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Old 06-01-2014   #1
Central, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 90
How do people lose oars?

Not trolling here -- with all the high water, I'm seeing lots of posts about lost oars.

Most of my experience is kayaking, so I'm curious: do people oars because they don't tether them? Or are they situations where they are tethered, but with a flipped boat in bigger water the tethers break?

I tether my raft oars with a length of paracord and a bowline on each side -- one to frame, the other tight enough to not go over oar stop and blade but loose enough to slide. About to change the system to use a steel ring (2.25" ID) for less binding on the shaft and ropewrap, but same knots.

Educate me... thanks,


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Old 06-01-2014   #2
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
Not trying to be a smartass but they either don't use oar tethers or the tethers snap. I've always wondered about how well those fastex buckles on some tethers hold up when a raft is getting logrolled in a hole.

Keep the black side down,


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 06-01-2014   #3
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,363
Loop straps- then you do not have to listen to that ring clanging all day.

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Old 06-01-2014   #4
dirtbagkayaker's Avatar
Bazzaro, World
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 1,323
Tethers can be a double edged sward. I've seen oars get entrapped in rocks and the boat gets anchored in the middle of no mans land attached to the oar.

Two years ago a friend got his cat hung up just below Elk creek on the SFS. He could not get to the boat after multiple attempts. Later that day a kayaker was able to get to the boat and cut the tether to free the boat.

I've also seen the force of a raft yanking on an oar wedged in rocks and the oar just blew up.

I also knew a guy who lost his oar while swapping it out in the middle of a drop.

As Andy said buckle can explode and sometimes the tethers are not secured properly.

So there are all kinds of ways to lose your stuff in the river
Bound is boatless man
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Old 06-01-2014   #5
Boy Howdy!
pinemnky13's Avatar
Colotucky, USA
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,054
This is how.....
Oops, we're fuked
Who's your monkey?
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Old 06-01-2014   #6
NorthernAZ's Avatar
Flagstaff, Arizona
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 93
Like my tethers

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Old 06-02-2014   #7
Vail, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 17
Tethers. If you loose an oar because it wedged somewhere below the surface so be it. The tethers pay for your oars time and time again before that uncommon occurrence happens. Plus one on the loop straps over the noise rings.
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Old 06-02-2014   #8
Wondervu, CO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 390
It's easier than you think. Here is how I like to do it!

Three simple steps....

1. Take eyes off water in mellow section while fetching a beverage.
2. Allow down stream oar blade to slip below surface of water.
3. Oar blade encounters rock or shallow bottom with full weight of boat behind it. Oar acts as huge lever with over 1000 lbs of boat pushing on it.

Watch in surprise as oar blade gets ripped from hands with enough force to snap a bronze oar lock go air born and fly 50 feet away. More than enough force involved here to break para cord or a plastic buckle. Thankfully it didn't hit anyone, that sucker would have done some damage.
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Old 06-02-2014   #9
Avatard's Avatar
portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,188
I lost an oar when it dropped down behind a pile of other shit in my garage. took me two years to recover it.

on the river I used tethers and have never lost an oar although there have been many opportunities to ...
Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 06-02-2014   #10
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 70s
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 63
typically, rather quickly

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