a tow line is undoubtably a useful piece of equipment I do not think the throw line is of much use in most sea kayaking scenarios. How many of us actually play in rock gardens like the Rangers while touring?
    I think the throw rope requirement is just an un-thought-out throw back to the idea of a mariner throwing a line to a larger vessel when in distress. This might work OK if you are in a 12' V-hull tinny adrift with a dead motor but is of little use for a kayaker in trouble. If the conditions are bad enough that we need a rescue are we really going to be able to take our hands off our paddles long enough to prepare the line and make a functional toss to a boat without shortly thereafter needing to be rescued from the water? If the coast guard is having to rescue us I'm sure they have lots of nice lines on their decks they could throw to us.
    However, it is a legal requirement (enforced or not) so it is probably a good idea to carry one. I often use mine (which is actually a waist pouch tow line) to hang food...