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Deploying a Throw Line

Safety Tip 010 - Deploying a Throw Line

Casting out a rescue throw line, either contained within a Throw Bag or gathered in coils requires an untangled, speedy and accurate delivery. A properly coiled or packed Throw Line should feed out easily, following an arcing pathway similar to a ball tossed underhanded, the weight of the unfurling rope providing the momentum to pull the line through the air.

To continue with the sports analogy, think of ‘hitting’ your target as sending a football through the goal posts. In the case of a target victim, aim for the area slightly beyond, but within the span/width of their outstretched (goal post) arms.

Conditions in the immediate area must be considered for accurate delivery: wind effect on both line and target, and water movement affecting target and line once it hits the water. Anticipating the drift of both victim and rescue line is critical for getting the line to the victim.

In rivers, the victim and the rope might flow at different rates along the same current. The faster of the two should flow into the slower (faster moving victim floating down to meet line or line tossed upstream to drift down to slower victim).

Open water placement of the end of the throw line is typically targeted just beyond and over the head of the victim allowing the line to fall down between the victim’s arms; the end of the line pulled back to the victim.

Most Throw Bag systems incorporate a loop on the end of the throw line that the victim can grab as a handle or a clean end so the rescuer can fashion it into larger loop (bowline) for the victim to feed over his/her shoulder.

Practicing the standard underhand toss, from land or your kayak/canoe will improve your accuracy and help you judge deployment/delivery distances.

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