Discussion in 'Paddling Safety' started by fester, Sep 18, 2005.
I've only recently been aquainted with the term "bail out bag".Is it a type of pump?
I haven't heard the term 'bail out bag' very often, but in my understanding it's a small bag that you keep attached to your person, which contains emergency gear that you can use in the event that you get separated from your boat. So, you might have flares, an emergency blanket, waterproof matches and other survival-type gear in it.
A bailout bag is for the unfortunate instances where you need to separate yourself from your boat and become a swimmer. It's contents include survival items relevant to the area that you're paddling in. It should float and have items for survival and rescue assistance such as flares, compass, signal mirror, flashlight, knife, whistle, matches or lighter, a few dollars -- basically things that will help you get along easier should you be stranded somewhere. Everything should be packaged so that it remains dry. Some paddlers use fanny packs to carry this gear but it can also be placed on your deck or behind your seat.
Thanks for the clarification.Judging from the name I thought it might be something like a sea sock or bailing device. I keep all my repair, first aid & survival gear in my BRU.It sounds like an interesting concept but I can't imagine a situation where I would intentionally bail and abandon my boat.
I don't think there would be a lot of scenarios that you'd intentionally abandon your boat, unless you were in surf close to rocks or it the boat were rendered useless (or sunk) - that type of thing.
But, if you've ever practised self-rescues on even a slightly breezy day, you'd quickly realize that it doesn't take much of a puff of wind for the boat to 'sail away' much faster than you'd be able to swim after it. I keep promising myself that I'm going to rig up a boat leash - a web strap that is secured to the bow and secured to you via a belt-type attachment. It would be attached to you in a way that would allow you to quickly detatch it (whether you're in or out of the boat) should you need to (ie surf landings or any of the above scenarios) but not in a way that it would be possible for it to become detatched accidentally. I'm actually a bit surprised that such a device is not more popular - Chris Duff, a solo paddler who has written about a few of his larger expeditions including the south island of New Zealand (Southern Exposure is the name of the book) and the circumnavigation of Ireland (Celtic Tides), emphasizes the importance of a boat leash in his books as well as presentations that he frequently puts on in this area (he lives in Port Angeles, WA).
Considering how often I find myself paddling solo in rougher conditions (which I actually enjoy very much!), it's really quite a good idea to have such a device 'just in case'. I'm sure I'll rig one up quite soon, as the weather is starting to turn and the water sure is cold out there!
That's a really good point. I have heard of people usind a paddle leash attatched to the boat so thay only have to hold onto one thing instead of two. Whatever you use it's a good idea to have some form of quick release. I don't have as much time,experience, or skill as I would like, but what I've done in the last few years has re-enforced two things a coach told me; If your going to use a peice of equipment, use it all the time not just occassionally, and with experience you come to rely less on your equipment and more on your skill's and judgment.
A couple years ago I took a lifeguard safety course and was advised that while performing the required wet exit drill ,if you where to show any signs of panic or let go of your boat or paddle, the result is an automatic failure.I have practiced wet exits and assisted recoveries in four foot waves and 30 + knot winds and had no trouble maintaining a firm grip on my deck line and paddle. But I'll never say never. During the same session while practicing doing a wet re-entry launch off a dock someone lost hold of thier boat and it rocketed away in no time.
I use a tow belt with a quick release buckle. I have on occasion, when kiting or alone, attatched the snap link to my deck lines. Even then, the thought of using it as a boat tether gives me entanglement/strangulation anxiety. Maybe part of the reason why more people don't tie in. I have heard of people coming out of thier boats and surfacing with thier head between thier deck and a rudder cable. Another example of Murphys law and how anything can happen.
A trend that seems fairly widespread is outfitting sea boats with throw bags ,and pfds with integral rescue belts and pigtails. This kind of kit is very much whitewater rescue specific and has little if any practicle application at sea. People too often buy what retail clerks tell them they need, or think something is a good idea because they read it in a book.There really is a baffling variety of boats and kit out there and too few retailers are about to discourage you from spending your money.
Chris duff doubtless understands the grim consequences of failing to stay in your boat or loosing hold of it if you end up swimming. He must know a thing or two, he does after all paddle a Romany
A trend that seems fairly widespread is outfitting sea boats with throw bags ,and pfds with integral rescue belts and pigtails. This kind of kit is very much whitewater rescue specific and has little if any practicle application at sea .
8O ARE YOU SURE? by the way, throw bag, pump, pfd and a sound making device are mandatory if you paddle on salt water!
