When I became a raft guide in the late 90’s the way in which we were shown to right a raft posed significant danger. It basically meant utilising the drain holes in the raft by sticking your finger through and using your knees to flip the raft. Get it wrong and you would be seriously hurt. So I am thankful that using a flip line to right a raft is now the default technique being taught and is used by the vast majority of guides.
We are now starting to see these types of lines carried by kayakers and canoeists. I would highly recommend that all paddlers have one of these and spend some time learning how to use it effectively and safely.
Before companies like Palm Equipment, Peak UK, and Whetman Equipment produced tape based rescue lines the only option was to make your own. In the DIY/MYOG versions climbing tape would be used. The length of the climbing tape depends upon personal preference but would usually be 3 to 5 metres long. To create a loop for the carabiner a small loop needed to be tied in the end of the tape. That loop needs to be pretty small so the carabiner stays put in the loop and doesn’t spin around.
Systems like the ones from the manufacturers shown above create a loop in the tape by stitching the tape together. This makes a much lower profile tape for both wearing and storing compared to a knot. It is also much stronger.
For a raft guide the tape would be used to right a raft by clipping the carabiner to the side of the raft whilst standing on top. The guide would then lean away from the attachment point with the aim of keeping the line nice and tight. The guide’s body weight is then used to right the raft.
The great thing about gear like this is the fact it has multiple uses. For kayakers and canoeist it can be used for setting up a tow, Z Drags, Pig Rigs, short reach rescues, anchor points and even to tie down boat to a rack in an emergency.
I personally carry my tape in coiled up in my PFD front pocket but some guides wear their tapes around their waist. You do need to ensure that the tape does not create a snag hazard. Kayakers a can tuck their tape in between their skirt tunnel and cag outer waist. This keeps the tape out of the way but easily at hand.