How To Choose A Kayak Throw Rope
Real whitewater kayakers take safety seriously! Rescue throw ropes are a vital piece of safety gear that should be in every whitewater enthusiast’s boat. Designed to protect you and your fellow boaters in a swiftwater rescue scenario, kayak throw ropes consist of a length of floating rope loosely coiled into a heavy-duty floating bag. In an emergency situation, a rescuer can toss the throw bag to a swimmer from a nearby river bank and then use the line to tow or pull the swimmer to safety. A necessity among river guides, kayakers, rafters, and whitewater SUPers, rescue throw ropes are an easy to carry piece of your whitewater safety gear.
Kayak throw bags are designed with safety in mind. The bags are made out of a heavy-duty Cordura to protect the rope inside and a block of closed cell foam is sewn into the base of the bag to ensure the throw rope will float. High-tensile strength floating line means you don’t need to worry about your rope failing during a rescue scenario. And in high-visibility yellow, your swimmer will always be able to find it in the river.
The main considerations to take when purchasing a kayak throw rope is length, thickness, and the material of the line itself. Polypropylene ropes are perfect for a rescue scenario in which a swimmer needs to be towed to shore. Spectra core ropes, with about twice the tensile strength of polypropylene ropes of a similar diameter, are made for heavy-duty rescues in which you may have to call upon your rescue bag to help get a boat unpinned or do some other heavy lifting. Ropes of both materials are available in lengths of 50 feet and up and come in 5/16” and 3/8” diameters.
Tossing a kayak rescue throw rope to a swimmer is an important skill that should be practiced before the need to use it arises. Throwing the bag to a swimmer can be done from shore or from a stable boat such as a raft. With practice, an underhand toss is the most accurate delivery method. The throw bag should be tossed past the swimmer with the goal of having the line fall across their chest. With the help of fellow rescuers, you should pull the swimmer toward the shore as soon as it is safe enough to do so. Never tie the rope to yourself or wrap it around your hand! The best instruction will come from an accredited Swiftwater Rescue course. Know your gear before you need it!
The bottom line is that throw bags save lives. Keep one within reach on every whitewater adventure and double-check that your buddy has one, too! Safe boating is fun for everyone!
Check out our selection of top-quality throw bags from Salamander, NRS, and more. Not only are these bags one of the least expensive pieces of gear in your boat, they will give you peace of mind when you need it the most.