There are several reasons for towing when sea kayaking:

  • Getting a sick or injured paddler back to shore.
  • Assisting a paddler who is in trouble on the water by towing them away from danger.
  • When a paddler has lost or broken their paddle.
  • Assisting a slower paddler, especially if the group is under time pressure e.g. from impending darkness or a storm.

In an emergency situation the best towing method is the one that gets the paddler away from the source of danger quickly.

About Towing  Single line tow  Assisted tow  'V' Tow   Safety Common Mistakes

The 'V' tow is another tow regularly used on Club paddles.

 'V' tow

A 'V' tow is similar to a straight-line tow, but two paddlers tow, creating a 'V' formation in the tow-lines.  The load is shared by two paddlers, making the towing less tiring.

  • For maximum efficiency the two kayakers doing the towing should stay side-by-side no more than 3 metres apart.
  • If one kayaker gets ahead, the other has the drag of a slack tow line and the dual effort is wasted.
  • As with any tow, monitor the condition of the person being towed. 
  • The persons towing must communicate between themselves as well.
  • We need standard length tow lines for the 'V' tow to be effective. 
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