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Throwing a Lifeline

It is often much more use to be able to throw a rope within the reach of a drowning person than to jump in after him and make two to be pulled out.

A good length for a throwing or heaving line is 7 fathoms (42 feet). If you are making up a special throwing line, it should be of nice pliable braided or stranded rope about | in. in diameter. For long throws it's usually the practice to make a heavy knot in the throwing end.

Now decide which hand is going to do the throwing. Most people naturally use their right. On that hand coil up your throwing line very carefully, clockwise, making the coils, say, 18 ins. from top to bottom. When about half is coiled on, turn up a finger to separate those coils and coil the rest on to the remaining ringers of your hand.

When you come to the end of the rope, hold it firmly in your left hand with the last three fingers, or, better, have a loop in the end that will fit down over your wrist so you don't lose the end in throwing. Then pass back the second set of coils from your right to the first two fingers of your left hand. Now you have a coil in each hand.

The right-hand coil is the one you throw first, and you follow it instantly with the left coil, not letting go of the end. Thrown out like this, the line won't tangle up, and it's possible to throw the whole line out straight, so that it will reach the farthest. Sending it out in one coil nearly always results in the coil not opening properly, and a short reach in consequence.

Throwing can be underhand or overhand. The latter is better exercise and almost essential if the line has to be thrown from behind an obstruction, such as a bulwark or wall, or has to be thrown to people in an upper storey in case of fire.


Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell (Chief Scout, London, UK)

Date of Creation


Learn A Continuation:

to the next page: Rescue from Runaway Horses

Back in The Past:

to the previous page: Rescue from Drowning

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