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Extraction Line
Rod Coogan

I’m doubtful you will find this piece of kit in any kayak shop but it has proved its worth time and time again. An Extraction Line is a 5m length of 4mm Spectra cord that is lightning fast to deploy, particularly when compared to the normal 15m tow rope. It is a very versatile piece of gear that can be used either ‘daisy chained’ (about 1.2m length) or unravelled (5.00m length). Used unravelled the line has a breaking strain of near 1 tonne.

I carry mine comfortably clipped around my waist. It can be easily carried in your PFD or other location provided you can access it quickly for immediate deployment.

Core Purpose:

  • To quickly extract a kayak from potential danger, loaded or not.

It is significantly faster than deploying a 15m tow line or part length thereof.

Secondary Purposes:

  • To clip 2 or 3 boats together for a hands free morning tea or lunch on the water.
  • Sling rescue, fitted around the coaming to assist exhausted/ injured paddler to re-enter.
  • Clothes line or similar when kayak camping.
  • Anchor line securing your boat or multiple boats to a jetty or similar.
  • Pull a kayak through shallow waters eg: Monkey Mia.
  • As a contact line connecting you to your boat in case of a wet exit in rough conditions.
  • Pulling your kayak further up the beach, loaded or not. Saves bending down and pulling which reduces the chances of back injury.
  • As an emergency tie-down to a roof rack or similar.
  • Can’t find your dog lead - here’s a solution.

The Ingredients:

  • Spectra cord 5.5m by 4mm. A half metre is used for a knot and loop at each end.
  • A high quality karabiner (krab) equal to the breaking strain of the Spectra cord. The krab should have a no notch gate. Notches tend to grab whatever cord is being detached from the karabiner.

The Recipe:

  1. Tie a minimum 10mm loop at one end of the cord using a figure of eight knot.
  2. Attach the krab to the opposite end. Best use a tight knot and cinch it in using a cable tie. This will lock the knot and prevent it from sliding on the krab.
  3. Now ‘daisy chain’ the cord starting from the 10mm end loop. Proceed until there is one ’daisy loop’ remaining and pass that loop over the krab gate. That creates a locking loop which stops the ‘daisy chain’ from unravelling.

The Method: (Deployment)

  1. Krab the 10mm loop end to your PFD, Cow Tail or Tow Belt.
  2. Release the locking loop and clip the krab to the boat being rescued.
  3. Start paddling away, tension on the line will cause the ‘daisy chain’ to unravel.
  4. Finished- simply gather or splay the extraction line, stuff it inside the front of your PFD or other method you prefer. If time allows, it only takes 2.5 minutes to ‘daisy chain’ the line.


Extraction line showing locking loop

Extraction line complete

No notch karabiner

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