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Old 08-05-2009   #11
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Mike Mather taught us that after the rope is thrown and to prepare for huge amount of force that you will encounter when the swimmer grabs hold is the get in a good brace position and to put the rope behind your back on your PFD to increase your holding power, like belaying a climber. Make sure you start the wrap from the downstream side of your body. That way as the swimmer moves down stream, you don't end up with a full wrap around your body.
And has been mentioned, if possible, have someone grab you from behind by the straps on your PFD to keep you out of the water.
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Old 08-05-2009   #12
 
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Originally Posted by rwhyman View Post
Mike Mather taught us that after the rope is thrown and to prepare for huge amount of force that you will encounter when the swimmer grabs hold is the get in a good brace position and to put the rope behind your back on your PFD to increase your holding power, like belaying a climber. Make sure you start the wrap from the downstream side of your body. That way as the swimmer moves down stream, you don't end up with a full wrap around your body.
And has been mentioned, if possible, have someone grab you from behind by the straps on your PFD to keep you out of the water.
Good call! This is exactly why I need to practice more often... I knew this, but forgot since I've been lazy about it recently. Thanks for the reminder!
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Old 08-05-2009   #13
 
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Originally Posted by nmalozzi View Post
Good call! This is exactly why I need to practice more often... I knew this, but forgot since I've been lazy about it recently. Thanks for the reminder!
Lots of good advise. One more thing to add. The end of the rope from the throw bag that the person throwing holds onto should have a loop. This is typically a figure 8 knot on a bight. That 'loop' or bight should be looped around your thumb and then around the back of your hand and finally through your hand to hold onto. This is hard to describe, but a picture would be in a river rescue book to clarify. The idea behind this is that as long as you hold on with a fisted hand, the rope stays, but if the force is too great and you need to let go...open your hand and the rope goes without making you another victim. As said prior, never put that loop around your wrist.
Make the throw at or beyond the victim, but if you are going to miss...miss upstream, and yell "rope". If you miss, recoil the rope in large coils and throw again. Both the initial throw from the bag and the follow up from coiled rope should be practiced.
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Old 08-06-2009   #14
 
Jackson, Wyoming
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Just wanted to say a quick "thank you" for all the ideas on throwing the bag!
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Old 08-06-2009   #15
 
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Originally Posted by cpollema View Post
Lots of good advise. One more thing to add. The end of the rope from the throw bag that the person throwing holds onto should have a loop. This is typically a figure 8 knot on a bight. That 'loop' or bight should be looped around your thumb and then around the back of your hand and finally through your hand to hold onto. This is hard to describe, but a picture would be in a river rescue book to clarify. The idea behind this is that as long as you hold on with a fisted hand, the rope stays, but if the force is too great and you need to let go...open your hand and the rope goes without making you another victim. As said prior, never put that loop around your wrist.
Make the throw at or beyond the victim, but if you are going to miss...miss upstream, and yell "rope". If you miss, recoil the rope in large coils and throw again. Both the initial throw from the bag and the follow up from coiled rope should be practiced.
cpollema makes a very good point about also practicing the coiled rope throw in case you get a second chance. Being able to coil the rope in a hurry and get off a second throw is harder than the original throw and requires more practice.

The loop that the THROWER hangs on to is fine, but the rope should not have a loop coming out of the bag that a SWIMMER can grab. A swimmer, especially a less experienced river person, will want to put their wrist through the loop regardless of what they have been told in a safety orientation. Do not give a swimmer the easy option of becoming wrapped up in a rope.

It is also worth mentioning the technique a swimmer should use for holding on to the rope once they have grabbed it. The rope should be held tightly with both hands right at the swimmer's chest and with the swimmer floating on their back the rope end going toward the thrower should go over the swimmer's shoulder (sorry, I don't have a good picture handy). The swimmer should not be face down with arms extended toward the thrower.

Mastering the throw and the retrieval are both important.
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Old 08-07-2009   #16
 
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and as Brendo says, practice the Z-drag at the same time. turn it into a game or competition with your friends and you should be able to get from throwing to anchoring off & starting to pull in well below two minutes. have a friend pulling & messing around with the "receiving" end b/c when you need to use it, the rope isn't just going to laying there waiting for you to get it set up. carry a couple slings, a couple biners & a couple pulleys. the prussik can just as easily be substituted by a butterfly knot where the movable pulley attaches to the drag line, although used to carry a prussic around the waist.

also, don't think it was mentioned yet, but the thrower has the visibility to see what is downstream unlike the swimmer, so you [thrower] should be aware of where your drag line will reach if the swimmer starts going downstream as they are pulled out of one hole. no need to send them into another.
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Old 08-07-2009   #17
 
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I also have a couple beaners and prusssiks that go in the bag. This mandates that i set up a makeshift Z - drag setup every now and then to keep skills sharp.

Brendo, just wanted to make sure I understand what you're saying with the 3:1 setup. I thought you were talking about setting this up to pull a boat. Getting multiple uses from your rope. You don't use this for a swimmer do you? I've never trained that approach. I understand the swimmer may create a lot of force and I can understand anchoring properly to allow them to swing to a shore, but I've never heard of pulling on a swimmer using a z-rig. Just making sure we're on the same page. Thanks, Cy
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Old 08-07-2009   #18
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No, the z-drag set up is just to keep skills polished for pulling boats and other debris off obstacles.

I think the guidelines mentioned above on how to throw the bag, re-coil and re-throw the bag are spot on. Coaching a swimmer on proper catching technique is also right on. The advise on having an anchor or dropping down when a swimmer catches your rope is great advise. Also wanted to mention that other objects can be used to create the friction. A tree or large rock works equally well. Just remember to start your wrap from the upstream side.
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Old 08-07-2009   #19
 
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I was advised by a professional gnar creekboater that creekers should just untie that loop on the throwers end of the rope. He takes those loops out of all of this throw ropes. The loop is a temptation that is too easily abused. He also said that loop is a snagging hazard if the thrower's end falls in the water... the knot can chink between two rocks a lot easier than a loose end and he does everything he can to minimize snagging hazards in his gear.

I guess that is a matter of opinion, but I would not put any part of my body, not even a thumb, in a throw rope loop... even understanding and using the proper technique. Too many things happen too quickly when there is a rope in the water.
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Old 08-07-2009   #20
 
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Personally, I do not have any loops in my throw bags and this is the methodology that was adamantly stressed in the swiftwater rescue class that I attended. However allowing for personal preference I can see that some might prefer a loop in the thrower's end of the rope. That said, the chance of rope entanglement with either the thrower or with something in the river should the rope get loose is greatly enhanced by any loop. Loopless throw ropes are the best bet for avoiding an unwanted complication in what is already a tense situation.
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