Painter lines and throw bags. Safety?

I am going winter canoeing soon on a calm river. I want to take some extra precautions. I don’t have a throw bag, what are the most important things to look for in one?

What are the “standards” for painter lines? 10’? Best ways to keep them leashed, but ready for action?


The most common setup for painters that I’ve seen is to install one or two pieces of shock cord on the decks, and tuck the painter underneath.

For a throwbag, I’d go with 3/8" line. The smaller sizes are harder to grab, especially when your hands are cold. Yellow shows up better than the red/white stripe in whitewater. Straight polypro is fine for simple rescues. If you think you’ll be using mechanical advantage systems you’ll want something stronger.

Take a tennis ball and some 3/8" nylon r
Tie a monkey’s fist around the tennis ball. Makes a great throw rope.

Longer painters, 25’

Bags and Painters
Throw bags are for more than just “technical rapids”. They are also used out in heavy surf and swells. I opted for a 3/8" commerical bag with a 25 ft fetch of line. You’ve need to remember to put it out of the bag every so often to inspect and make it sure it is dry and safe.

For a painter I use 1/2 inch floatable line about 10 feet long. It has a spring-loaded catch on one and 8" loop on the other. I run it along the foredeck under the shock cords so it is easy to pull out.

Oh, the spring catch is so I can (a) move it from 'yak to 'yak, (b) easily detach and use as a dog lease, or © pull someone out of the mud.

Any day on the water is a great day.

Ah’ use 10 footers

– Last Updated: Dec-10-07 9:12 AM EST –

of floating 3/8" - 1/2" (no knots in de free end) fer painters an' when needed, attach longer lines (25'-30') fer linin' either down low or with a "bridle".


the only times I have needed my throw bag were times when I thought I was going to be alone on the water…

It doesn’t take much to pop it into the boat. I always take my throw bag…

Here’s how to tie a monkey’s fist: