Knife Rope or Nothing

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Poke
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Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Poke »

In amongst an inordinate amount of inane blather on a certain facebook group, someone posted a question about whether you would carry a knife or a rope. Most people who answered said that they'd NEVER carry a rope without a knife as something might go wrong with the rope, thus requiring a knife to remedy the situation. This sururprised me a bit, so here's another one to ponder which might give me an insight into people's reasoning:

If you've forgotten your knife, but remembered your rope do you:
A) not paddle?
B) take the rope only?
C) take nothing?
D) ...something else? (what?)
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Grumpy old man
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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Grumpy old man »

Hi
I have two BAs each with a knife in the pocket so I never forget my knife, I quite often forget my rope :-( but I still paddle.

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by JasonFox »

Other Option: Ask friends if they have a rope, if they don't... give them mine. If they all have ropes then mine stays with me :)

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Mark Dixon »

I think most paddlers will have it in their BA and forget about it, your more likely to forget a throwline which I done recently. 1 paddler was dismayed and concerned, I pointed out that there were loads of us in the group with throwlines so it wasnt a problem.
Most beginners have no safety equipment and dont place great importance only paddling lower grade stuff, I quite often lead a group and 1 or 2 may have a rope.
There are a lot more dangerous things to do than kayaking in both leisure and work, Building site safety is becoming a joke nowadays with no shorts allowed, safety glasses at all times, no 240volt chargers, where does it stop?
If I didnt have a knife I'd still paddle, I've never seen anyone use a knife or heard of anyone having to use one in a situation, in fact I believe a saw would be more used. How many people carry a saw?
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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by cswalker »

Not a bad policy to have a knife to go your rope, it makes sense!

However, if I forgot my knife, I sure as hell will be taking my line no matter what - that is something I won't ever be without.

However, a line under tension can be cut by pretty much anything from a sharpish paddle blade edge, a rock, a brick, another piece of rope thinner in diameter. Don't believe me then try it...

All this being said, if it was a piece of class V then I might be considering otherwise more so on the personal entrapment aspect.

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by WRK »

B.

The answer not to take a rope because you don't have a knife seems bizarre.

How many times have you used your rope without a knife? Lots I bet. I think we can play the odds a bit.

If you don't want to paddle because you don't have your knife fair enough.

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Xan »

I'd still paddle, I'd still take my line, but chances are I'd leave set up line based safety to others in the group and stay in a boat and sweep up the swimmers. That way I have a line in case of emergency but I'm minimising the chance of risk.

I use my river knife regulary but its usually for stuff like this.....


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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Adrian Cooper »

Mark Dixon wrote: How many people carry a saw?
Quite a few canoeists. Indeed, I carry a large saw in my kitbag which is more about removing debris and, if I am on more difficult water, I have a little one in my waist bag to cut me out if I need to.

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Randy Fandango »

WRK wrote:B.

The answer not to take a rope because you don't have a knife seems bizarre.

How many times have you used your rope without a knife? Lots I bet. I think we can play the odds a bit.

If you don't want to paddle because you don't have your knife fair enough.
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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Big Henry »

As the original question has to some extent been answered, (take your rope even if you forgot your knife) I would like to ask: where do people keep their throwbags? Mine is kept in my kayak between my legs, but if my boat were pinned I would struggle to get the rope. So should I have one attached to my waist, but wouldn't that cause a possible snag hazard if I swim? What do people think?

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Kayak Mike »

Not to take a rope would be mad! Thats a piece of kit that could be used to help someone else in your group!

Not to take a knife wouldn't be half as bad, as WRK pointed out, how often have most of us used our rescue knifes?

The main problem with forgetting your knife would be the difficulties of getting a nice even spread of butter, or clean slice of cheese for your sarnie whilst everyones sorting the shuttle out...


With that in mind I'd probably go with option A head home where there are plenty of knives, and a toasty machine, and enjoy a scalding hot cheese toasty.

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by TechnoEngineer »

Poke wrote: If you've forgotten your knife, but remembered your rope do you:
A) not paddle?
B) take the rope only?
C) take nothing?
D) ...something else? (what?)
D) Make sure someone else in the team has a knife.
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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by tambakosi »

Big Henry wrote:As the original question has to some extent been answered, (take your rope even if you forgot your knife) I would like to ask: where do people keep their throwbags? Mine is kept in my kayak between my legs, but if my boat were pinned I would struggle to get the rope. So should I have one attached to my waist, but wouldn't that cause a possible snag hazard if I swim? What do people think?
I carry my throwbag on my waist now using a Palm safety belt with QR buckle. I prefer this as I always have it with me and it also keeps me leaning forward in my boat as i'm a lazy bugger.

