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Discussion Starter #1
I'm trying to set up a paddle raft that will provide the most enjoyment and the least amount of trauma for my younger kids- including when it comes to getting in and out of the boat- until they can do it on their own. It's all a part of my master plan to see how many of them I can convert to the sport, of course...

I've been looking at rescue ladders and reading the threads here. I can't seem to settle on either the little Nettie's ladder or the pricey GCPBA ladder- at least not yet. Searching the web, I came across this ladder. It appears to have some sturdiness without the cost. Anyone used this ladder before? Any thoughts about potential drawbacks or hazards as compared to the others?

Here's a link that has all the specs:NEW 3-Step Inflatable Boat, Dock, Swim Raft, Dingy, Rope Ladder | eBay
 

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Looks pretty solid to me, just run a strap around it to stow when not in use. I stand on my ladder all the time and just hang out half in the water, they're great.
 

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The idea of a re-entry ladder on a paddle raft is completely counter intuitive.

Accessories like ladders that allow for 'easy' re-entry to the boat were developed for older folks in calm water. I can see a ladder for the old fart-types so they can get out of the water after a voluntary swim or pee, but they aren't practical in a whitewater swim situation. What happens when the kid falls out on the left side when the ladder is on the right?

If kids are old enough to run a paddle boat, they are old enough to learn self rescue and also pulling their fellow paddlers back on board. Just spend more time teaching them team work, safety, and rescue techniques.
 

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Hi,

Well I have to somewhat disagree with the assertion that ladders are for flatwater. My "GCPBA" ladder (Dave Yeamans' invention - actual name Rescue Rung) got me back in my boat immediately after being dumped out in Lava a couple of years ago. Big guy, 30" cat tubes, big waves -- quick, safe re-entry.

But the day to day benefit on my GC trips seemed to be for facilitating casual swims, and for female passengers, who used it to step off and re-board the boat easily to conduct their business.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the comments. I can appreciate what you're saying DoStep. Teaching my children safety and rescue fundamentals is a priority for me. It is a paddle boat, and we have 4 strong paddlers in our family. However, I also have three young girls who will be along for the ride and I would like them to feel some confidence about getting in and out of the boat on their own while they build their strength.

I am getting the ladder primarily for swimming in calm stretches of water. My oldest daughter refused to try swimming in the past because she was panicked about not being able to get back in the boat in time- even with her dad there to pull her in. That made the whole experience rather "dry" for her. I also see the ladder being very handy for uses described by richp. Especially with 5 girls in our family. No sense making that kind of relief more difficult than it needs to be...

I can see how the ladder may or may not be useful in a rescue situation, but the slight chance that it may- as richp experienced- is important to me in my current family dynamic.

Again, thanks for your insights.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
ben94122- That ladder looks great! Maybe I can get my son working on one like that... summer project. ;)
 

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I just hang a 4' loop of strap from a D ring when the kids are swimming.
 

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Hi,

Well I have to somewhat disagree with the assertion that ladders are for flatwater. My "GCPBA" ladder (Dave Yeamans' invention - actual name Rescue Rung) got me back in my boat immediately after being dumped out in Lava a couple of years ago. Big guy, 30" cat tubes, big waves -- quick, safe re-entry.

But the day to day benefit on my GC trips seemed to be for facilitating casual swims, and for female passengers, who used it to step off and re-board the boat easily to conduct their business.

FWIW.

Rich Phillips

I have the same ladder and it's pretty awesome. I have the three rung version. I bought it for my wife and kids initially, but I might end up using it a lot myself too. I have a green jacket rescue PFD. I use the throw rope that goes in the clamshell on the front of the jacket. That big bump catches on the tube when I'm trying to pull myself up and won't let me get in the boat. I could've really used it three weeks ago paddling in R2 in Hells Canyon. I flipped in granite rapid and tried to pull myself up only to get that stupid clamshell caught four or five times. I finally made it onto the boat was really tired.

The beauty of the rescue rung is that it can be rigged so that it can be used both in a flip or right side up.

However, rope ladders are not easy to use and are not intuitive. All of my kids failed initially. It will take a little bit of training to successfully use one. The problem for the untrained user is your feet want to go forward under the boat until they are at waist level. In this position, your upper body still has to do all of the lifting without any help from your feet. The trick is to use your abdominal muscles to keep your feet underneath and behind you. It feels like you are arching your back if you do it correctly. It is definitely something that you want to practice before you get in a flip. In the OP's case, with a girl who is so nervous and hesitant to get in the water, this will not be an immediate solution to his problem. In fact, it could make it worse. As long as you have someone modeling the correct technique to her, things should go a lot smoother.



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I have to stand on the ladder to hold it in the right place for my kids to use (they climb in front of me while I'm standing on the bottom rung) but they are very young.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the tips, DrAndy. I've thought about the nature of these ladders and imagined exactly what you described. As soon as I decide on one, I plan to take my family out on a lake to practice. I appreciate your description of how to access core strength to climb up. I will use that.

Will you explain to me how the rescue rung can be rigged for both upside and downside? I'm a novice with the technical side of rafting/gear. Is this really specific to the rescue rung, or could other ladders (such as the one I pictured in the initial post) be rigged to do the same?
 

