What Rescue Gear Should I Carry?

At a basic level, I’d recommend that each leader have:

  • Whistle (worn on their person)
  • Knife (worn on their person / carried in a pocket).  You’ve basically got two choices: folding or straight blade.  I prefer the NRS Co-Pilot which mounts well on most PFD lash tabs.  If you’d rather go folding, it can be stored in a pocket.  I’d suggest folding knives be attached to the PFD with a tether so they don’t get lost when dropped while opening.
  • Throw rope.  I’d recommend 5/16″ diameter and spectra material.  The length of 50′ or 70′ will depend on the strength of the person throwing it.  I’ve found that people with weaker shoulders can through a 50′ rope, which is lighter, further and more accurately than a 70′ line.  I like these waist worn bags.
  • 2 Carabiners.  If you choose to go with a different brand / model, that’s OK but you’ll want the “keynose” style.  You’ll want to check with the manufacturer to make sure they don’t have any steel components / are suitable for water rescue.

If your team has some training in mechanical advantage, they’ll want to add:

  • 4 Carabiners. (This is 4 total so could include the two above.)  The same guidelines apply as above.
  • 3 Pulleys – no steel and be sure to check with the manufacturer that they are prussik minding and will work with your rope and prussik diameters
  • 2 Prussiks made of 5 or 6 mm accessory cord.  The cord needs to be fairly soft and.  There is some cord that is pretty stiff and has a problem working in a prussik hitch.  The diameter needs to be about 60%-70% of the diameter of your throw rope to work with a prussik hitch (5 or 6 mm will work with 5/16″ rope).
  • 1 piece or 20′ long tubular webbing

For the above list (advanced), I’d suggest two set ups per party, carried in different boats so if one boat gets pinned, there will be enough gear in the other to set up a Z Drag.