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by freddie »

tambakosi wrote:I carry my throwbag on my waist now using a Palm safety belt with QR buckle. I prefer this as I always have it with me and it also keeps me leaning forward in my boat as I'm a lazy bugger.
I used to carry one on my waist, but I stopped as it stopped me being able to lean back when I wanted to.

I liked having a line on my waist for the ease of it, but having one between my legs is still fairly fast and easy to get to, and I take it with me by default whenever I get out, it's one of those things that you can learn to do without thinking after a while.
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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by scottdog007 »

Mark Dixon wrote:......How many people carry a saw?
Mark
I carry a 'pruning saw' in the front of my boat after getting pinned chasing a boat in grade 2 water. Boat went around a rock I went the other way around the rock to find a 5 inch diameter tree across my path. I had time to spin around and got pinned backwards in main flow. Someone came to my rescue with a saw. He was chuffed as he had carried the saw for years and had never used it.

Now I have a saw positioned in the front of the boat. It stays there all the time, even when boat is on the car roof.

The knife stays in the BA all the time as well. I must admit that the last time I checked it, it was a bit corroded where the aluminium had gone furry, so slightly hard to open.

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by banzer »

Knife is v important on the White Nile... for cutting into pineapples when chilling at Superhole. Rope is very unimportant, unless the tow-in to Nile Special has broken!
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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by TonyM »

Going off piste for a moment:
Mark Dixon wrote: There are a lot more dangerous things to do than kayaking in both leisure and work, Building site safety is becoming a joke nowadays with no shorts allowed, safety glasses at all times, no 240volt chargers, where does it stop?
Mark
Presumably with less people being killed or injured at work... This could serioulsy interfere with paddling time. Not being injured is generally cheaper than being injured too.

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Mark Dixon »

TonyM wrote:Going off piste for a moment:
Mark Dixon wrote: There are a lot more dangerous things to do than kayaking in both leisure and work, Building site safety is becoming a joke nowadays with no shorts allowed, safety glasses at all times, no 240volt chargers, where does it stop?
Mark
Presumably with less people being killed or injured at work... This could serioulsy interfere with paddling time. Not being injured is generally cheaper than being injured too.
I am a roofer so firstly why do I need a helmet? nobody will drop anything on my head, when I'm scrambling around I need trainers for stability, no need for steel toecapped boots which are a hindrance, I can move around a lot safer in shorts than trousers. Glasses, yup understand that as theres a lot of dust around. Dont know how I've managed for last 30 years
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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Randy Fandango »

Mark Dixon wrote: I am a roofer so firstly why do I need a helmet?
I once watched a group of guys hot-top a car park -- all wearing hard hats.
It made me smile :-)
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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Jon_Brown »

Randy Fandango wrote:I once watched a group of guys hot-top a car park -- all wearing hard hats.
It made me smile :-)
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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by harry_paddle »

I can understand why workers don't want to wear a hats while working on the roof. However- from a site management point of view, if a roofer doesn't wear the hat while working on the roof, maybe thats ok, but the minute they come down from the roof and walk through the rest of the site, the chances are they forget to put it back on. Its a hell of a lot easier to say hats always on. This makes sense no?

By making it policy for everyone to comply with PPE brings down risk on the site. You only need to see the stats from building site injurys and deaths (RIDDOR) to understand why the CDM07 came into play!

sorry- just i firmly believe that H&S is so so important on a live building site.

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Mark Dixon »

harry_paddle wrote:I can understand why workers don't want to wear a hats while working on the roof. However- from a site management point of view, if a roofer doesn't wear the hat while working on the roof, maybe thats ok, but the minute they come down from the roof and walk through the rest of the site, the chances are they forget to put it back on. Its a hell of a lot easier to say hats always on. This makes sense no?

By making it policy for everyone to comply with PPE brings down risk on the site. You only need to see the stats from building site injurys and deaths (RIDDOR) to understand why the CDM07 came into play!

sorry- just I firmly believe that H&S is so so important on a live building site.
Before it got stupid on sites we used to change boots and put on helmets before we climbed down the ladder, this worked fine and the sensible answer. Most building sites these days are more dangerous than before as nobody cleans up after themselves like they used to, prices have been squeezed and everyones rushing around. Site safety is all about covering the company, should accident happen they dont like being blamed, my lad recently worked inside Exeter Uni dismantling seats in the theatre, he had to wear full safety equipment in the theatre when there were just 2 of them, he told me it was totally ridiculous. I rarely go on site anymore :)

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by callum s »

I am curious - can anyone here give me an example of a real situation where a knife has been a crucial piece of equipment in a rescue which would have otherwise likely resulted in severe injury or death?