People too often buy what retail clerks tell them they need, or think something is a good idea. ------this could happen to you at MEC,cosco,canadian tire...... but not in a quality kayak store :wink:
i always bring my safety and survival gear ( enough water, energy bars,shelter (cheap tent) )when i go paddling. at our store i hear lots of horror storys about paddlers who got stranded without anything...... that sucks!
we also talked about the boat leash today at work. i think i like the idea of it--- but, what if you get cought in the leash?
what do you guys think about it?
When I first got into kayaking a few years back I wanted a way to keep myself attached with the boat "just in case" so I added a tow loop to my deck lines just aft of the cockpit.
I keep my throw bag back there (one of those low profile ones) and when the going gets rough I clip the throw bag biner (modified gate) to my PFD. If something goes "amiss" I'm tied via the throw bag with a long enough line that there's always time to unhook.
Obviously if you need both items at once things get a little confused......... :lol: :lol:
Most often if you get dumped in any condition the boat will be partially swamped so wind blowing it away faster than you can swing would be less a concern for me than being in heavy seas and separate from the yak due to wave action. Getting blown into a lee shore situation in big surf is another scenario where you would want to get back to the boat and in control ASAP.
I think it makes sense to have a system you can attach when things may warrant it or that you can snap in and out of fairly quickly. For solo paddlers I think it's more of a MUST than an option.
fester made a good point about practice. With any safety/ rescue gear you have it's only really useful if it's use is second nature otherwise it's clutter and could well do more harm than good.
I did not realize throw bags where mandatory equipment. I have always understood that you are required to have 50 feet of "Bouyant heaving line" aboard. I always wear a 50 foot tow belt and pfd. I wouldn't consider a so called "rescue" or "guides" pfd with an integral belt and pigtail because I would never attempt to tow a 17 foot sea kayak on a three foot bungee attatched to the middle of my back. They do work well with the short river boats for which they are intended, but there are safer more effective ways to "contact tow" a sea kayak.
As for throw bags, they are a bag of rope. Although they fulfill the coast guard requirement for rope, they are not a tow system. Like the "rescue" pfd they are intended for use in moving water, primarily to assist a swimmer in moving water, from shore.
Sea kayak tow systems need to be instantly deployable, releaseble and restowable if they are to be of any help in an emegency. I feel much more comfortable in the company of paddlers who have belt mounted tow systems around thier waist's than those with bags of rope on thier deck.
I should add here that I have always been impressed with the knowledgable staff at the shop where Andreas works.I will continue to steer people in thier direction for boats, gear and advice. Unfortunately I cannot say the same for some of the other games in town.
What's a BRU?
I always thought bail out bags where for folks who had few or small pockets in their PFD's. A typical bailout bag might contain a small flash light, lighter, signalling device, a flare, an emergency blanket or what ever stuff you want to weave your personal safety net from.
I always assumed you'd never use a bailout bag unless somehow your boat sunk or was smashed to pieces (i.e. Chris Duffs boat) while landing.
In Canada eh! It's a Coast Guard requirement that sea kayakers carry a throw bag. I'm sure this is a requirement that was carried over from white water kayaking as the usefullness of a throw bag in a real rescue of a sea kayaker is questionable.
........maybe a little clarification would help out here.
Throw bags are a great piece of gear that meet the requirements and "can" come in handy in a number of situations. i.e. paddler inside the surf zone, in breakers or in a confined rock garden scenario.
Attaching a tow line in those conditions adds a degree of risk that I'm not comfortble with. I prefer to stay outside the crap and work from there. Obviously there may be times when that position needs to be scraped and you need to get closer.
Personally I think a throw bag is useless as a tow line in most situations. Dealing with more line than you need or trying to jury rig a shortened version can be time consuming and potentially risky.
My tow line is a "shortened" (20') quick release tow belt from North Water. The line bag can be released from the belt or the belt released from your PFD loops.
I wouldn't attempt to rescue a swimmer in surf unless I was riding on a jet ski. If you capsize and bail in the surf, swim to shore, unless your in a rip current, then let it sweep you to where a rescue can be carried out effectively and safely. It is very seldom practical to conduct any form of assisted recovery in the surf zone. I suppose a throw bag might be usefull as a field exedient drouge to assist in landing an injured paddler through the surf.
If you manage to sucessfully deploy a throw bag to a swimmer in a rock garden or boomer field you will have effectively attatched yourself to a human sea anchor. Experience has proven that a swimmer will draw the rescuers kayak in faster than the rescuer can tow him out. Deploying a throw bag involves two hands, and when seated in your kayak is extremely difficult. You can always clip one end to your deck,but then it will be next to impossible to release under even the slightest load.
