Ball thingy on quick release buckle of tow belt

Discussion in 'Gear Talk' started by pawsplus, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. JohnAbercrombie

    JohnAbercrombie Paddler

    Dec 7, 2011
    Victoria, BC
    I've done that too!! :)

    You Americans are lucky to have HF...
    Astoriadave likes this.
  2. Kayak Jim

    Kayak Jim Paddler

    Mar 5, 2016
    Comox Valley BC
  3. jamonte

    jamonte Paddler

    Aug 6, 2015
    Jasper, thanks for correcting my post, you are exactly right: the webbing belt on my WW Rescue PFD first winds through a metal plate underneath the plastic buckle and then through the plastic buckle. On my Northwater tow package for sea kayaking, the webbing belt only goes through the plastic buckle. I assume the purpose of the metal plate on a rescue PFD's belt is to create extra drag so that the tag end of the webbing belt doesn't pull through the plastic buckle when it's under a lot of force. (For example, during a live bait rescue in strong current.) The force it takes to tow a sea kayak is substantially less, so the metal plate is not necessary in the Northwater set up.

    John Abercrombie: As to why a six-inch tag end on a WW rescue PFD's webbing belt won't release when a two-inch tag end will, I think that when you pull the buckle open you are not only removing the friction of the buckle's clasp, you are also straightening out the angle of the webbing as it travels between the metal plate and buckle. If you just pop the buckle and immediately let go of the ball (which might be all you have time to do in a river emergency), then two things happen: 1) the buckle partially closes again on its own (which adds drag), and 2) the angle of the webbing between the metal plate and buckle grows more acute, which also adds drag. In the scenario where I was live-baited out to a swimmer, he was able to pop the buckle open (but not hold it open) while I was working to get his foot free, but when I held him in a bear hug and we were pendulummed back to shore, the buckle got forced fully closed again and did not release. It had slipped a couple inches, but that was it.

    Always good to think about how things work... or don't work. Thanks! And I agree with the person who said that clipping onto anything while you're in a kayak carries a lot of risk, both in a river and in waves/surf. I didn't really appreciate that when I first started kayaking, but I do now.