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PostPosted: June 16th, 2009, 1:58 pm 
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Location: Beaumont, AB
Just thought I would throw out my observations of an incident that I observed on a trip on the May long weekend this year. I would be interested in your comments.

We went for a day trip on the N.Sask.River upstream of Rocky Mtn House on the long weekend. We noticed a group of 5 rental canoes at the put-in getting geared up just as we paddled off at the start of the day. We did a couple of runs through the 200-300 m long CII+ Devil's Elbow rapids and stopped there for lunch. While eating lunch along the side of the river we heard some voices and within a few seconds the 1st rental boat passed by half swamped in the rapids with a throw rope tied to the stern and trailing behind them (within a few seconds they were both swimming). Shortly thereafter, the second rental went past fully swamped with both ex-occupants swimming and a throw rope tied to the stern and trailing behind them. My son managed to run to shore in time to throw a rope to one of the swimmers and pull him to shore. Soon after, three more rental canoes passed by (paddlers still in their boats) with their throw ropes all trailing behind them. They picked up the rescued swimmer and leisurely proceeded down the river (the original three swimmers by this time were still in the water but out of sight and probably about 300-500 m downstream).

The water was very cold and my sons and I were quite concerned that those in the water would suffer from hypothermia and drown (none of them appeared to be wearing wetsuits or dry suits). I was also quite concerned that the trailing lines on these boats (with the bag end floating free) were a risk should they get caught up on a rock or a tree (there was a small logjam in the middle of the river just downstream of the Devil's Elbow rapid). I suppose these guys were thinking that if they swam, the trailing lines would give them something to grab onto.

In any case, we packed up our lunch and left shortly thereafter. It was about 20 minutes later that we came across this group of 10 huddled around a fire on the shore. They seemed ok so we continued on our way.

Any comments or thoughts?
regards
dave

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PostPosted: June 16th, 2009, 2:33 pm 
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:tsk: :tsk: :tsk:
They where lucky,
Maybe a little warning might have helped.
And their inconsideration and lack of Knowledge could have but you and your son at risk (rescue guys) shoud have things turned out bad.
See Gail's thread.
And the risk doesn't have to be in big water.
Jeff

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PostPosted: June 16th, 2009, 4:32 pm 
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Any trailing rope is a concern. I've been wrapped up in one before. Not fun! Some people tie the bags to the decks to use as lining ropes. I think this is pretty awkward - 70' is just too much to line with.


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PostPosted: June 18th, 2009, 1:13 pm 
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I would have stopped in at their fire and promoted the local paddling club as a resource, place to learn more, etc.

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PostPosted: June 18th, 2009, 9:41 pm 
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DougB wrote:
Any trailing rope is a concern. I've been wrapped up in one before. Not fun! Some people tie the bags to the decks to use as lining ropes. I think this is pretty awkward - 70' is just too much to line with.



point taken

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PostPosted: June 19th, 2009, 5:32 pm 
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What would be a "good" length for lining?

70' throw bags could be used, but they could be knotted short at the boat for lining. That's what I was thinking of doing on our upcoming Lievre trip.


Thanks,

Allan.


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PostPosted: June 19th, 2009, 7:28 pm 
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Quote:
What would be a "good" length for lining?


I'd say something a bit longer than the length of your boat, maybe 25 feet for the average canoe. You want enough that you can maintain control of both ends at almost all times. Longer lining ropes occasionally have their place but if general you want to maintain tension on both bow and stern ropes, sometimes it only takes a few seconds for one end to drift away from you and get caught in a hydraulic, next thing you know your boat is flipping and filling with water, gear is falling in the river and you have a serious flustercluck on your hands.

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PostPosted: June 20th, 2009, 5:24 am 
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Lining, or at least "expert" lining is a skill not easily acquired: understanding how the water will push your boat about, managing the rope(s), getting yourself and the boat in the right position at the right time...
I, or members of my party, have pinned boats, flipped them, flooded them, fell in the water, bled, lost gear, had the rope hang-up on rocks...pretty much every disaster you could think of short of death :D
Like recped says, in most situations a rope a little longer than the boat will get you by. But the length depends in part on your level of expertise. I have a couple of freinds who have what to me is an almost majical understanding of what their canoe will do at the end of their rope. I recall many times struggling though the shore-line rock-garden and looking up to see my buddy's boat skirt the far side of an obstacle 30 or 40 feet from shore, easily bypassing my travails, making the whole exercise seem so simple and easy...but it ain't necessarily so!


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PostPosted: June 20th, 2009, 8:32 pm 
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Once again. Point taken.

I blame the raven. Should have run the rapid. Now I have to eat crow on every lining thread.

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PostPosted: June 20th, 2009, 8:40 pm 
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Dan

I only speak from personal experience....what happens on the river, stays on the river :wink:

By the way....any thoughts on tying/tethering versus floating free?

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PostPosted: June 21st, 2009, 9:07 am 
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FWIW all the gear that I actually lost was tied in.

the problem is that it was tied to the POS spraydeck and the stitching gave.

excuses excuses... I know.

I retrospect I am not sure I I would do a live bait rescue for a nalgene again. That particular move has should not have passed the cost/benefit analysis.

Anyway, I always said in big WW better to tie. I just happend to be too lazy to practice what I preach.

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PostPosted: June 21st, 2009, 9:20 am 
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Krusty wrote:
Lining, or at least "expert" lining is a skill not easily acquired: understanding how the water will push your boat about, managing the rope(s), getting yourself and the boat in the right position at the right time...
I, or members of my party, have pinned boats, flipped them, flooded them, fell in the water, bled, lost gear, had the rope hang-up on rocks...pretty much every disaster you could think of short of death :D


Krusty,
The way you describe your experience it's hard to see how a longer rope would have made things worse. Could they have made them better?

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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2009, 3:26 am 
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Oh yeah, with a longer rope I might have actually hung myself :D
But really, carrying a longer rope than you'll actually be using is a bit of a liability: more chance of tripping on it, or tangling it up, or getting tangled up in it. And if you do play out a long line, the farther away you are the less control you have. More risk of something going big-time bad if you've read it wrong. Again, it related to how practiced you are.
That being said, a longer rope does give you more options. Sometimes you might be able to get the boat out and around an obstacle if you have a long line. It's kinda' cool to shove your boat out into the current, bravely heading out by itself with you tightening and slackening the line to coax her along as she turning and dodging with the flow. You know it's going to get exciting if things don't go as you planned, and it's a rush when they do. :D
Or being able to stand with secure footing and let the boat past places that are difficult to walk along, setting the boat in an eddy or whatever before following it down.


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