your paddlesports destination

Anchored Rescue with Tow Lines

When we're doing a rescue in strong winds or in a current that's taking you away, especially if you're going towards an area of danger, you can use a tow line as a way of anchoring the rescue. If I attach my tow line to the rescuer's kayak and paddle away until the line is tight, I can hold the position of the rescue while it's being carried out. Even when the victim is back in the boat, I can tow the rescue to a safer zone even.

Russell has capsized. He's going to come out of his boat here. Gene is going in for a rescue, but because we've got the wind blowing us down toward shore there, I'm going to come in and just hook on the tow line to hold them in position while they do that rescue. You need to keep the line tight, but I don't need to go anywhere. You need to hold the rescue in position, so that they don't drift.

Now, Russell is coming back into his boat. At this point, it's easy enough for me to pull him away from the position where Russell fell in. This is called an anchored rescue. The key points are the rescuer goes in to carry out the rescue, as if it's not gong to be an anchored rescue, just a good quick rescue. The second rescuer, the person with a tow line, comes in, hitches on to the front end of the rescuer and then tows away. It's important that the line is taut, but not pulling the rescue. Otherwise, it interferes with the way the boats are being handled on the water. And then when the rescue is over, come and restow.

Related Articles & Resources

Wet Exit and Confidence in Whitewater

In my opinion, the wet exit is the important overlooked skill in kayaking because it can really help people …

Tags: Video, kayaking, wet exit, technique, whitewater

The Back Deck Roll

The back deck roll evolved from the need to roll as quickly as possible, which facilitates by skipping the set…

Tags: Kayak, whitewater, rolling, technique

Stirrup Strap Re-entry

Any re-entry type of rescue, whether a solo effort or assisted, can be taxing on the capsized paddler - …