During a capsize drill training session in a swimming pool, a throw line failure occurred when the line parted. The rowing club involved was testing and training its crews in throw bag line rescue.
Thankfully this incident occurred in a swimming pool and there were no injuries. However, a subsequent investigation by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) found the failure of a throw bag rescue line during an emergency rescue operation in fast flowing and deep waters could potentially result in a fatality.
The parted line was examined and found to be made up of four pieces of rope thermally fused together, and it had failed at one of the joints. The laboratory test established that the joints could withstand only a twelfth of the load sustainable by an intact section of the line.
There are hundreds of thousands of throw bag lines in use in the across the UK. Throw bag lines are used by water sports clubs and rescue services as part of their essential safety equipment. Despite this, there are no international or national regulations that govern the manufacturing of throw bag lines.
There are a dizzying array of options for buying throw bags online; a quick search will show that they are available for as little £2.99. The lack of regulation, standards or guidance around throw bag lines for consumers is a cause for concern.
In response to this incident, RoSPA has helped establish a British Standards working group to produce guidance for the manufacturing of throw bags. In addition, the working group will consider public and professional rescue equipment.
This is part of RoSPA’s contribution to the UK Drowning Prevention Strategy and follows the production of our national guidance, Managing Safety at Inland Waters, which helps managers set a framework.
The standards working group’s full agenda can be viewed and commented on here by Wednesday, March 6. Alternatively, feel free to contact me directly at [email protected]
David Walker, leisure safety manager
Posted: 2/22/2019 3:30:37 PM