Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...^

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Taran Tyla
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Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...^

Post by Taran Tyla » Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:48 pm

After a rather eventful day yesterday I couldn't help but spend the night pondering my actions during the rescue of my friend.
I've noted some points that I need to address in future but also welcome any suggestions as experience is a great teacher.

The full story is available on my blog http://tarantyla-seakayaking.blogspot.c ... earnt.html

Cheers, Taran...

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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by TechnoEngineer » Mon Apr 25, 2011 2:08 pm

Nomad Sea Kayaking make a robust short-long waist-mounted tow rope:

http://www.nomadseakayaking.co.uk/index ... uct_id=806
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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by Taran Tyla » Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:14 pm

That would work but I was thinking of this http://www.artistic-sportswear.de/en/c/ ... /throwline The 18M throwline & belt. Two uses in one :)

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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by TechnoEngineer » Mon Apr 25, 2011 3:50 pm

Looks good. Kurt (Nomad Sea Kayaking) uses Jeff Allen's throw-tow (mounted on his BA, as at 0:55 in the video) in addition to his waist-mounted towline:
http://shop.seakayakingcornwall.com/jef ... m-57-p.asp

http://solentseakayaking.co.uk/2010/12/ ... ow-system/
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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by TechnoEngineer » Mon Apr 25, 2011 4:40 pm

Taran Tyla wrote:That would work but I was thinking of this http://www.artistic-sportswear.de/en/c/ ... /throwline The 18M throwline & belt. Two uses in one :)
Bear in mind that you wouldn't be able to easily effect a short tow with that?
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Taran Tyla
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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by Taran Tyla » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:08 pm

Was looking at Jeff Allens throw tow but its £80 (ouch).
Planning on a sling & carabina for a short tow. Always something else to buy (LOL)...

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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by Mark R » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:19 pm

Almost anything can potentially become a towline in an emergency - your decklines, your bouyancy aid straps, even your whole BA (experiment with clipping the buckles through the grabloops/ decklines).
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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by Ceegee » Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:18 pm

£80 how are you?

50 feet of floating 8mm line (about £6), 3' of 6mm shock cord (£1). An oval fishing net float (free, of the beach), a cordura stuff bag (£3.99 - detachable rucksack side pocket from Millets). A carabiner (£5) and a bit of shock cord and two plastic carabiner hooks to hold the bag to the rear deck. I punched a hole and 20mm eyelet in the bottom of the bag for the line.

Total cost under £15. You will also need a faired cam-cleat and a bull's eye fairlead on the back deck. About £20 for the two.

I prefer attaching to the boat, not my waist. Big jerk in swell/race waves is not going to do your lumbar vertebrae a lot of good.

(sorry, can't post a photo - similar in the Almanac)
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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by MikeB » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:07 pm

Ceegee wrote:I prefer attaching to the boat, not my waist. Big jerk in swell/race waves is not going to do your lumbar vertebrae a lot of good.
Seconded - from experience, some years ago - I got surfed forward while attached to a flooded boat which was dead in the water - and I doubt I'd have stayed upright if I'd been using a waist tow either. It was a violent stop.

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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by Taran Tyla » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:18 pm

Hmmm, did think about deck lines, then that would probably start a discussion on carrying knives (LOL).
Thought about the DIY route too but I don,t think £45 for the one I fancy will break the bank.

On the day we could have only towed him the couple of miles to Flat Holm Island anyway, it would have been to rough after that in the condition my mate was in. Live & learn...

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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by TechnoEngineer » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:28 pm

You should really be carrying a safety knife regardless...
Ceegee wrote:£80 how are you?

50 feet of floating 8mm line (about £6), 3' of 6mm shock cord (£1). An oval fishing net float (free, of the beach), a cordura stuff bag (£3.99 - detachable rucksack side pocket from Millets). A carabiner (£5) and a bit of shock cord and two plastic carabiner hooks to hold the bag to the rear deck. I punched a hole and 20mm eyelet in the bottom of the bag for the line.

Total cost under £15. You will also need a faired cam-cleat and a bull's eye fairlead on the back deck. About £20 for the two.

