SAFE AND SOUND
SAFETY during a recovery – snatch or winch – is paramount, so it’s essential to have the correct gear and follow certain safety procedures during the process. This starts in your garage, by checking recovery points for any damage or loose fittings. Next, ensure your recovery kit (strap, shackles, gloves, etc.) is packed in your rig and all contents are serviceable.
When it’s time to initiate the recovery, ensure you can access the recovery point safely and easily. Check the wheels are on firm ground, and under no circumstances should you crawl under a vehicle bogged in soft mud. Move everyone out of the way of the area and ensure they stay to the side, as should anything break and fly off it will generally do so in the direction of the recovery.
When attaching the snatch strap or winch cable, connect it to your recovery point via a rated shackle and don’t overtighten the shackle. Instead, wind it right up and then back it off a quarterturn to avoid it seizing when under load and thus making it impossible to remove.
The most common shackles are metalrated shackles, but for those looking to eliminate the slight chance of a rated shackle breaking and sending dangerous pieces of flying metal through the air, you can opt to use a rated soft shackle.
The Roadsafe soft shackle is made from 10mm 12-strand synthetic rope (similar to synthetic winch rope), hence the ‘soft’ moniker, and is rated to a ‘rope splice’ breaking load of nine tonnes (similar rope tech is used in yachting, but with less loading involved). It includes a loop at one end and a large knot at the other, with ‘bracing’ sections of the shackle colour-coded to line up with your recovery point and snatch strap.
We asked Troy Schipper, 4WD Product Development Manager at Roadsafe, exactly how the soft shackle works. “The soft shackle utilises tension to set the knot,” he said. “Setting up the shackle requires the shackle to be positioned so the load is across the shackle and not directly on the knot. Once load is applied in a recovery situation, the tension applied to the loop at the base of the knot will hold its shape.”
Troy also reiterated the advice of Adam and Steve regarding maintenance and regularly inspecting the shackle (and the rest of your recovery gear) to ensure it’s all in working condition and set-up correctly during recovery.
Finally, once set-up, don’t forget to throw a damper (recovery blanket, for example) over the snatch strap/winch cable before recovery.
Communication between the two vehicles involved is the last essential step to a successful recovery, and it’s especially pertinent during a snatch recovery. The driver in the bogged vehicle needs to know when the snatch is about to take place so they can (if possible) accelerate to assist in the pull. Plus, an agreed stop point must be communicated between the vehicles to save additional load/strain on the vehicles and recovery components.