DIY Short tow advice

  • This topic has 9 replies, 7 voices, and was last updated 3 years ago by Vincent Law.
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  • #19319
    Quirine Schuyff

    I’d like to add a short tow option to my rescue tow line.  Do I simply need to put a loop and a carabiner halfway or less of my existing rope? Or just a loop? It would be nice to not have two carabiners in there.
    oddly I couldn’t really find much when searching for information. Perhaps there is a reason for that!?

    Maybe I need a separate system?



Viewing 9 replies - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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  • #19477
    Vincent Law

    Hi Clark,

    Sorry i wasn’t monitoring this and just noticed your request. Here is the proper link:

    Quirine Schuyff

    Thank you John. I think at some point I will rig up a contact tow line as I think it is a good idea. But, as you said I was looking for something I could put into my existing (VERY long) tow belt.

    John Drent

    Hi Quinine,

    There are short tow lines, and really short tow lines. I keep a 6ft really short line on my deck. One end of this gets attached to my kayak, and the other to the towed kayak. There are a few configurations for this and Mike has referred to one of them. This can be used to help keep the boats together in a close contact tow or as a very short non contact tow.

    I also have 4 ft pigtail of which one end is attached to my quick release belt. This can be used to help out in a close contact or non contact tow, or to attache to a longer tow line.

    Then I have a small 25 ft “throw bag”  style that is small enough to strap onto my PFD. That is usually all the length I need.

    But to meet the regulation, and just in case a longer rope is needed, I also keep a 50 ft line under decks in a throw bag. The first 25 ft gets attached to the towed boat, and then a second carabiner is tied into the rope at the 25ft point and used to attache to my towing pigtail ( or kayak). The rest of the 50  ft line is tied in a “daisy chain” so it is only about 4 ft long. It can quickly be played out when a longer line is needed. If you are only using one line, this is the way to go as it meets the regulations. ( It can be either in a throw bag or a tow belt).

    But you really should also have some kind of really short tow rope in the case of a contact tow where the I.P. ( Injured, Incapacitated or Indolent Paddler) is not able to keep the boats held close together.




    Quirine Schuyff

    Thank you everyone for the thoughts.
    I think I like Maureen’s idea for now to minimize the need for another piece of gear. I thought there might be a way to use one carabiner that could be slotted into different loops but I don’t think that’s possible.

    Clark Perry-Bater

    Hi Vincent, I don’t know about anybody else, but when I click on the link you posted for the towing video, it takes me to one of my email addresses, not your video. I suspect it’s because the link starts with I imagine it came from your email.  Can you fix it? Thanks, Clark Perry-Bater

    Maureen Benzon

    Hi Quirine,

    If you already have a quick release belt, there is no need to buy a new one. I have the North system which has a loop on both sides of the belt. At the end of the long line I have a carabiner (Large for ease of use, and unable to come off the line) This end will always be attached to the towed boat. About 15′ up (just long enough to comfortably clear your boat) I have a trucker’s hitch with another carabiner through the loop and attached to my belt on the other side. If I want a long tow it is a simple matter to release the carabiner, pull out the hitch and extend my rope to the full length. Belts sold in Canada have an extra long rope to meet with coast guard requirements and it is a bit longer than is comfortable. If you carry a throw rope as well, you can shorten your tow rope, but experiment before you cut! I don’t remember specs off hand I could can go and measure, or better still let’s get out and have a practice.


    Vincent Law
    Mike Gilbert

    Hi Quirine.  I use a a separate system I invented and has been patented.   Let me know if you are interested.  Currently in stock and sell for $35.00.  Mike

    Peter Kearney

    Hi Quinine,

    Lots of different takes on this subject. I like a pigtail with a big beener on one end and a quick release belt on the other with floatation somewhere.

    Cheers, Peter

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