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LIP GRIPPER TOW-AWAY ZONE


[S K I LLS] A FREE RIDE COULD SAVE LIFE AND LIMB Y


our buddy loses his paddle, your kid runs out of steam or a complete stranger falls ill—at some point, you might have to tow another kayaker to safety. Or, you might be the one who needs a free ride. Towing another kayak angler sounds simple but it can be taxing, and even dangerous if done incorrectly. Here’s how to set up a safe and effi- cient kayak tow.


ENOUGH ROPE


An eight- to 10-foot tow rope, called a cow tail, is handy for tight maneuvers and emergency situa- tions. For open water tows over long distance, use a rope that is at least 30 feet long. Choose a quar- ter-inch nylon rope that won’t mildew or dry-rot. Use a square knot to attach a foot-long section of bungee cord to each end of the rope. The bungee will absorb the rise and fall of the waves and keep the paddler from jerking the victim’s kayak. Use a bowline knot to add a large, stainless steel cara- biner to each end of the tow rope. Save time and money by purchasing a pre-made tow rope from a paddling outfitter.


TIED UP


Clear gear and fishing poles from behind you. Next, attach the towline to the bow of the disabled pad- dler’s kayak. Either clip the carabiner to the bow handle or attach it to the angler’s forward anchor trolley. Snap the other end of the towline to a quick- release belt on your life vest. It is important that the towline is attached directly to the paddler so it can be disengaged quickly in an emergency.


ALL ABOARD!


It will take some hard paddling and careful bal- ance to start the tow. Once you are up to cruis- ing speed, maintain a steady pace to keep the two kayaks moving smoothly toward safety. Be sure to communicate a change in direction or speed to the victim so he can be ready to turn or stop. And be sure that the tow rope swings clear of gear and accessories.


Like any skill, it’s best to be prepared before you need it. Practice towing and being towed with a buddy. The life you save could be your own. Jeff Herman is a certified ACA instructor. Even though he’s paddled all over the world, he never turns down a free ride.


DIGITAL EXTRA: Click here to watch Jeff Herman set up a tow. 32…KAYAK ANGLER


SKIL LS | FOOD | RIGGING | TACTICS | DESTINATION | SPL ASH


CARRY AN EMERGENCY TOW ROPE AND LEARN HOW TO USE IT. THE LIFE


IT SAVES COULD BE YOUR OWN. PHOTO: JEFF HERMAN


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