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Old 05-01-2008   #1
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 17
Perimeter rope

What's the best way to rig a perimeter rope on a raft? Should it be wrapped around each D-ring or just ran through them? Good finishing knot?

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Old 05-01-2008   #2
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,727
Just go through the rings. extra loops can push the rope out farther and make it harder to get even. I finish with a trucker's hitch to get it tight and use the leftover as a mini stern line. get it tight with the boat still limp, then when you top off it will be like a guitar string. I still can't ever seem to get mine tight enough.


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Old 05-02-2008   #3
raftus's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,128
Dave is on the money. I usually finish mine with a double or triple fisherman's, and have the boat soft enough that when the boat is topped off the line is taunt.

I am also a big fan of having a few feet of line hanging off the end with a knot in it for grabbing onto when catching eddies.
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Old 05-02-2008   #4
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
We use flat webbing instead of rope on our boats.
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Old 05-02-2008   #5
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 200
Use flat webbing and get it soaking wet before you run it through the D-rings and tie it off and when it dry's it will shrink to fit!
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Old 05-02-2008   #6
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 17
Awesome Thanks for the advice
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Old 05-02-2008   #7
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,408
I agree with the flat webbing. I think you should make sure you have enough D rings if you take the webbing all the way around the raft. If you have 2 D rings on each side (about where the stright part of the raft starts and ends) and the next D rings are at the bow and stern, you should probably consider just using chicken lines on the sides. To have a perimiter line all the way around, I believe you want to have those extra D rings on the rounded part between port side and bow, port side and stern, starboard and bow, etc.... This minimizes the length of unrestrained webbing between D rings and can keep someone from falling between the webbing in the bow or stern and getting an arm or leg stuck for enough time to get smashed up. Picture a line without these D rings and what happens to it when the boat hits a rock or hole and folds a little bit. It rises up and away from the raft and becomes a potential hazard right when and where people would be falling out.

Some people don't use any lines on the boat for this reason. I like tight lines on the sides because I think it's more of a real risk for someone to get away from the raft than someone getting stuck in there.

I also like to trail a little bit of webbing (not enough to get tangled in - 12-18") from the stern D ring for people to grab on to. This is nice if your raft has a lot of kick and the handle is hard for a swimmer to easily reach. I don't like the knot, because it seems like it could get caught somewhere, so I leave it flat.

I hope this helps. Lines on rafts can be a controversial topic (I actually have a video of a guide with his foot stuck doing sit ups out of the water and trying to pop it free) but don't more injuries happen away from the boat? I think keeping your swimmers close is a good idea...
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Old 05-02-2008   #8
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 928
Tight flat webbing.

Install when soft (like they said), wet helps too, then blow it up tight. Don't wrap D-rings (like I did- DOH). They will bind on the D-ring, and you will blow up the boat and have it waaaay too tight in one section, too loose in another. (Hey, it seemed like a good idea to get it tight at the time). If they just pass through, they will adjust themselves automatically when you blow it up. Some people tie them at the bow, and off at the stern to keep it tighter, but you can go all the way around if you start it off tight enough. Tight is also better for using it to pull yourself back into the raft. I've grabbed a loose one, and pulled it 2ft down into the water, which is worthless. I think if you did just the sides, it would be harder to get in the boat. I like to grab on either side of one of those side D-rings and flounder around like a manatee...
It takes a big man to cry...It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man.

-Jack Handy
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Old 05-02-2008   #9
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 212
I'm not a fan of flat webbing. Think about what purpose the line serves. Is it something to grab for people out of the boat? If so, how easy is it to grab tight flat webbing? I think a rope offers a much better grab line in this scenario. Depending on your boat, not running the line completely around is something to consider. On boats with a lot of rocker, where a swimmer cannot re-enter the boat from either end, it makes sense to just put line on the sides. If you have something like a Vanguard then you can probably go all the way around and have a useful line. Foot entrapment is a consideration with lines on boats. If you're not boating hard water this isn't so much of a consideration, as you're not going to have jilting hits and boat folding. Experiment. Webbing and rope are fairly inexpensive. If one set-up doesn't work, then simply try another. I think folks that have posted up have given some good things to consider.

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