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Why I’m opposed to chicken lines..

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At about 3 minutes and 28 seconds into this video, you’ll see why I never run them.

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It's been considered.
I also usually have 8" of shit stacked on my deck boards, so I really only have the four corners where I could feasibly climb in.
Do you see a rapid rung as less of an entrapment hazard than a chicken line?
 

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Just playing devils advocate here, but wouldn't a thwart handle be more effective in this situation? If I were paddling and my momentum changed and my body was thrown to the side and I was about to go over I can't imagine that I would have the grip strength to hold onto that strap without my hand slipping all the way down and eventually going for a swim. A thwart handle (which I currently use) would potentially stop that momentum with much less effort, and they are easier to grab on to.

I totally get that this works for you, and I am by no means trying to tell you that you are wrong. I really enjoy seeing how everyone else does things.
I love the thwart handles for passengers that can't paddle, but by the time I let go of my paddle with one hand and grab fast, it's usualltly the spot above the thwart gap that I grab - too late for a center thwart handle. It's always been easy enough to grab to save me, IMO!

Definitely a cleaner solution, but I'd hate to not grab it on my way out! Plus everyone says how easy it is to get back in a boat without the lines over the thwarts, but you're not always so fresh and strong if you've just had a big swim!
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
It's been considered.
I also usually have 8" of shit stacked on my deck boards, so I really only have the four corners where I could feasibly climb in.
Do you see a rapid rung as less of an entrapment hazard than a chicken line?
I personally see it as less of a hazard because you can choose when to deploy it versus the chicken line being a permanent entrapment hazard. The rapid rung doesn’t seem like an entrapment hazard to me when it’s not deployed.
 

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I think the question is, "What do I think is going to keep me safest in the event something terrible happens."

How we answer the latter question is a matter of interpretation for each boater. I mean, if we want to get super anal about entrapments, our whole frame setup is an entrapment. We are always making choices.
This about sums it up for me.
My spare oars are a much bigger concern to me than the perimeter line. I should tighten those up a bit..

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I personally see it as less of a hazard because you can choose when to deploy it versus the chicken line being a permanent entrapment hazard. The rapid rung doesn’t seem like an entrapment hazard to me when it’s not deployed.
No way I'm running a hard metal ladder on a paddle boat. I don't see chicken lines as a permanent hazard as much as a common safety device. Hundreds of people grab chicken lines every day to stay with the boat, I've never heard much about them actually causing harm.

Imagined hazards are easy to come up with, but realistically, tight lines aren't really that dangerous.
 

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... I always run a "box" over my thwarts and down the tubes instead of a perimeter line. ..... Most rafters on the east coast run their lines this way, ,,,,
Not sure what rivers on the east coast you are referring to, but not on the Ocoee and Chattooga, nor the other SE rivers. Seen it some on Gauley, Yough, and New but not nearly has popular as perimeter line. Boxes are dangerous if you blow a thwart or have a soggy raft. Ran one once with a lunch cooler on the Gauley in a bucket boat, never again after extending surfing at the mail slot at the bottom of lost paddle.

For my "perimeter" line I just use it on the straight sides, not the bow or stern. This keeps the line closer to the raft (less gap even with a saggy boat). Additional this where swimmers will want to grab to climb back in, Bow and Stern are usually too tall (on 13-14 ft rafts). Lots of companies go all the way around the perimeter, mostly to facility loading and unloading from on top of the bus.
 

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Not sure what rivers on the east coast you are referring to, but not on the Ocoee and Chattooga, nor the other SE rivers. Seen it some on Gauley, Yough, and New but not nearly has popular as perimeter line. Boxes are dangerous if you blow a thwart or have a soggy raft. Ran one once with a lunch cooler on the Gauley in a bucket boat, never again after extending surfing at the mail slot at the bottom of lost paddle.

For my "perimeter" line I just use it on the straight sides, not the bow or stern. This keeps the line closer to the raft (less gap even with a saggy boat). Additional this where swimmers will want to grab to climb back in, Bow and Stern are usually too tall (on 13-14 ft rafts). Lots of companies go all the way around the perimeter, mostly to facility loading and unloading from on top of the bus.
I've run the box a lot on the Gauley and seen it a lot from Ocoee and other Appalachian boaters.

A "blown thwart" is a non issue. In this rare circumstance, just remove the line.

I'm not sure how you "surfed" the mail slot. I think you may be confused.
 

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Not sure if it was higher or lower than standard fall release, but a smallish pourover formed just upstream of the slot. Hit it sideways in a bucket boat full of water. Surfed for 10 minutes, after myself and one other fell out. Then the remaining two stepped upon the rock (2 ft away) and pulled the raft over the rock (The river right rock between the slot and the sieve rock along the shore).

Yea, I see the box on the Ocoee, about 4 time per year, but not common at all. Almost always a private boat too.

A blown thwart can very well be an issue. The thwart pops or comes unglued or whatever when you pin, and that is when you don't need a line in your way. Sure you can remove the line, but difficult to do in that situation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
No way I'm running a hard metal ladder on a paddle boat. I don't see chicken lines as a permanent hazard as much as a common safety device. Hundreds of people grab chicken lines every day to stay with the boat, I've never heard much about them actually causing harm.

