Originally Posted by johnovice
Just for discussion: I took a class recently where the instructors said not to throw a bag from a boat, only from shore (I had never heard that before and don't know how "accepted" that rule is). The other thing they said was do not throw a rope unless you have a knife accessible -- that one seems right on.
I'd be hesitant to say that you shouldn't throw a rope from your boat. When I was a raft guide I once pulled two swimmers out of the river above a sieve while still in my boat.
There are a couple concerns when throwing a rope while still in your boat:
1. If you are in an eddy, there's a good chance the swimmer will pull you out of it as you reel them in. The negative implications of this are obvious. There must be no considerable hazards for the swimmers or the raft downstream.
Solution: have someone else in your boat holding onto a rock, or standing on the shore/rock holding the boat. Also, have an egress plan if you do get pulled out of the eddy.
2. Loose rope in the boat is a serious concern. Don't let your feet/legs get tangled up in the slack, don't step in/around the slack, don't get between the slack and the direction of the current.
3. When you throw from the boat, the boat is going to move funny out from under you, so be very stable and very precise with your throw. You won't be setting any distance or accuracy records from your boat.