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Old 09-20-2010   #1
Carbondale, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 317
Oar tethers - advice, do or don't?

Oar tethers - seem like a good the event of flip, an oar out of the lock still tethered to the boat seems like it could be a hazard to a swimmer trying to get out/away from a boat. Thoughts?

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Old 09-20-2010   #2
yakkeranna's Avatar
Canberra, OZ
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 168
I definitely recommend oar tethers. I've had an oar pop out of the oarlock several times in the middle of a rapid and the tether was key in getting the oar back in quickly. I've never *seen* any problems with oar tethers and swimming- but I guess I can think of some random situations, but I don't know how likely they would be...

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Old 09-20-2010   #3
dgosn's Avatar
San Juans, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
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If you loose you oars you are now a passenger...

I'd recommend oar tethers that are able to be unclipped asap. Also use something that will break under some tension, using straps or prussick cord that wont break could cause a flip if oar gets jammed in rocks or under the boat. I now use 75lb test cord, have yet had it break, but I assume that in a violent chundering the oars would break free.

I have flipped and gotten oar tether tangled around my leg, took serious effort to get away from it, nearly had to cut it, scary! Have a way to undo tether while tangled up, underwater, with your left hand, ie EASY! A knife is key, but should not be the primary way to undo it.

I hate pins and clips, but to me the lack of entanglement hazard is one plus they have over open oar locks.

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Old 09-20-2010   #4
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
I've had oars pop our quite a few times and there were at least a few that it was really good to have the oar attached to the boat - its much easier to pop it back in than to go for the spare.

Without an oar tether I think you're a lot more likely to flip in the second hole that you don't miss because you're at the mercy of the current while getting your spare oar rigged.

Scott's got some good points about being able to get it undone quickly. Check on what your local raft shop has - I know DRE carries some oar tethers.

So that's a "DO."

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 09-20-2010   #5
Louisville, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 520
I vote yes on oar tethers. Just like Anna says, being able to quikly get the oar back in place can save you all sorts of trouble. That said, I prefer the oar tethers that have a release buckle - because sometimes you need that too. As far as entrapment, entanglement issues, In my experience there are alot more things to get caught up in on raft than an oar tether, like bow and stern lines. Carry a knife.
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Old 09-20-2010   #6
sh$t show voyeuor/host
Barnard(Marshall), North Carolina
Paddling Since: wen?
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 285
Tethers are great but you dont always need them. That being said, I ran the Gauley saturday and forgot to put them on. Stopped at sweets falls to eat and put them on, Then I flipped in Julies juicer a few hundred yards from the takeout. My point being if you think you might flip and you like your oars/$ in your pocket, spend a few bucks at the hardware store on 1/4 in rope and maybe some 2" rings to go around the shaft. Also, Ive learned that spare oars deserve their own straps for speed and convenience, with the straps double wrapped around the frame so you wont lose them if you leave them undone.
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Old 09-20-2010   #7
Keizer, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 28
Another Vote...

Add me to the list of those IN FAVOR of oar tethers. Efficient oar recovery in a tight spot is vital. I use a set with a quick release made by Whitewater Designs. While I'm sure there are many other good brands and methods of creating tethers I am strongly in favor of having a tether with a release.
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Old 09-20-2010   #8
sh$t show voyeuor/host
Barnard(Marshall), North Carolina
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Posts: 285
I understand the function of the buckle, but has anyone actually had to disconnect theirs in an emergency situation? sounds like dgosn wishes he had some
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Old 09-20-2010   #9
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Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 453
Since we got our new boat (bigger and heavier), I've found myself chasing oars a lot. Hope to fix that soon! Would hate to be without oar leashes! I use loop straps and haven't had a problem yet. I've been looking for a better solution, but haven't found one I like. I hated the metal rings because they make a lot of noise and occaisionally get stuck on the rope wrap. I would say you definitely want them in whitewater, but what kind you use is a personal preference.
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Old 09-20-2010   #10
San Juan Islands, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 217
I'm using straps with rings but I think I'm going back to a couple prussick cords, the rings are noisy and wear the paint on my Cataract oars (yes I refinished and painted them), they have also gotten jammed in the Cobra oarlocks when shipping the oars.
I also make sure they go under my spare oar after a friend lost an oar under the boat and was unable to get his spare because it was held down by his tether.

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