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Old 05-13-2020, 06:53 PM   #1
djstone
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Default Throw Bags

Hello All!

I'm reaching out to the experts! I was on another kayaking site and this topic came up.

The throw bag. I have one. I have never used it. I have watched videos on You tube but they all show someone on shore throwing it to someone in the water. What is the proper way to use a throw bag while seated in your kayak? Do I just hang on to the loose end? Wrap it around myself first? Keep it attached to my deck rigging?

Anxious for anyone to weigh in on this. Thank you!
Darla
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Old 05-13-2020, 11:03 PM   #2
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Default re THROW BAGS

Darla look at it this way. I spent 25 years with a fire department. This sounds callous but at least consider it for a moment. Our rule went as follows:

1 Save yourself.
2 Save the victim.
3 Save the property.
DO NOT ADD YOURSELF TO THE VICTIM LIST

We stand on the shore if at all possible because there we can be effective. We can anchor ourselves in position, have another person or two helping anchor us. It's unbelievable just how hard it is to stop a person who is in a strong current and grabs you throw line. I f you aren't set you will be pulled right into the stream after your victim, making it now 2 people to rescue. In your kayak there is no way to hold yourself in position.

When you use a throw bag HOLD the rope end. Do not tie it to yourself or your boat. Try throwing it standing in your back yard. Practice for accuracy. You can also try sitting in the kayak and throwing it. You'll soon see why everyone is on the shore.

Ask when we are on the water. We can usually take a short break and try a few practices to help you out.
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Old 05-14-2020, 10:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djstone View Post
The throw bag. I have one. I have never used it. I have watched videos on You tube but they all show someone on shore throwing it to someone in the water. What is the proper way to use a throw bag while seated in your kayak? Do I just hang on to the loose end? Wrap it around myself first? Keep it attached to my deck rigging?
I am no expert, but Stan has offered excellent advice. Do not tie the rope from a throw bag to yourself or your boat if the rope is being used to throw to a swimmer. Do not let yourself become a victim. You have to be able to let the rope go, if necessary. (It's OK to tie or clip the throw bag onto your boat when it is not being used.)

Throw bags are most often used from shore in our sport, but there can be instances where throwing one from a boat may be necessary. A swimmer trapped in a low head dam hydraulic, too far to reach by throw bag rope from shore, comes to mind. However, this is getting into a tricky and sometimes difficult rescue situation that can be a high risk for the rescuers. These rescues can involve tethering boats and rescuers from shore and/or other boats far enough downstream to keep a rescue boat/rescuers from crossing the boil line and getting in trouble themselves. There are a couple of good books that delve into the physics and techniques of whitewater rescue: Whitewater Rescue Manual by Walbridge and Sundmacher and River Rescue by Bechdel and Ray. There may be other more recent publications and I'm sure there will be a bunch of YouTube videos.

Since you asked, tossing a throw bag from a seated position in a kayak or canoe would be done best by throwing it overhand, like a baseball. On shore, the underhand toss is probably used most often. (Make sure to hold onto the loose end regardless of how it is thrown.)

Using a throw bag effectively from shore takes some training and practice both for the rescuer on shore and the swimmer. If not adequately belayed, the rescuer could be easily pulled into the water by the force of the swimmer holding onto the rope in the current.

Last edited by JPTolson; 05-14-2020 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 05-14-2020, 07:02 PM   #4
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Thank you JP and Stan! I value your input.

After reading your comments, my first thought was maybe it would be better if I just left it at home but then I thought, I could always throw it to someone on shore and it could still be useful in some situations. I did try throwing it from my kayak after I first got it and it was nearly impossible for me to throw it very far or accurately.

One of the early trips we were on Tom and another kayaker hit a strainer and the other kayaker went swimming. I was amazed at how quickly everyone jumped into action. There was no yelling, screaming or panicking. I only heard whistles. It looked so choreographed and practiced that many of us didn't even know there had been a situation. I hope to someday get to that point where I intuitively know what needs to be done. Until then I am going to rely on you guys and your years of experience to be the teachers and helpers. Thanks again for sharing what you know!
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Old 05-14-2020, 09:01 PM   #5
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Darla, It's still a good idea to carry a throw bag on the river in my opinion. There is a lot to know about river rescue and it would be great if everyone could take a swift water rescue class even though TCT is not a whitewater club. I've taken a couple classes, but it's been a long time ago. It's the kind of topic where one needs a regular refresher class and a chance to practice.

JP
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Old 05-15-2020, 06:46 PM   #6
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JP, I would definitely be interested in something like that!
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Old 05-17-2020, 05:22 PM   #7
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Three Rivers Paddling Club does one every year I believe...
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Old 05-17-2020, 09:59 PM   #8
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On several trips in the past we have tried to go over throw bags.
Ron Eells has taught me alot same with some Cleveland keel haulers.
Always willing to do a basic safety session at cement plant wave train on the mahoning.
We did some practicing on this trip with some failed attempts but some great ones.
There are some in the video. The best one is near the end

https://youtu.be/_W0RSjbc65Y

Mike
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Old 05-18-2020, 10:53 PM   #9
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NRS.com has lots of videos about various boating topics, including several about throw bags. Click the "learn" tab at the top of their page and scroll through the topics, or use their search bar. And of course, practice a few throws in the back yard, so you can get it right to me when I go washing down the river.

Last edited by Ambridger; 05-18-2020 at 10:56 PM.
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