I have been paddling whitewater for close to 10 years, been involved in a lot of rescues, quite a few potentially life threatening, and never seen a knife used.

Of course the theory is there but in real life I think situations where a knife is a key piece of equipment are very very rare. A rope on the other hand… well I have personally had my ass saved by quick reactions and a throw line.

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Bruce Jolliffe »

I once felt very hungry and only had a lump of cheese and my oatcakes. I had left my buoyancy aid by my boat and I was to weak to crawl to it. I had my rope by my side but it was useless. I had to resort to biting the cheese and nibbling the oatcakes, it was so uncultured. I've been covered in shame ever since. Never forget your knife.

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Whitey1 »

I am curious - can anyone here give me an example of a real situation where a knife has been a crucial piece of equipment in a rescue which would have otherwise likely resulted in severe injury or death?

I have been paddling whitewater for close to 10 years, been involved in a lot of rescues, quite a few potentially life threatening, and never seen a knife used.
I've been reluctant to post on this as I could end up sounding like a preacher but YES I can provide an example. At 18.20 hours on May 9th 2011 I came out on a stopper on a grade III river I had run maybe 20 times, only on this night it was officially on the large side of huge. As the river was bursting banks and in trees I got pushed into some underwater shrub type stuff and the spraydeck got trapped, dragging me under. I could just about stand up though the water was up to my chest and the spraydeck was well under water. No one could get anywhere near to assist in a rescue. The only way out was to try and cut the spraydeck underwater. I succeeded and ended up in hospital and was fine the next day. Without the knife it would have been the morgue. Sine then every paddler in our group of friends carries a knife. I carry two. Your life, your choice.

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by HarryWats0n »

I had a search for 'knife' in the fairly comprehensive American Whitewater database (Summary box of accident section).
https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/Search/view/
A very rough look at the data reveals...


1 clear incident where a knife was used to cut a spraydeck and free the person. Probably saving their life.
1 attempt of cutting a plastic kayak that was vertically pinned. Boat extracted by other methods. Maybe a saw would have worked???
1 where a knife was noted that it could have been used to cut a trapped spray deck, but they couldn't reach it anyway.
1 pinned into boat by straps/ webbing couldn't reach their own knife but another rescuer used their knife to free them
1 person wrapped in a rope in a hole. They were offered a knife, but didn't take it. Possibly could have been saved if they'd have had one. It was noted that this wouldn't have happened with a properly packed throwline
1 Where a person considered, but didn't use due to trapped PFD straps. Again this is minimised nowadays by strap-less designs in gear
1 was used to slash an airbag on a pinned canoe. It helped to free the boat, but didn't save the victim as it was too late.
1 where somebody considered it, but didn't want to cut the deck.
1 incident where cutting the deck resulted in a cut leg/artery which the person died from!

I'm sure there are examples out there of when a knife has been used in anger and it's been very useful. This data has made me think that given the option between carrying a knife and saw, the saw can do everything a knife can do and cut trees!

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Adrian Cooper »

I've not tried but I suspect cutting a rope with a saw would be difficult.

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Jim Pullen »

I tried to save a friend by cutting their spray deck which was trapped between a tree and the boat below the water line. I failed mostly due to the cold and lack of sensation (it didn't seem to be cutting it). However, it would have been added to the top of the long list of "what ifs" if I hadn't have been carrying it in the first place.
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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Mike79 »

"Never carry a rope without a knife" goes along with "I can't believe you haven't cut that loop on your dry-suit zipper, do you WANT to die" and "Oh my God you've got a handle on your throw-line, don't you know ANYTHING!!!" All oft repeated by a particular kind of club coach type who wants to appear authoritative but totally marginal in terms of safety.

Safety is overwhelmingly about having good paddling skills and matching those skills to the right environment, that plus basic kit mitigates 99% of your risk. There will be occasional mishaps that need to be resolved but again it's skills that are paramount, the details of your kit are some way down the list of most important factors.

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Re: Knife Rope or Nothing

Post by Club coach »

Wouldn't you say a river knife is part of basic kit?

I tie mine in to my B/A very risky! But consider dropping it if I needed it more hassle than a cut up face or what ever fate would befall me.
I also would carry a throw bag if I didn't have a knife. risk is probably minimum.

As for snag hazards I think you'll find a lot of national coaches would advocate reducing snag hazards as much as possible. most club coaches get some training at national centres that's how they get the qualifications to help their coaching. Perhaps you should shoot doen some of the top coaches in the country?

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