I prefer attaching to the boat, not my waist. Big jerk in swell/race waves is not going to do your lumbar vertebrae a lot of good.
The Nomad tow line is £60, and although I could have made one like it myself, there's no way it would have been anything near as good in quality, and I would have to value my time at £1 per hour to make it worthwhile for assembly, testing and reiteration. I eventually decided against a deck mounted tow-line since I don't like the idea of deck clutter vis-a-vis self-rescues. I might still fit a cam-cleat or such like to the deck as a boat-mounted shock absorber. Hopefully in a year's time I'll still be thinking the same way....
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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by Ceegee » Mon Apr 25, 2011 9:38 pm

TechnoEngineer wrote:You should really be carrying a safety knife regardless...
Seconded, and these are good (and safe) too. A fiver from Lomo

Image
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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by TechnoEngineer » Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:49 am

MikeB wrote:
Ceegee wrote:I prefer attaching to the boat, not my waist. Big jerk in swell/race waves is not going to do your lumbar vertebrae a lot of good.
Seconded - from experience, some years ago - I got surfed forward while attached to a flooded boat which was dead in the water - and I doubt I'd have stayed upright if I'd been using a waist tow either. It was a violent stop.
Surely a tug of that much force would cause a waist tow's quick-release mechanism to slip?
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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by garya » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:35 am

Get one of these for towing

http://www.peakuk.com/peakukkit.php?con ... &prodid=99

They should be easy to get from all good kayak shops or by mail order, I think I paid about £35 for mine. I have had a number of towlines over the years but this is the best I have found mainly because it is so easy and quick to repack, ther is lots of room in the bag to stuff handfulls in and an easy zip to close it. This is a real bonus as you usually find you have to do this in some form of swell, with one hand

It will work for both waist and deck towing. It has a short tail of rope in the bag you can lengthen to feed through a deck towing system.

Another thing I was shown and use for a short or supported tow is an elasicated cows tail cliped across my foredeck, this can be used for a quick snatch tow in an emergancy, or to help hold the boats together for a supported rafted tow taking some of the strain off you and free your hands up too.


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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by garya » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:43 am

TechnoEngineer wrote:
MikeB wrote:
Ceegee wrote:I prefer attaching to the boat, not my waist. Big jerk in swell/race waves is not going to do your lumbar vertebrae a lot of good.
Seconded - from experience, some years ago - I got surfed forward while attached to a flooded boat which was dead in the water - and I doubt I'd have stayed upright if I'd been using a waist tow either. It was a violent stop.
Surely a tug of that much force would cause a waist tow's quick-release mechanism to slip?
Not before you where laying on the back deck with the towline pulled up under your boyancy aid. it is the Sea kayak version of being stuck on the end of a towline in a white water river and has exactly the same problems.

If the water is rough it is likly that you will be towing two people and its a bit like draging an anchour, if you are the middle person in a line astern two person tow the experiance is even more unpleasnt and one I would avoid if at all possible.

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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by Dolphin » Tue Apr 26, 2011 12:13 pm

How could you ever have passed your 3* Sea without a tow-line? Without even owning one? Did you borrow one for your assessment?

The last time I felt utterly useless (even felt 'naked') was after I had lost my tow-line in surf and was still responsible for a group. Now I even carry a spare.

From years of experience I personally recommend Jeff Allen's tow line or the 'big bag' Northwater one. Before Jeff's I used an SKUK tow-line, which is now my spare. If these are deemed 'too expensive' than you can always make your own with the specs of these lines in mind. At least 15 meters 'soft' 8+ mm floating line and a big karabiner with a smooth gate. Maybe you could be all set for GBP 30 and an hour or two work. Any other tow-line with different spec is a waste of money IMHO.

My 'first universal rule of tow-lines' is that the first time you use your (new) tow line it will not work. So practice deploying and using it often to get the hang of it when you need it for real.

My 'second universal rule of tow-lines' is that after one year the only thing original on a bought tow-line is the bag it came in. My Jeff Allen prototype tow system came with 10 meter line and a good (but not my favorite) karabiner so even that one adhered to this rule. I think Jeff updated it accordingly.

And naturally every member of a group that even remotely claims to be anywhere near or aspiring to 3* Sea should be carrying a tow-line ALL THE TIME. Deployable, thus not in a hatch !

As a leader I now even look at the safety of participants' tow-lines as I have had some interesting events with unsafe towline set-ups so not to allow the use of these towlines in my presence.

