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Anchors on Shore

Tying onto trees, rocks, and other objects

In whitewater and swiftwater rescue, ropes are sometimes used to haul on pinned boats or for transportation systems. Strong anchors are important.


Introduction to anchors & load-sharing

Why tie a load-sharing (aka multi-point) anchor?

Often, shorelines will have large enough trees or rocks that we can rely on just one anchor. If there isn’t one strong object to tie onto, we can attach two or more objects together to share the load.

Equalizing anchors – built for movement

When unpinning kayaks, canoes, or rafts, anticipate the direction of pull changing as the boat comes off. ‘Basket’, ‘simple’, and ‘multi-wrap’ (e.g. wrap 3 pull 2) anchors maintain their strength as the load moves. If using multiple points, a ‘load-sharing self-equalizing anchor’ (see diagram below) will continue to distribute the load between the anchor points.

See the load sharing anchor diagrams below  to learn the difference between self equalizing /”self-protecting” versus fixed and focused.

Equipment: webbing or rope and locking carabiners

1″ nylon tubular webbing is often used for anchors around rivers because it is strong, abrasion resistant, and cheap: better to risk damaging a piece of webbing for an anchor around a sharp-edged rock than damage your nice rope. Low-stretch, strong rope can also be used.

A carabiner is much weaker with its gate open. Locking carabiners will not open accidentally and are therefore more secure for use in rope systems during rescues.

Learn how to tie the rescue knots used for these anchors.

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