There is almost always faster,safer more effective options.
No retailer will advise you to buy $3.99 worth of polypropylene to satisfy the "bouyant heaving line" requirement, when they can sell you a $69 bag of spectra line like the "pros" use. Unless I'm unaware of some recent ammendment small boat regulations make no reference to "throw bags"
BRU is an TLA for Body Recovery Unit. A term some rescue proffessionals use in place of PFD or BA.The idea being that if you fail to dress for immersion a PFD will keep your corpse afloat after you have succumb to hypothermia and drowned.
....... obviously a little more clarity is in order. :lol:
Attaching yourself (or boat) to a "swimmer" in surf or rock gardens is both an exercise in futility and likely will result in far more problems than it could ever solve. Towing a "swimmer" would likely lead to having 2 swimmers...... :wink:
The best a throw bag could do in either of the above scenario's would be as an assist in keeping the "swimmers kayak" pointed into the surf and may help in getting him (or her) out "once they are back in their boat". Like I said above they wouldn't be my first choice for towing or rescue but if an inexperienced paddler is in the water (or trying to get off the beach) I would prefer using it to jumping into the pit with them.
I guess I learned from the old school and try to look for the option that keeps me as far removed from potential problems as possible in any assist.
Things have obviously changed because those same old coots that shared their knowledge taught the necessity of accessing and deploying a throw bag with one hand, the 2 handed method must be something devised lately, although I've never personally seen it used or taught by anyone. Perhaps it's a method used only by the elite.... :wink:
I expect most folks new to the sport have the "el cheapo" bag that meets the requirements (although "throw bag" is NOT required) but may at some point "see the light" an opt for the spectra line. Guess my input was aimed more towards the masses, my humble apologies to the pro's.
I do enjoy a lively debate,please humor me, as I do require some further "clarification".
What I was attempting to point out is that your going to have the throw bag attatched to your boat somehow.
Maybe you attatch it spontaneously to the d ring in the middle of your back on your quick release belt after you've opened your spray deck and fished it out from behind your seat?
If you only use one hand to deploy it, what holds the other end? Do you do like John Wayne and hold it in your teeth ?
Are you, by using a throw bag attatching yourself to a swimmer or not ?
Does the swimmer attatch the line to his bow?
Or do you just throw them both ends of the rope and say, see ya see ya wouldn't wanna be ya?
Exactly how is this "less experienced" paddler going to get back into his boat in the surf ?
Do tell ,I'm all ears
I'm not old school and have doubtless been mentored by coaches who are less dogmatic. I'm far from an expert or pro and certainly not "elite" but it's common sense.The most experienced paddler in the group should always be first in, last out in surf,so If someone less experinced than you is leaving the beach after you have lauched into surf, you have failed in your planning.
fester We may be straying a little far off topic but I'll answer your post then we can either take it to another topic or use PM.
First my quick release belt goes along with my PFD which has loops sewn in for that purpose. It has the small bag I use for towing as well as a d-ring. I never need to pop the skirt to get it on or use it, it's always right there when I need it.
The throw bag sits on my rear deck under bungies I "tiddled & whipped" for that purpose and there is a modified gate carabiner attached to the rope end. The other end of the bag has the rope extended through the bag and forms a loop which can be slipped over the end toggle, it gets chucked to the "swimmer"...... (no bow toggle - no throw).
To throw I reach back with my left hand, unclip the biner from the deck loop and clip it to the d-ring on the quick release belt, pull the bag out from under the deck bungies and I'm all set for a "one handed" throw...... never was much of a John Wayne fan.
In a surf launch I would be launching after anyone less experienced which means I would seldom be the last to launch...... no pro here by any stretch, just love the sport.
I don't often paddle with folks who line up like ducks behind the leader, mostly just other folks who are there to have some fun. If one of those free spirits chooses to push the envelope and happens to get into a situation where I think a throw bag may help I'll use it the way I've set it up and practiced.
It may not be the way you would do it or the way your favorite guru may do it. For me it simply means being able to do something useful with that little bag on my rear deck that meets the "reqirements". Otherwise it would simply be a bag of rope cluttering up my deck.
Never paddled with many "dogmatic" types, simply had the good fortune to paddle with a few quite experienced paddlers who think "practical" makes more sense in a fix than dogma.
once again........are you, by using a throw bag attatching yourself to a swimmer or not ?
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