Mountain Buzz banner

Why I’m opposed to chicken lines..

4764 44
At about 3 minutes and 28 seconds into this video, you’ll see why I never run them.

41 - 45 of 45 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
1,554 Posts
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.
If it’s flipped, not a problem… right side up, I could probably do it if I hadn’t been chundered. Usually I get it to shore. Always though, being in the water trashes me. It’s tough being old. The line is another backup.
 

· Registered
Hyside Pro 16.0 XT
Joined
·
10 Posts
Chicken lines, if you choose to use them (I personally do), should be tight AF.

The best way to obtain this is to make your chicken lines out of long cam straps - tighten then up as needed, no need to worry about knot slippage or rope stretch. I prefer to use 2 straps on opposite sides of the boat, so you have 2 points to adjust the tension. If you ever want a looser line, say for dragging a boat upriver or over a sand bar, just loosen the straps.

I cringe every time I see a commercial paddle boat with super loose rope chicken lines... just the worst.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
I probably could have worded this a bit more diplomatically. Obviously shit can and does happen to all of us, and I mean no disrespect to anyone personally here. I am of the mindset that in class 5 water the standards of skill and judgement are a lot tighter. Even more so when rafting!

There were just too many lucky moments and close calls there in my opinion. I am very glad that everyone was ok in the end, but I hope they and anyone watching can draw some valuable lessons in river safety.
You worded it correctly the first time, no need to beat around the bush.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Coming from a guy who rolled and got wound up by an abandoned below surface throw rope in gore (don’t tie knots on TB lines), I offer the following on chicken lines:
  1. I believe they do more good than bad for the sport. AW database shows lots higher chances of drowning by other means and few if any chicken line deaths. We carry knives to lower the risk should we have this happen.
  2. The line is a piece of safety gear. It gives swimmers something to hold onto to stay with their boat instead of swimming alone. It should be tight on the boat.
  3. Safety lines are the point of contact when trying to drag a boat to freedom from a wrap rock unless everyone prefers a shared finger through a d-ring. Really nice to have when the river drops on a multi day and it takes everyone to get the boat back in the water. It gives swimmers a place to wait till I can get them back in.
  4. Handles and d-rings pop off pretty easy under load. The line spreads the load is utilized in situations like this instead of folks all on one or two d-rings. Really helpful if trying the end to end taco move
  5. Lastly I’m old and set in my ways, and don’t deal well with change.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,036 Posts
If it wasn’t for that chicken line, I don’t think they would’ve got that boat out when they did. Straps may have helped the situation, but easy to be riverside quarterback. You want the line tight, but not so tight that you can’t get a finger underneath it. I have been flipped in a hole more than once and had to hike back up and swim the rapid again to grab my boat and you only get one chance. Much rather have one than not.
 
41 - 45 of 45 Posts
Top