tow line 'biner?

how do the rest of you have your tow line 'biner attached to your tow line?

the challenge is to rig it in such a way that if you’re pulling an assisted tow to get the 'biner to flow freely under the deck line of the assistant…the way i rig an asissted tow (fairly standard) is to run the line beneath the forward deck line of the assist and then clip into the forward deck line of the victim…this way when they are under tow, the bows are drawn together AND then later if the assist wants to get out of the lineup, he/she can pull themselves forward and unclip the 'biner from the victim and then the shmoe pulling the tow paddles forward and the 'biner is supposed to just pull free from under the assistants deckline BUT…occassionally it will get hung up.

some folks have their floats too far forward close to the ‘biner and that gets hung up (when i used one, i had it about 4’ back of the 'biner…finally i just took it off) other times i’ve seen the knot holding the 'biner to the tow line get hung up under there and then i’ve seen some folks that have a handy piece of climbers webbing that holds the 'biner to the tow line seen that actually flip OVER the deckline and then get caught snugly…

so…how do YOU attach your 'biner to YOUR tow line and what advantages/disadvantages have you had with the way it’s rigged?

i just rigged mine with a couple of hog rings and shrink wrap to minimize the profile at the 'biner end of it and will practice towing/releasing it tonight in a class on a lake before i take it out and may HAVE to use it…figure i may have to review, replace those hog rings once a season or so but i guess i’ll see…

so whaddya do?

My rig . .
OK Rick, you made me look . . .

Nothwater bag and rope with float about 4’ back from the biner. Replaced the standard hook with a traditional climbing biner with no notch in gate to catch on anything. Tied biner to rope using a figure-8 with loop, smallest profile knot I could come up with. Tape the tail so its a tapered transition. I am sure there are better ways but that’s where I ended up. Even though it’s still a lump on the end of the rope, I do believe it is smoother than factory issued. I also believe it will still snag in the scenario you define.

I have another tow line from a well known catalog house that has a phenolic hook and the float immediately after the biner. That looks like it would catch on everything.

Be interested in seeing where this thread goes. Assisted tows, although commonly discussed, have a trick to them for long distances. I historically have had the problem in a chop of having a lot of water pushing up between the boats providing a fairly wet ride.

For a REALLY small profile knot
cut the melted end off the rope, and assuming it is core-and-sheath construction, slide the sheath about a foot up the core. Cut the core, melt it and roll smooth between wet fingers. Slide teh sheath back over the core and tie the knot in the sheath only.

Worried about strength? How strong is the towee’s grab loop or perimeter rope? How much force can your waist withstand?


Ric, I have messed around with

– Last Updated: May-29-08 9:31 PM EST –

several options.

I tied the biner into the end of the tow line with an Anchor knot. I then wrapped the knot and several inches of tow line with a plastic tape to make the knot more 'slippery and hopefully prevent it from hanging up on a deck line.

I currently use a Northwater Sea-Tec Tow System. IMHO, Northwater places their float too close to the biner. It could hang on the victim's or the support boat's deck lines. I have seen this happen in drills.

I initially took the float off my unit based on the suggestions of several, but not all, BCU Coach types.

I have since reattached the float, but moved it about 4' back from the biner. I was concerned that if the biner was released / dropped in shallow water (< 30') it might hang-up on some underwater obstruction.

I don't think there is a 'right' answer here. If I experienced a situation where the biner hung-up on a deck line, even with the 4' setback, I would probably remove it again.

Safe paddling,

What’s wrong with just tying it with …
a knot ?



Too much work for some…
Everyone is looking for the “easy way out” these days. Life is just too difficult as it is… ;}

Paddle easy,


Sounds like a retorical (sp)
question to me. I don’t think I’d want to be tied in as an assist. Certainly would limit my manuverability.

you aren’t tied in…

– Last Updated: May-28-08 1:36 PM EST –

you are clipped in and you can get out of it when you want....but the victim may need to be stabilized and if your doing that and the group needs to move, this is how you can do that.

but yes, your manuverability is nil when on the tow....your job at that point is to stay by the victim and support them, monitor, aid...whatever and the entire time your bow is directed by another person.

this isn't rhetorical, this regularly happens.

reading comprehension

– Last Updated: May-28-08 2:07 PM EST –

again sorely lacking...i can only blame public schools. either that or...say, how old ARE you?

"..other times i've seen the knot holding the 'biner to the tow line get hung up under there and.."

maybe anything/everything can get caught up...the question remains what do you do and the pro's/con's you've encountered.

anything to ADD to the conversation that might further the collective wisdom in regards to the tow line/'biner thing? which was i thought, the original question…you boys familiar with the acronym RTFQ?

Ok, fine then…

– Last Updated: May-28-08 2:15 PM EST –

Tie a knot. You already have to tie a knot in the line to attach it to the biner... Why "double your work". See it is the "easier way" after all. Or do you want the tacticool "CLICK" of the biner to make you look & feel like a Hollywood hero...

Paddle easy,


Posted by: rick_s on May-28-08 2:02 PM (EST)

“the question remains what do you do and the pro’s/con’s you’ve encountered.”

I tie a knot.

Pro’s = easier & faster

Con’s = it “momentarily” gets hung up

A biner can actually “ATTACH” to an obstical which in turn could hinder the situation drastically.

Paddle easy (but not the easiest way),


Go easy on him…He is “advanced”…
So he should already know all this information… Watch it everyone. We have a troll under the bridge…

Paddle easy,


So then…
Whata is easier to undo under tention in case of an emeergency release…

A) a clip of which you must pull forward, unlock, unfasten

B) a simple “quick realease” sheepshank “TYPE” knot

Ummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… B!!!

Paddle easy,


it isn’t a troll

– Last Updated: May-28-08 2:40 PM EST –

i have a question and am trying to see what others do.

you think because someone is or isn't "advanced" they stop looking for other opinion and/or thoughts?

knots are useful but i'm certainly not going to take the time when putting someone under tow to tie a knot; there are occassions when you need much faster and "click" takes no time.

looks to me like you have prejudices you're bringing to the table.

obviously you are talking about a

– Last Updated: May-28-08 2:50 PM EST –

contact tow with nylon webbing rather that the tow harness type of tow with a rope or line--I put both my biners(I use two) on the deckline of my boat than run the tow webbing under both deckines of the other boat then reattach to both my binners(I use two to avoid breaks and the webbing slipping out--not really necessary but a good precaution.)

If you are not talking about a contact tow I just attach the binner on the end of my tow rope to the grab loop on the bow of the towee's kayak

not a contact tow
a long tow.

if it were the contact tow you’d be able to reach it all as it’s directly in front of you, right?

the 'biner of the long tow can get hung up on the foredeck line of the assist when the assist tries to take himself out of the tow and clear the line

I just back paddle

– Last Updated: May-28-08 2:53 PM EST –

until I'm at the bow of the assists boat and take off the binner---simple that way and don't have to worry about all the deck rigging and it makes for an easier tow attaching it to the bow rather than middle of the boat

No, but I would bet…
That I could tie a quick relaese knot "almost as fast as you could clip a biner & undo it twice as fast.

No predjudices, just simplicity…

Paddle easy,


hey coffee
all the tow harnesses that I’ve seen come equipped with the binner—I suppose if your more comfortable with a knot–maybe a bowline or figure 8 --you could just remove the binner or it you wanted to make your own, you wouldn’t need it–I find it handy but then I always attach my tows to the grabloop in the bow of the boat–if there is no grabloop then the deckline at the bow—I would think it would be more difficult to tow a boat with the line attached to the middle.