Suspension Bondage Is Dangerous

We love suspension bondage and we’re excited to share it with you. We want to be very clear, however, about the risks involved.

1. Suspension bondage involves unavoidable risk. Like rock climbing, suspension is a risky activity. Good preparation and training can reduce your risk, but even if you do everything right there is still a chance that you may be injured or killed, or that you may injure or kill another person.

2. We don’t have all the answers. Unlike rock climbing, suspension bondage has no professional standards bodies and no expert consensus about best practices. This book is based on years of study, practice, and consultation with outside experts. Nonetheless, you should be aware that suspension is still a developing field, and our understanding of the best way to do things is still evolving.

3. You can’t learn suspension from a book. The only safe way to learn suspension is to work with a qualified instructor or mentor. This book is a valuable adjunct to expert instruction, but not a substitute for it. Without a skilled teacher to guide and evaluate you, you cannot learn suspension without placing your partner in tremendous danger.

4. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Suspension is fun and exciting, and you will likely be tempted to rush ahead and try activities that you aren’t yet ready for. We can’t stress enough the importance of proceeding slowly and methodically, and always working within your skill level.

5. Always use good judgment. Your best defense against mishap is your own common sense and good judgment. Always be mindful of what you’re doing, and err on the side of caution.

Your partner is placing tremendous faith in your competence and judgment. If you are careless or overly ambitious, they are likely to pay a heavy price for your foolishness. Make sure that you are worthy of their trust.

Suspended Animation accepts no responsibility for any injury or death which may occur as a result of the activities described in this book. By reading this book, you agree to take full responsibility for your actions and their consequences.


The Water Knot

ABOK 296

Although we don’t use webbing often, it can be useful for building top rigs. Most knots are unreliable when tied in webbing, so you should always use the water knot when connecting two lengths of webbing.

Although the water knot is very strong, it will tend to creep: every time the knot is loaded, the ends of the knot will pull through by a tiny amount. After hundreds of load / unload cycles, the knot will fail. Consequently, if you reuse a water knot you should carefully inspect it before every use.

Use this knot for:

  • Connecting two lengths of webbing.

Do not use this knot for:

  • Any material other than webbing.
  • Permanent installations where you can’t inspect the knot before each use.

Tying the water knot


Make a loose overhand knot near the end of the first line.


Starting from the opposite direction, lay the second line flat against the first line.


Thread the second line through the entire knot, making sure that it lies flat against the first line.


Carefully snug the knot, making sure that both lines remain flat against each other. When you’re done, you should end up with a compact knot that is almost triangular in shape.


Tie a half hitch in the tail of each line. The half hitches will reduce the amount of creep that occurs with each use, but cannot be relied upon to keep the knot from failing after numerous load / unload cycles.


Snug the knot again and inspect it carefully. All parts of the knot should be tight, and there must be at least 6 inches of tail in each line.

Remember: inspect a water knot before every use.