caribiner accidents

locking vs unlocking on pfds — never really thought bout it – PROS? CONS?


non-locking were not allowed on PFDs
… during swiftwater rescue course, potential clip-in hazzard.

Are there any cons to carrying a locking biner on your PFD?

Vote for locking, but why on PFD?
I did some tree work recently and at one point popped, and ruined, a non-locking biner. It is not likely the gate on a locking biner would have popped, which at least would have saved the expense of replacing the biner.

Excuse my ignorance, but why do you want to carry a biner on your pfd anyways? What good is a biner without some additional gear, which is probably not carried on your pfd?

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD

Some thoughts
IMHO non locking biners may be used on a tow tether from a rescue PFD ring. That is the only place I want to see them. Toy biners have no place on the river.

I actually witnessed a non-locking biner (carabiner/knife combo) become inadvertently clipped to a rope, tying the “victim” to the rope in a way that was very difficult to undo. Up until this I thought it could never happen.

biners and prusiks and ropes oh my!
The old bold whitewater boaters I know tend to keep a prusik and biner or two on their pfds.

They also carry a throw rope in the boat and when they scout.


good question

– Last Updated: Jul-19-07 4:46 PM EST –

I currently don't carry any on my PFD, but can't say it would be a bad thing either. Good thing about a SWR course is that it sets up rescues with a fair number of people, often disorganized, especially at the start.

Having a biner always on/in you ain't such a bad thing when connecting throw bags together, setting up drags around who-knows-what, etc. Saves asking for one, looking for one, deciding you can live without one, etc.

Another place non-lockers weren't allowed was when using one as a belt buckle to wear a 9' loop of 1" webbing as a belt (as a lot of the yakkers do).

Am I the only person on the planet…
…who doesn’t own any carabiners? Okay, maybe that’s not quite true. I did buy a couple of little snappy-hook things so I can keep my Pelican boxes (for camera and binoculars) hooked via very short tethers to tie-downs on the floor when in whitewater, so I can quickly move the boxes to within arms reach for handling but then hook them up again as needed. Those hooks actually attach and detach easier than a carabiner, but the idea is the same.

The rest of the time I just tie knots.

I suggest putting a small, secure
pocket on a PFD for caribiners. Looks less studly but will have less risk.

We DO have to remember that many things we wear on the river have been known to snag on things, causing sudden risk. These include shoes, sprayskirts, PFDs, paddling jackets, and knives in their sheaths. Carabiners do not stand out as a risk factor, but there is no reason to have carabiners hanging off a PFD.

in the interest of full disclosure (now that you’ve drawn me out) the reason I don’t carry any biners currently is because I have a fairly cheap PFD without secure pockets. And as a result, I lost 2 biners during beat downs. So, I stopped carrying them till I get a better PFD. I don’t do studly well, so I don’t carry any on the outside.