Seen ladder sling?

After having gotten tangled in the double lines/loop of my very nice $25 stirrup, I decided to purchase one of Nettie’s bag ladders, which came highly recommended by an instructor. It appears to be exactly what I’m looking for:

Unfortunately, it also appears that poor Nettie has gone out of business–I can’t get an answer or voice mail at either phone no., and there was no response to an e-mail. I can’t find any similar products on the web. Has anyone seen one or something like it?

I’ve already tried making my own single-line sling. With the materials I have available (I’m on vacation in the sticks), it didn’t work well.

I would be most grateful if anyone can direct me to a site that offers something similar. Thanks for your help!

Wow those are nice!
And the prices are reasonable. Let me know if you cannot get one ordered and I’ll try to make one. But if you can order one successfully, then I just order one too. The price is fair and it is their idea I think.

I think it make it a lot easier to get folks with weak upper bodies and less balance back into their boats.

They are in business
For the heck of it i checked as they do look interesting. The number posted was answered by a gentlemen although Nettie wasn’t there at the moment. If you decide to purchase let us know how they are and the quality. Thanks.

Wow–I’ll try again.
Thanks! From what the instructor who told me about them said, they work very well. Her husband is unable to get himself up without a sling; she said it was a tremendous help and worth every penny they spent.

my woman
Ann uses a simple strap loop that she places around the cockpit rim. no way did it cost more than a couple of dollars.

A fifteen foot canoe strap with Stainless, spring loaded cam buckle works just fine too, has one advantage in that most already own several and is readily adjustable as to length by pulling webbing through the buckle ratchet.

Another waste of money

– Last Updated: Jun-20-09 11:28 AM EST –

If one learns the proper technique for getting back into one's boat, these stupid crutches are unnecessary. When you really need them, such as in rough water, they are more of a liability than an aid, as one slip means you've got your leg stuck through a sling that's attached to a boat which is at the mercy of the waves. That's a REALLY BAD SITUATION! Becoming dependent on gear rather than skills means you're screwed when your gear doesn't work as advertised of if you break/lose it.

The problem with re-entry for most people is that they think it's an upward process, which it's not. What you need to do is kick your legs up to the surface so that you're prone in the water, then pull yourself ACROSS your aft deck. Yes, you do have to come upward somewhat, but the difference in ease between this technique and trying to haul yourself up from a vertical position is HUGE. Slings and other such nonsense teach people the exact WRONG technique. If you're using it with a paddle float, it puts much more stress on the paddle, increasing the likelihood that you'll break it.

Slings are a bad idea!

gotta agree w/ Bry. learn the heel hook and you don’t need no stinkin’ ladders!


Good point…
I hadn’t thought to add the heel hook technique, but you’re absolutely right.

I dont know the heel hook
Is that something like when i hook my feet over two kayaks while in between them - then slide into the cockpit of one of them ?

I was suggested the Northwater sling which really did get me back in the boat as i need to brace both of my forearms (tendonitus), have a thick jacket in front and have much better strength in my legs.

heel hook
The aforementioned “heel hook” is performed by floating alongside your aft deck, facing the same direction as your boat. Your boat is stabilized by a rescue boat, or a paddle float. Hold onto your aft perimeter lines. Let your feet float to the surface alongside the cockpit. Swing your farthest foot into the cockpit. (if right shoulder is closest to boat, put the left foot in the cockpit). Then use your left and your arms to roll up onto the back deck, chest first. Slide the other foot in. Roll over and plop your butt in.

when a 5’10" 280lbs client can’t get in
by other means using a sling is a nice option. I carry one just in case.

Like a paddle float, it is a good idea to quickly move beyond needing one. But, not everyone you might paddle with, or come across, has the knowledge and skill to use ‘proper’ technique.

The ‘ladder’ mentioned does seem overly complicated.

For those still interested…
with some solid 1" webbing you can easily construct what I think is called an “etrier”, pronounced A-tree-a. It is used in technical rock climbing, mountaineering, etc. and can be easily fashioned very cheaply.

I’m finding it difficult to describe it or explain clearly how it’s made. “a series of loops” just doesn’t do it justice. Perhaps google will help those interested.

I agree with the stated inherent dangers of entanglement.

Please do not blame the PADDLE …
manufacturer when the paddle snaps using these things.

Thank you.

The heel hook works great until you get a really HEAVY swimmer. Then trying to stabilize the boat can be a nightmare.

Many petite women would find it difficult to stabilize the boat for a 200 lb male trying to do a heel hook.

I carry a sling in my day hatch for just those times that I may have to rescue someone who is way too heavy for me.

With the people I paddle with, most of the males swim across the back deck as Bryan described while the women usually do a heel hook. Although the rescue of choice for all of these people is usually a roll and then a re-enter and roll.

Assisted rescues are nice…
… and we’d all be wise to take the help when available, but the ability to solo recover should be a given part of sport - making an assist a nice bonus/energy saver/training opportunity, etc.

