How To Perform (And Master) The Throwbag Rescue

How To Perform (And Master) The Throwbag Rescue

Simon Coward
4 minute read

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Simon here from AQ Outdoors, and welcome to our quick reference River Safety Series. In these videos, we cover key safety skills and touch on the critical points to execute a safe and efficient rescues. In this episode, we are looking at throw baggingwhat it is, why it's so important, and how we do it. 

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What is a throwbag and why is it needed?

A throwbag is an essential piece of rescue equipment for water-based activities, particularly in whitewater kayaking and rafting. It's essentially a bag with a length of rope coiled inside. But why do we need it?

In fast-moving water, accidents can happen, and people might find themselves in a situation where they need help. That's where the throw bag comes into play. It allows rescuers to quickly and accurately get a rope to someone in distress, providing a lifeline in turbulent waters.

[ Also read: How to Choose the Right Rescue PFD for You ]

Choosing A Safe And Effective Location

When preparing to use a throw bag, it's crucial to choose the right spot for the rescue. Here are the key considerations:

  1. Safe and Stable Ground: Ensure you have firm footing. You should be in a secure position to make an effective throw.
  2. Accessibility for the Swimmer: Pick a location that is accessible to a potential swimmer in distress. It should be close to the area where they are likely to be swept to by the current.
  3. Improved Swimmer's Position: Opt for a spot that enhances the swimmer's chances. If they manage to grab the bag from a rescuer, it should lead to an improved situation.
  4. Dynamic or Static Belay: Consider whether the location is suitable for a dynamic or static belay, depending on the specific conditions and the type of rescue required.

Once you've carefully chosen a safe and effective location, you'll be ready for action, but be prepared to wait for your paddling partner to navigate the rapid. Stay alert and focused, as quick responses can make all the difference in a water rescue.

[ Also read: Key Techniques to Easily Put on a Sprayskirt ]

Coordinating the Rescue Like a Pro

When it's go time and a rescue is in progress, communication and actions need to be on point. We've got this down to four simple steps:

  1. Get Their Attention:
    • Shout their name and give that whistle a good blow. Try to lock in some eye contact.
  2. Announce the Bag Throw:
    • Give 'em a heads up that you're about to throw the bag. You can even give it a little pre-throw motion.
    • Yell "rope" loudly. Let them know it's on its way; they'll likely be watching for it.
  3. Bag in the Right Spot:
    • Make sure the bag reaches the swimmer. It's got to be right there where they can grab it.
  4. Hold On Tight:
    • After you've thrown the rope, tell them to grab it and shout "hold on, hold on." It might sound silly, but in the chaos of swimming, things can get disorienting.
    • If the initial throw misses, keep yelling or signaling to guide them to the rope.
    • Tell them to hold on like their life depends on it. They might not hear it, but it's the last nudge they need. Experienced paddlers should brace for some serious tension as the swimmer goes underwater. It's a rough ride, but if the rescuer did their job right, not letting go is the way to go.

So that's it. Our quick reference guide to throw bagging. It's a skill you hopefully don't have to use regularly, but practice and having a dialed process will hopefully ensure a successful outcome if you do need to use it.

We hope you enjoyed this video and blog on how to throwbag rescue and found it useful. Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to get access to more great educational content as soon as it's posted. Ultimately, check out our courses and get more great information at AQ Outdoors.

Stay safe out there!

Shop all Throwbags at AQ Outdoors

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