end toggles

some folks i know feel that dangling end toggles that are not tied together and otherwise left remaining as a loop are remarkably dangerous. these folks modify their end loops so that it is only one cord attached to the boat- no finger issues.

the large majority however, don’t bother, and in my travels it seems that only a few people do this, and the rest don’t. none of the boats i saw in the UK had this modification, no one cared or saw it as a big risk. i don’t either, but one friend goes apoplectic over the risk of broken fingers and the like. certainly there is some risk.

what are your experience and opinions on this most pressing matter…

No harm no foul
I had to redo my lines and rigging anyway, so I did the no loop version. So have a few people I paddle with. As far as whether it has mattered in a rescue, so far the only thing I’ve noticed that adds time is if there is a short, tight loop like if someone has a keeper that they didn’t release before paddling. I can’t say I’ve encountered a huge problem with a loop in the real thing, tho’ someone could argue that there should be a “yet” on the end of that.

Never seen a problem with them "looped"
It could happen but the likelihood is so small I don’t bother with it.


With Celia
I’ll probably get rid of the loop when I replace my cracked end toggles, but haven’t done so yet. It should be an easy enough fix so there is no reason not to do it but I don’t consider it the worst hazard I’m likely to face (that would be driving to the put-in).

If my memory serves me right I think
Jeff Allen a UK BCU coach related a story about a kayaker who ended up with a finger that was severed because it was caught in a looped toggle. I had cut mine (toggle loop that is not finger) several years ago prior to hearing the story.

I ran with scissors in my hand the other day–boy, was I glad I didn’t kill myself!

So ‘splain it to me slowly…
We are talking about those great big honkin’ plastic handles on the end of my boat? The ones I use to tie the tiedown lines to the front and rear of my car? Same ones I use to haul the boat up on the bank, and loop my 50’ painter to?

Naw, gotta be talkin’ about a loop of nylon used as a handle (a Toggle forms a “T” shape and you don’t put your hand thru it…).

So…you can lose a finger how?..you pick up the boat by the “Loop” and the boat spins and the loop cuts off a finger? Or is there a rescue technique using the bow and stern “loops” that can go bad on the water?

and finally, are we talking on Whitewater Boats or Sea Kayaks where this is a threat? Maybe both?

Me too. Not to be ignorant but what
"toggle" are we speaking of?

As pointed out above - the loop presents a hazard because a finger can be mistakenly stuck inside the loop while kayak busts a couple of moves.

That said, you have to ask yourself as to what kind of kayaker is more likely to make this mistake. Anyone trained by BCU/ACA has “around the loop” beaten into them with a paddle. A person who doesn’t is most likely:

  1. Not be there in the first place. “There” as in conditions are such that kayak dances all over.
  2. Not grab the loop, stay by the center. Some people think that staying by the cockpit area is safest - the center of kayak moves least. Doesn’t really work when swimming the boat in through serious surf; but holding on a waterlogged kayak at that point is questionable.
  3. Be separated from the boat.

    By the way, one doesn’t have to go the single rope you can use electric tape, run some twine, etc.

What it means
In most boats that have end toggles - handles on the end of a line with some length - the line to the toggle runs from one hole in the toggle, thru a drilled hole in in the end of the boat, out the other side and back into the toggle. In a rescue, since you are usually grabbing the toggle under water so unable to see it, it wouldn’t be impossible to stick a finger between the two sides of the line rather than entirely outside of that loop. If the boat gets spun around a lot - a fair amount is typical in that situation - bye bye finger. At least that’s the scenario.

A lot of touring and rec boats don’t have toggles on a loop of rope, instead they have a hand loop that is tight to the deck not unlike the WW boats. The end toggle on a loop is more an attribute of sea kayaks where messy assisted rescues are more likely than something like WW.

that sounds like an observation…
…made by someone (not you) who spends too much time fretting on an internet forum and not enough time paddling.

I don’t see the toggle “loop” as a serious safety issue. The lines are so close together at the toggle end that it’d be highly unlikely to get a finger between them. That said, if I was replacing rigging anyway I might try to do something about it.

I have experienced a plain rope loop(no toggle) winding up and tightening on my hand while swimming a boat in surf.

Valley Toggles
Their current design has some sort of tube (either separate or molded as part of the toggle, I’m not sure) that holds both the two ends of the attaching loop as well as the bungee keeper all together for a half-inch or so away from the toggle.

It also makes the toggle a little easier to grab since it stands off the deck a bit.

It wouldn’t that difficult to copy this design with a piece of tubing. I did just that briefly but couldn’t get past the general sloppy appearance of the things perched up on each end of the boat.


And the Valley toggles cost all of what
3 bucks? Illegal alien minors get paid more per hour than the time it takes to try to knock off what Valley has made simple and cost effective.


When I paddle an 18’ sea kayak down
steep creeks, the toggles are constantly getting snagged in the rhodedendrons.

Several times, this has given me extra time to scout the next drop.

another bagger vance idea
…we lose our toggles to a hungry loggerhead turtle, and fashion new ones from some rare seashell.

don’t like dangling clanging handles
make a small loop through the endpour hole then tie toggle to top of loop. Clears bow when pulled forward but dangles at the sheer.

er,to answer your question I like loops, more the click a carabiner on.

Why would you clip a carabiner to an end toggle…that’s what deck lines are for.

actually no
…the deck lines are for grabbing hold of when you come out of your boat.

people in a row , on this thread are correct.

They are both to grab hold of and to clip on to.

Whew…doesn’t have to have only one purpose in life or on the boat…deck lines are good

Best Wishes