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Hi Yarrow,

Attach the Rescue Rung to your grab line, which on most boats would be about midway on the tubes. (I placed mine so that it spanned a D-ring, for stability.) Right side up or upside down, the ladder is still accessible.

Rich Phillips
 

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Exactly what Rich said.

When I'm doing easy runs where I don't anticipate any flips, I just strap it to the frame. I was out on the Cabarton yesterday and today and used the crap out of it. I'm going to get Rescue Rungs for all my boats.

I imagine that any ladder could be rigged for dual use whether on a flip or right side up. The problem with ladders in a flip or deploying in a rapid or whitewater is the entrapment risk is real. The Rescue Rung was invented by a real life rocket scientist to prevent entrapments. The Rescue Rung is expensive and it's made for flips and whitewater re-entries. Other ladders can definitely be used in flat water but their use in any other circumstances comes at a risk. Your use for your family sounds perfect, but it might not be a dual use.

I have been making my kids get out of the boat and practice climbing back in by hooking an ankle on top of the spare oar. They brace up on top of the oar, kneel on it and then climb into the boat. They are getting better at it. But, if the boat is rigged to paddle or upside down, that might not be there. And the ladder is so easy once you master the "move".

Good luck!




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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Dr.Andy, and Rich- for the extra info you emailed me. I think you've sold me on the Rescue Rung. I can see myself wishing I had it down the road. Now I just need to sell my husband on it. Wish me luck...
 

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You are welcome Yarrow. I

heard a scary statistic today. I was told that regardless of whether a swimmer is wearing a wetsuit or dry suit they have about seven minutes in the water until they freeze Up. The problem is that the neck is not usually covered by dry suit or wetsuits and the increased activity and the oxygen consumption causes increased blood flow through the arteries on the neck. That results in rapid heat loss. So it is imperative that you get out of the water quickly, even when wearing a dry suit. This really emphasizes the need for rapid reentry into the raft like Rich Phillips was talking about. Especially, in cold water.

By the way, I just purchased two more rescue rungs from Tough River Stuff (A buzz supporter and sponsor) last night. They are spendy, but safety, especially the safety of my family is my most important priority. I would rather spend the extra money on good PFD's and other safety gear first.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
That is an unsettling statistic. I've never been in cold water with a drysuit longer than 5 minutes at a time. Even 5 minutes is surprisingly exhausting. Interesting that it's a precursor to hypothermia. And you're right, it does make quick rescue options that much more critical.

Speaking of PFD's, what would you recommend for kids? Mine all need an upgrade.
 

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I bought my kids the standard NRS kids ones. I recently bought some HiFloat Stohlquist Canyons (70-125lbs) youth for bigger water. NRS makes some HiFloat youth (50-90lbs) models that are for smaller kids. They cost almost 2-3 times more than the standard NRS PFDs but they have 20 lbs of flotation.
 

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You are welcome Yarrow. I

heard a scary statistic today. I was told that regardless of whether a swimmer is wearing a wetsuit or dry suit they have about seven minutes in the water until they freeze Up. The problem is that the neck is not usually covered by dry suit or wetsuits and the increased activity and the oxygen consumption causes increased blood flow through the arteries on the neck. That results in rapid heat loss. So it is imperative that you get out of the water quickly, even when wearing a dry suit. This really emphasizes the need for rapid reentry into the raft like Rich Phillips was talking about. Especially, in cold water.

By the way, I just purchased two more rescue rungs from Tough River Stuff (A buzz supporter and sponsor) last night. They are spendy, but safety, especially the safety of my family is my most important priority. I would rather spend the extra money on good PFD's and other safety gear first.
Based on personal experience...that seems a bit wrong to me unless its truly freezing water.

I did a Grand trip last February into March, and we decided it would be fun to swim Hermit Rapid on Paco Pads. It was probably 50 degree air temperature and 40 degree water at that point, and I was comfortable in my drysuit without a problem. Mine even has a Neoprene neck gasket instead of latex so its a bit leaky. No hat or head coverage, and just a Polartec fleece union suit underneath. One of the guys that joined me decided to swim all the way to camp after walking back up to run it again without a Paco Pad. He was probably in the water for 20 minutes.

I'm not saying you won't get cold, but a drysuit with a proper insulating layer underneath will make a huge difference and unless its truly frigid water it take a lot more then 5 minutes for most people to get into a severe hypothermic state.

That said, I'm one of those people that can't get back in a raft without aid so I think the ladder systems are great. I have the three rung version of one of these...

Finally an easy way to get back in your raft with Nettie's Bag Ladders, the Original.


Its a lot cheaper then the rescue rung but does about the same thing. It doubles as a flip line if you wanted as well. I've clipped it in next to my NRS flip lines and I've also kept it in my PFD pocket. Easy enough to pull it out and clip it and then climb in.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Interesting. I wonder if it depends on the amount of exertion involved, i.e. floating vs. defensive swimming where there would be increased blood flow in the neck?

I like that the Nettie's ladder is portable... And I like that the Rescue Rung is more substantial... Thanks for your input, ElectricM.

And thanks for the PFD info, Dr. Andy. The standard NRS ones will be an upgrade from what we've got now. I'll probably do that.
 
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