Imagined hazards are easy to come up with, but realistically, tight lines aren't really that dangerous.
A rapid rung is not a hard metal ladder. In regards to chicken lines not being a hazard, the video seems to demonstrate otherwise.
 

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I think all of these methods have pros and cons and which one you choose depends on the rivers you're running, physical fitness, the amount you train, and your boat. I can get into pretty much any boat by using the raft handles so perimeter lines and other devices are something I avoid.

If you're running difficult rivers without good boat safety around you I can see the value in these aids even if they do have some extra risk.

What I see is people copying others without thinking about it much. These discussions about the pros and cons are helpful for everyone to make a good decision for their own situation.
 

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A rapid rung is not a hard metal ladder. In regards to chicken lines not being a hazard, the video seems to demonstrate otherwise.
The hazard in the video is straight up beaters rafting Gore.

I'm not familiar with the ladders on the market, but if I was disabled I'd probably look at the non-metal, simplest model!
 

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Not sure if it was higher or lower than standard fall release, but a smallish pourover formed just upstream of the slot. Hit it sideways in a bucket boat full of water. Surfed for 10 minutes, after myself and one other fell out. Then the remaining two stepped upon the rock (2 ft away) and pulled the raft over the rock (The river right rock between the slot and the sieve rock along the shore).

Yea, I see the box on the Ocoee, about 4 time per year, but not common at all. Almost always a private boat too.

A blown thwart can very well be an issue. The thwart pops or comes unglued or whatever when you pin, and that is when you don't need a line in your way. Sure you can remove the line, but difficult to do in that situation.
There is no way a "blown thwart" is a realistic enough scenario to consider removing the thwart lines proactively. And if it happens, these lines, and the dry and mesh bags attached around the line and thwart, will keep the thwart from floating away - a benefit!

You've posted the mail slot story here before. Maybe it was a crazy moment where chicken lines became genuinely hazardous. I'm not saying that it's impossible (just look at the dungle in the video!), but I am saying that since it happened to you 40 years ago, 1,000,000,000 people have been spared a long swim because of them.
 

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So I have a question. Is it primarily legs getting caught in sloppy chicken lines? I can see that being a problem…but how the hell do you get your leg out of the boat before your upper body? If I’m thrown off the side of my cat, it’s not going to be feet first.
I run with about a 4” sag between each D ring, with the idea that if I’m in the water I can pull enough of a loop out to get my foot into it and get my fatass back into the boat.
 

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So I have a question. Is it primarily legs getting caught in sloppy chicken lines? I can see that being a problem…but how the hell do you get your leg out of the boat before your upper body? If I’m thrown off the side of my cat, it’s not going to be feet first.
I run with about a 4” sag between each D ring, with the idea that if I’m in the water I can pull enough of a loop out to get my foot into it and get my fatass back into the boat.
I would imagine that a sloppy chicken line is far more dangerous than a tight line. I try to have mine tight like a guitar string. If I get myself in a situation where I have taco'd or wrapped my boat tight enough around a rock to cause my boat to bend (like in the video) then I have bigger issues than a droopy chicken line to worry about.

Be honest. Who here has made it onto this Instagram page? https://www.instagram.com/dangerropes/
 

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I think all of these methods have pros and cons and which one you choose depends on the rivers you're running, physical fitness, the amount you train, and your boat. I can get into pretty much any boat by using the raft handles so perimeter lines and other devices are something I avoid.

If you're running difficult rivers without good boat safety around you I can see the value in these aids even if they do have some extra risk.

What I see is people copying others without thinking about it much. These discussions about the pros and cons are helpful for everyone to make a good decision for their own situation.
Spot on. The problem with any hard/fast rule is it eliminates thought regarding why. This seems to happen in every ego driven joint or profession such as boating, skiing, climbing EMS, etc.

This goes hand in hand with the caribiner conversation on the Salamander thread. No non-locking binders period. But there clearly are places where they can and probably should be used when consideration is made to their potential danger.

Any time someone tells me their way is the only one way to do something I generally stop listening at that moment.
 

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I would imagine that a sloppy chicken line is far more dangerous than a tight line. I try to have mine tight like a guitar string. If I get myself in a situation where I have taco'd or wrapped my boat tight enough around a rock to cause my boat to bend (like in the video) then I have bigger issues than a droopy chicken line to worry about.

Be honest. Who here has made it onto this Instagram page? https://www.instagram.com/dangerropes/
Well, I could make it to that page, I suppose. My thought is, since I boat solo occasionally it’s nice to have a way to help me get back into the boat, especially if it’s right side up. The ladder systems sound good, but they’re spendy. I’m still not convinced that those entrapments are that common. Maybe among guided clients?
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Well, I could make it to that page, I suppose. My thought is, since I boat solo occasionally it’s nice to have a way to help me get back into the boat, especially if it’s right side up. The ladder systems sound good, but they’re spendy. I’m still not convinced that those entrapments are that common. Maybe among guided clients?
Love it. If it works and you're comfortable with it that's really all that matters.
 

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You can do a search through the AW Accident database for "Equipment Trap" and "Raft" and read through some. Here is one:


I think a lot of people have perimeter lines that still can't get back in the boat with them. It's my opinion that this is something that should be practiced and if you can't do it maybe consider not using them.

Wallrat - why don't you just climb back in your cataraft using your frame? It's generally way easier than climbing over the tube.
 
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