Throw ropes are a critically important “life line” in certain rescue situations where approaching the paddler is too dangerous due to hazardous water or surrounding conditions. Such rescue lines (bright colored and buoyant) are either incorporated into a “throw bag” rescue device or simply coiled and stowed, ready for immediate use.
Properly coiling a throw line is crucial to its performance: easy to throw accurately to target without tangling on the ground or in flight. Proper and fast coiling is especially important if the first throw fails and the rescue line must be gathered for additional attempts. Lines with throw bags are re-coiled without being re-stuffed.
Basic steps for coiling a throw line:
- Secure end of the line to yourself or support (rigged for quick release if necessary);
- Begin coiling line onto your non-throwing hand;
- When gathering coils, make each successive turn slightly smaller to allow it to feed out more easily when thrown; [NOTE: When coiling, occasionally twist line along its length to keep it from curling as it’s gathered.]
- Transfer a large portion of the coil to your throwing hand;
- Provide slack between coils to allow for throwing arm swing;
- Toss under-handed (or side-arm) like a softball pitch (practice will help you learn where the proper distance release point is during your swing);
- Weight of released line will feed out from coil on non-throwing hand;
- If first toss misses, quickly retrieve line and repeat;
- Be aware of the line becoming entangled on yourself or objects.
When retrieving, loosely coil collected line in area in front of you and quickly re-wind around your arm by gathering loops, making figure-8 loops around your bent forearm or laying out loops in a “butterfly” fashion (a preferred method when throw bag is attached to secured end).