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Brand new to this. Is this right:
Open the drawstring all the way before throwing.
Throw with the rope still in the bag -- let the rope come out as the bag is traveling. I'm much more used to microphone cables that tangle -- is there something about the rope that keeps tangles to a minimum or is there a special way to put the rope in the bag that minimizes tangle?
Thanks!
 

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when you put the rope in the bag let if fall into the bag don't shove it in compactor style. always throw your bag pretrip to make sure there isn't unknown knots and than repack. simple. throw overhand like a football. try to smoke them in the face with it, don't throw it unless you have some sort of eye contact, or he is somewhat aware you are about to bag him...
 

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Throw it how you practice it, how you are most effective and comfortable. That would require practice, so practice and find out, and get good at it. By practicing you will find out the best technique for yourself. I can't throw overhand for sh!t, so I throw underhand, and practice it.
 

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Practice throwing different ways, because depending on the situation (tree branches, bushes, large rocks, whatever) you may have to make a throw from an awkward stance. I practice overhand, underhand and sidearm. Left and right hand.
And like CM says, don't throw it if they don't know it's coming. You only get one shot to throw an un-deployed bag.
 

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I've been taking my old BAG with me alot this summer. I take it to the river when we go take the dog on a walk. I take it to the frisbee golf course. I keep it in the truck. This makes sure that I am throwing it lots and lots. It's not a great bag, so i do not mind abusing it a little. I mostly use the standard under arm swing type throw. I have been getting better at the tomahawk and the football throws. I also have a couple ******* 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.

I 100% agree. Deploy and repack your bag before a big day. As you pack it, just let it fall into the bag in a nice "flake".
 

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Practice makes Perfect

Good question - this is something we often overlook due to familiarity and that may save someone's life someday.

Like Brendo says, practice. Practice throwing to someone who's walking across the back yard at about the same rate a swimmer's going to be floating past. Make eye contact so they know its coming, lead them a little bit and throw it so the rope lands a couple of feet in front of them. I like the underhand throw. The swimmer will typically be moving a little faster in the water than the floating rope so if its ahead of them they should catch up to it. When you're taking newbies on the river tell them to look for, swim to, and grab onto the rope (not the bag). Remember that the swimmer and thower alike should NEVER wrap the rope around their wrist because they may need to be able to release it immediately.

When you repack the bag, try doing it so the rope comes over your shoulder from the back. This allows you to easily hold the bag in one hand and put about 8" to 1-ft long sections of rope into the bag at a time with the other hand (this is with a large rafter's type 75' throwbag, I think it'll be a little different technique for a small kayaker's bag but the basics are the same). Pack the rope loosely into the bag, while trying to put the rope all the way down into the bag so it plays out cleanly. Think of layering the rope in there so it'll feed out easily.

Get another newbie friend and as many throwbags as you can get your hands on, each of you do about 20 - 30 practice tosses in the back yard, and soon you'll start getting the hang of throwing, and then repacking the throw bag. If there's a place where you can do this in shallow, calm water it may be even better as the rope/bag will be wet as in a river situation.

Work on your accuracy and getting the rope to deploy to its full length, then repacking the rope so its second nature. Remember after any rescue situation, repack the bag as soon as the situation allows you to do so safely. This is because A) there may be another swimmer coming along, and B) one of the worst hazards around whitewater is a loose rope that could pose an entrapment hazard.

And if you're going to use ropes on the river, get a river rescue knife (search for posts on that topic and you'll find a ton of info). I like the Bearclaw and have one with an orange handle so I can see it easily.

Could a kayaker describe re-packing a little kayaker's throwbag?

Thanks for asking,

-AH
 

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Pretty much agree with everything said here so far. A few other things to add:

-Make sure you are ready for the force of the swimmer. Ideally, you will have someone behind you to help brace. As you catch the swimmer sit down and have your spotter grab the back of your life jacket. Obviously, you won't always be able to rock the buddy system, so MAKE SURE you are in a spot where you can catch the swimmer. I've kneeled down in rafts, sat and wedged between rocks. Standing on a slippery rock is clearly a bad choice. The point here is to not create another swimmer. Or even worse yet, put you in a position where you need to let go of the bag to stay out of the river. Both render you useless. The options are endless, so keep it in mind when practicing so you have it in mind for the real deal.

-I was taught to pull a few arms lengths out of the bag before throwing. The number of arms lengths is determined by the distance to the swimmer, and the time you have to do it. This way if you miss with your first throw, or the swimmer lets go you are ready with the other half of the rope to try again. Like I said, the distance is a factor here... you need to have enough left in the bag to reach the swimmer. Time frame is a factor as well, and may make this a non option. The other benefit here goes back to bracing for the force. If you hit the swimmer first throw, and sit down but find yourself being pulled into the river... you can slowly let some of that slack you have out and equalize the force, and hopefully by the time you reach the end you're good to go.

-Surprised this hasn't been said yet, but as you are getting ready to throw it... yell ROPE! as loud as you can. Once eye contact is made... QB that shit.
 

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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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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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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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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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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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I also have a couple ******* 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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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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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 ***** 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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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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