Whitewater Rescue Kits - Un-Pin and Z-Drag Kits


Throw Bag
Bungee Tow
Quick Release Belts and Rescue PFDs
Un-Pin Rescue Kit
Z-Drag Rescue Kit

All participants (or Guides on a guided activity) should have rescue gear - each person should have as a minimum a Throw Bag and be trained in its use. Each person should also have a knife on their PFD, in case of entanglements or as a last resort to deflate an inflatable..

Throw Bag

A Throw Bag is the basis of all whitewater rescue kits. It can be used for rescuing swimmers and as part of a kit for un-pinning a kayak or canoe. Ideally it will have around 20m of highly visible rope.

Participants in any whitewater or moving water activity should be briefed on what to do if they capsize and how to respond to a thrown bag in the event they require rescuing.  

  Throw Bag

Throw Bag


Bungee Tow / Cow Tail

A Bungee Tow is attached to the PFD of the person performing the tow, via a quick release waist belt on a Guide / Leader PFD. This forms a short tow between the rescuer and the kayak or canoe that has to be retrieved following a capsize and wet exit.

A quick-release system is required in case the rescuer runs into difficulties and has to release the boat.

  Bungee Tow

Bungee Tow


Quick Release Belts and Rescue PFDs

A quick-release system is required in case the rescuer has to release the boat they have retrieved. By pulling the easy-to-find ball attached to the belt clip, the clip is released and the belt slides open, separating the rescuer from the towed craft.

If all else fails a safety knife is the ultimate quick-release system.

These belts distinguish a Rescue PFD from the Type 2 / Level 50 PFDs commonly used for sea kayaking / Recreational Kayaking. Some Rescue PFDs are also sold with a Bungee Tow. 

 
  Kokatat Guide PFD

Kokatat Guide PFD

  Sea To Summit Leader PFD

Sea To Summit Leader PFD

 

Un-Pin Rescue Kit

This kit allows you to set up a basic 3:1 Z-Drag System.

All components of the kit should fit on or inside your PFD - it is much better to have your rescue gear on you than realise it is in the pinned kayak.

1x Bax Gear Throw Bag with 20m rope and waist belt
1x 20' (6m) sling of 2.5cm tubular webbing - red
2x Prussik Loops made from 8' (2.5m) sections of 5mm cord
2x Omega standard D carabiners
2x Omega locking D carabiners
2x SMC CRx 1" Pulley
1x Z-Drag crib sheet (water-resistant paper)
1x Fox 40 whistle

  Un-Pin Kit. Add a throw bag to complete your kit.

Un-Pin Kit. Add a throw bag to complete your kit.

For more complex rescues or rescues of larger craft such as full-sized rafts, a more comprehensive kit is needed.


Z-Drag Rescue Kit

This Z-Drag rescue kit contains a wider range of rescue gear rated to take greater weight, such as would be required for large craft, whitewater rafts.

3x 20' (6m) sling of 2.5cm tubular webbing - yellow
2x Prussik Loops made from 8' (2.5m) sections of 5mm cord
3x Omega locking D carabiners
2x SMC 2" Swiftwater Pulley
1x Z-Drag crib sheet (water-resistant paper)
1x Duffel Bag (44L) with mesh top to store the rope in your raft
Add to this your own rope: 45-50m static 9mm rope that has approx. 4,000kg strength


While the un-pinning is under way:

All members of the trip should keep their PFDs and helmets on whilst the un-pinning is occurring. Not only will this keep you warmer, but in the event of a rope under load breaking, you are better protected.

Undertake Training!

Neither this page nor the guidelines in the Z-Drag Crib Sheet are intended as replacement for formal swiftwater instruction with a qualified Instructor.