Long throwing lines are the secret to life saving success on the water

Marine Equipment Products and Services, Safety and Security — By on June 25, 2014 at 7:19 PM

Throwing BellJohn Rinfret, inventor of the Balcan Emergency Lifeline (BELL), is urging water rescue teams to make sure their members always have the most effective lifesaving equipment to hand, after recent warm weather led to even more tragedies on Britain’s waterways.

Every organisation involved in water safety should be checking their working practices now, wrote John in an open letter sent to the heads of all major UK emergency services this week.

The need for them to test their readiness and the effectiveness of the equipment they have available to use is paramount, he added, particularly during the busiest time of the year for water rescues.

Ensuring they have the best equipment close at hand, he concludes, such as the BELL throwing line, needs to be a major consideration.

“When it comes to water rescues, a drowning victim’s life depends on proven rescue equipment being deployed quickly, accurately and, critically, far enough, ” said John.

“That’s why it is so important that teams take the time to make sure they are properly prepared and equipped to respond instantly in the event of a real emergency, whatever the situation.

“When I launched the BELL in 1973, it was the world’s first correctly designed throw line. It was quickly recognised as a vast improvement on traditional life saving equipment, because of the ease with which it could be thrown up to its full length of 40 metres.

“It has been adopted by numerous water rescue teams, and has made the difference between life or death in a number of remarkable rescues – most at distances in excess of the 20-metre limit of other throw lines or throwbags.

“It was also trialled with other types of lines on behalf of the Royal Navy in 2000, who found BELLs to be accurate up to their full length and easy to use – subsequently allocating them Nato Stock Numbers (NSNs) so they could be used throughout the Armed Forces.

“Because of its shape, approximately the size of bottle of beer, the BELL’s can be easily thrown by anyone, while its high-strength, buoyant polypropylene line is regularly vetted independently by Bureau Veritas on behalf of the Marine Coastguard Agency. Both ensure each one maintains its quality during manufacture.

“Forty years after I entered the industry, great strides have been taken in educating the public about the dangers of water and the provision of lifesaving equipment has never been better. Sadly, however, people are still drowning on our rivers and waterways due to misadventure or unsuitable or non-existent lifesaving equipment being in the vicinity.

“Any responders who lack the right equipment may fail to save future victims – an outcome which can have a significant impact on the would be rescuer too.

“One life lost due to drowning is one life too many – that’s why organisations must equip themselves now with the best tools for the job.”


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