Poll, Deck vs Belt Tows, your 2 cents?

What you’ll discover in practice
Coaming tows may seem like a good idea, but think about what will happen if it pops up off the coaming. You’re going to end up with a narrow piece of webbing around your waist - OUCH! - or around your chest where it has more leverage against your body. Neither is a pretty picture. Are you going to be able to locate the little Fastex buckle? If you do, will you be able to open it. They’re designed NOT to open under tension.

As for the Kokatat rig with the plastic line holder, it’s useless in anything but flat, calm conditions. As with operating a radio, you need to be able to deploy and stow a tow rope with one hand. In conditions, you can’t afford to sit still while you use both hands to wind up your tow rig. That’s also why tow rigs with nice, tiny little bags that barely hold all the rope are also a bad idea. It takes two hands and careful packing to get all the rope back in and you simply can’t afford that luxury. That’s the beauty of Northwater’s tow rigs. They start out fairly compact, but give you a large target to hit when you go to stow the rope.

BTW, I don’t buy into the idea that you can just stuff the tow rope in your PFD, except as a last resort. The last thing you need to deal with in nasty conditions is loops of rope sticking out of your PFD and/or falling in your lap.

Rule #6
If you are the trip leader, get another paddler to tow for you. The leader needs to be free to direct events for all the paddlers. If you have to tow, be on the lead and not in the middle of a tow.

Augustus Dogmatycus


Deck mounted
I used a deck mounted cam for years in whitewater paddling with our frequent rescues of the open boat crowd I paddled with. Seems that most of the closed boaters did, “back in the day”. Now there is a real absence of them on the rivers here about, don’t really know why. I actually had to go hunting when I decided to put one on my seakayak. Haven’t had to use one, yet. think I’ll give one to my partner, along with a waist system, as I tend to be the more daring one these days and…

cycles of all things
Funny you mention this as that was the same for me as I began on white water 30 years ago in Indiana. I guess that is where I saw their utility and what made me think of going back to them.

Many here point out the importance of testing this stuff and I encourage that too. It is amazing how powerful the sea is and when towing one really can get a jolt of that fact.