FSRT... For me a 'wake-up' call. Now the FSRT is merely a 'training' how to 'enforce' people actually having a tow-line once they show-up on a trip without a tow-line after claiming to have done the FSRT :-(

Enjoy your Around Wales trip!
A

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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by Taran Tyla » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:16 pm

I borrowed the peak towline for my three star & it was great & easy to pack though I specifically want one that doubles as a throw line & (umm) matches my colour scheme (LOL) so I'll definately be going for the Artistic line & I'll get a knife too. Hmmm, better write that on my shopping list.
4 star training on Anglesey Thursday & Friday, guess I'll have to borrow one again (LOL)...

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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by Dolphin » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:41 pm

Then the 4* training is another opportunity to see different tow-lines that people use.

With tow-lines everyone has their own opinon :-)

I could spend a whole day on a 4* T with just towing if the whole 4* T could be a week long :-)
A

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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by MikeB » Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:43 pm

TechnoEngineer wrote:
MikeB wrote:
Ceegee wrote:I prefer attaching to the boat, not my waist. Big jerk in swell/race waves is not going to do your lumbar vertebrae a lot of good.
Seconded - from experience, some years ago - I got surfed forward while attached to a flooded boat which was dead in the water - and I doubt I'd have stayed upright if I'd been using a waist tow either. It was a violent stop.
Surely a tug of that much force would cause a waist tow's quick-release mechanism to slip?
No - I wondered that too - I have a waist tow and tried a static test using it afterwards (on land) and it didn't.

I still recall the violence of the "stop" - I thought the fittings would have been ripped out of the boat it was so bad. I seem to recall having to put in a high brace as I ended up well off balance as I was side on to the swamped boat and supporter. They weren't, but I wonder what the effect would have been on me were I using a waist tow. I certainly suspect I'd have capsized, which would have added further to what was a somewhat challenging situation at the time!

They certainly have a place, but I'm now a firm advocate of the boat tow, and iirc the inimitable Mr Gordon Brown thinks they are a better option.

The one which can be used as a waist tow, or (if necessary) threaded thro a deck mounted system seem like a good idea but I certainly couldn't reach back to thread thro the bulls-eye and then the cleat in any sort of a bouncy sea.

A pal carries a short length of bungee with a krab at each end, which he just attaches to his deck bungee so it's available for a short contact tow. Seems to work very well and the bungee seems strong enough.

Mike.

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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...^

Post by TechnoEngineer » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:33 pm

Do you think that connecting the towee to the towline via a short bungee would absorb enough shock? Or was that already the case with your "stop" scenario?
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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by OwenBurson » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:44 pm

TechnoEngineer wrote:Nomad Sea Kayaking make a robust short-long waist-mounted tow rope:

http://www.nomadseakayaking.co.uk/index ... uct_id=806
That would seem like a poor copy of some very good tow line systems - Valley and Northwater sping to mind. The peak line is also very good.

Jeffs throw tow system is IMHO the most innovative and adaptable system available.

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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...^

Post by Dolphin » Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:01 am

[quote]Do you think that connecting the towee to the towline via a short bungee would absorb enough shock? Or was that already the case with your "stop" scenario?[/quote]

A bungee that is not 'supported' by a all-the-way-run-trough rope is hazardous! Think of how a catapult works ! I have seen it happen in surf and that was not a nice thing to see (an unsafe tow-line setup).

And not to mention loosing your towee, possibly at an unexpected unwanted moment.

Genearally at 15meter a (loose braided yellow/red floating type) tow-line has enough flex that a seperate bungee in it on one side does not add too much extra shock absorbing. So I do not bother with it for the extra line clutter the bungee gives.

If worried about towing from the waist, experiment with a boat cleat setup that can do both safely (tow from both waist and boat). I like to be able to have someone else tow, so to give my waist tow line away (and still have my spare, remember :-)).

Anyone wanting to learn more about tow-line scenario's I would advise going on an Sea Kayaking Incident Management course, generally on offer during sea kayak symposia, commercial courses (Jeff Allen and Simon Osborne highly recommended) and possibly even by your local BCU (club) sea kayak coach.
A

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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...^

Post by Jim » Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:42 am

The most important thing about tow systems is that they should be flexible and adaptable. In many cases a contact tow will be perfectly adequate, in others a line might be required.
I sometimes see WW paddlers in borrowed boats with deck tow fittings and no towline - in that scenario one of their bog standard throwlines would be quite sufficient as a towline.
Deck tows are nice in that you can adjust the length very easily if you need a shorter tow, waist tows are useful because you can use them in any boat and pass them around a group, but it should often be possible to improvise a tow without either.

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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...^

Post by MikeB » Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:15 am

TechnoEngineer wrote:Do you think that connecting the towee to the towline via a short bungee would absorb enough shock? Or was that already the case with your "stop" scenario?
That particular line had a shock absorber in it - - -
Dolphin wrote:A bungee that is not 'supported' by a all-the-way-run-trough rope is hazardous! Think of how a catapult works ! I have seen it happen in surf and that was not a nice thing to see (an unsafe tow-line setup).

And not to mention loosing your towee, possibly at an unexpected unwanted moment.
Indeed - mine was as described in the Almanac article on making a tow line - the bungee wraps round the line to provide the shock absorbtion. In that instance I was using an old river throw-line.
Genearally at 15meter a (loose braided yellow/red floating type) tow-line has enough flex that a seperate bungee in it on one side does not add too much extra shock absorbing. So I do not bother with it for the extra line clutter the bungee gives.
I wanted a much longer line so bought replacement from Knoydart which has (iirc) about 10% stretch built in - I no longer bother with a bungee. Mike.

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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...^

Post by David A » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:53 am

No matter which towline system is preferred, perhaps we should all take advice from Dolphin:
Dolphin wrote:practice deploying and using it often to get the hang of it when you need it for real.
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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...

Post by garya » Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:02 pm

Dolphin wrote:Then the 4* training is another opportunity to see different tow-lines that people use.

With tow-lines everyone has their own opinon :-)

I could spend a whole day on a 4* T with just towing if the whole 4* T could be a week long :-)
I think it should be..

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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...^

Post by TechnoEngineer » Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:13 pm

Dolphin wrote:A bungee that is not 'supported' by a all-the-way-run-trough rope is hazardous! Think of how a catapult works!
What I have in mind is to have a bungee loop between the towline and the towee. The bungee clips to itself, so a failure at either end should not result in a piece of chandlery taking flight. I'll take some photos/video in due course.
MikeB wrote:as described in the Almanac article on making a tow line - the bungee wraps round the line to provide the shock absorbtion.
http://www.ukseakayakguidebook.co.uk/to ... ounted.htm
Nice idea!
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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...^

Post by Ceegee » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:10 pm

MikeB wrote: the bungee wraps round the line to provide the shock absorbtion
Other way Mike, the line wraps around the slack bungee - that way as the bungee stretches to it's limit, the line goes taut.

Mine is two knots in the tow line about 3 foot apart with 1 foot of 10mm bungee tied from knot-to-knot and the "slack" line spiral-wrapped around the bungee. By the time the bungee has stretched to 3' the line is taut.
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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...^

Post by MikeB » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:45 pm

Well spotted - you said what I meant to say I'd done - - - duh.

Image

I used stainless steel clips to secure the bungee "in" the line, then covered with heat shrink. It was very neat.

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Re: Rescue At Sea & Lessons To Be Learnt...^

Post by Owen » Wed Apr 27, 2011 6:16 pm

I acted as Guinea pig on a 4 star assessment a month ago, when I asked what most people fail on I was told "towing".

Some thoughts on towing.

Which ever system you use it must work first time every time. You grab their bow with one hand the crabiner in the other, pull and clip. When you paddle off the line must run, not get hung up in the bag.
Make sure it's long enough, if it's too short the towee's kayak could be surfed into your back. Mine is chain linked so that it gives one boat length between my stern and their bow, when opened out that gives about three boat lengths between us.
Practice dropping the tow, then pick it up and re-attach it. Then capsize, drop the tow, roll up and pick it up.
Practice anchored rescues, i.e. you tow your mate away from the rocks while he does the rescue, then change places.
When doing rafted tows, put the line through the support kayaks deck lines then clip the victims deck lines, not the toggle loop. The clip on the crabiner should be upwards so that when the line comes tight it's not pushing down on the clip, which can open it.
I'm sure there's lots more but the main thing is to get out and practice with your own tow line.

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