Solo or with assisted stabilization, barring injury/exhaustion, paddlers should still be getting themselves back into their own cockpits. If they can’t (due to bulk, weakness, lack of technique/practice) and aren’t willing or able to remedy that somehow, they need to rethink paddling as a hobby as it is putting a LOT of added burden and risk on the others who paddle with them. (exception for assisted paddling programs - naturally - as that’s the whole point).

This is never a popular comment (pointing out the obvious just isn’t PC! Suggesting some minor fitness level/minimal skill set is sensible for a watersport near criminal, as the majority seem to drink the “paddling’s for everyone” kool aid.

I can sympathize with those outfitting/guiding who deal with complete novices who just want some simple fun - and not wet work/training. Just glad I don’t deal with that as I sure as heck don’t want to have to decide if I’d accept all who will pay, or turn some away.

Using paddles as support is a TERRIBLE

– Last Updated: Jun-22-09 8:50 AM EST –

idea, so is wrapping the sling around the cockpit rim.

If you hold one end of the sling in one hand, pass it under the hull of your kayak, pull it up between the two kayaks, and then pass it over the deck of the swimmer's kayak you have a very stable sling. You can pull the sling against your kayak to create extra tension and friction if needed.

I have used this method several times and really only need 2 finger to hold the weight of the swimmer in the sling.

For those of you (like me) who can't reach all the way under your kayak to pass the sling between your hands you can add a piece of garden hose (or stiff tubing) to the foot loop add some reach.

*** EDIT ***

The 'TERRIBLE' part of my subject line was a bit harsh. Also, I didn't make it clear I was referring to wrapping the sling around a paddle during an ASSISTED rescue where 2 (or more) kayaks were involved.

If you’re solo, what do you do?

– Last Updated: Jun-21-09 11:28 AM EST –

Worse yet, what if you're in rough water? While your suggestion MAY work with an assisted rescue in calm conditions, it obviously won't work if you're paddling solo, where you have no choice but to use the paddle with float for support. I agree this is a bad situation, but there is no alternative.

When performing an assisted rescue in rough conditions, you NEVER, repeat NEVER want to put your arms or any other body part between the boats! That's a great way to end up with severe bruises and/or broken bones. Looping slings under and between boats is a pond/pool trick that has little utility under real paddling conditions.

As with many pieces of rescue gear and complicated techniques, they SEEM like a good idea until you actually have to use them in the real world, at which point their flaws become glaringly apparent. If that's the only way you know to get into your boat, you're screwed and you'd better have a way of calling for help. Unfortunately, it seems like many paddlers will waste money on useless junk like slings rather than spending it on a marine VHF that may actually save their butt when they realize that their rescue "strategy" is a joke.

When it comes to rescues, SIMPLE and FAST are the keys to success.

If you are solo…

– Last Updated: Jun-21-09 2:45 PM EST –

and the only option is to rig a sling around a paddle (with or without a paddle float) so that you can get back into a kayak then that is what you have to do. In my opinion, if you are to the point of only returning to your kayak with the help of a sling then you will have a very difficult time rigging the sling around a paddle by yourself so you can use it. Then you have to retrieve the sling, paddle, and possibly a paddle float; OR, leave the setup in place and use your spare to paddle to safety. Either way, it is a hell of a lot of work.

If you are in rough water and rescuing someone the sling method I mentioned is easier to setup (and undo) than wrapping around the paddle or cockpit. If you are in rough water, and by yourself, then see the first paragraph and add a ton of effort.

While I agree with not putting body parts between kayaks there are assisted rescues where the swimmer is between the boats.

The sling method I mentioned isn't a 'pond' trick it works very well in 'real' paddling conditions. It is also a method used in the Rock and Sea Productions' "Sea Kayak Safety" DVD. They demonstrated the methods they found most useful in 'real' paddling conditions. Personally, I have found it very effective, simple, and fast, in a wide range of paddling conditions all of which were 'real'.

*** edit ***

IMO, using a sling to get back in a kayak is a last resort option. This means almost every other rescue technique I know has either failed, or would be completely ineffective.

size of rescuee
I am a petite woman 5’3" and 117 lbs, weekend warrior, nothing kind of special athletically.

I have done T-rescues w. males 185-230 lbs.(the man 230 lbs being 6’4") and, with correct technique, the hook n heel (or for that matter any variation on the classic T, including the classi) works very well.

Two bulkheaded seakayaks have a LOT of floatation, certainly enough for males in that weight range which is certainly well within norm, (won’t comment on the truly obese, I’ve not paddled w. a truly obese person). Perhaps w. significantly shorter boats there is less floatation so the weight is distributed differently.

One thing I learned is that the rescuer must COMMIT w. sufficient lean up against the rescuee’s boat. Making a strong T with the boats is very effective, even in moderate waves.

As for the hook n heel, it is, at least for me, much faster to get it. Prolly cuz it’s an easy, low altitude pivot with very little time on the stern before I twist and drop in.

Needless to say it’s good to practice all the methods of assisted and unassisted rescues that one possibly can and to keep practicing to expand the repertoire. We never know what tool in the kit helps us deal w. the shit!