yes they use them to get back to the cat if they fall out. I am starting to think maybe just maybe the risk of entanglement outweighs the benefits of getting back to your boat and therefore a simple chicken line that doesn't drag out into the water would be better. I mean imagine if some rafters were tailing out a 10ft strap people would be all over them for a safety hazard.
so my thoughts can be summarized as A. learn to not fall out of your cat. B. swim back to your cat without tethers. C. swim to shore if you can't do A or B.
Yeah someone from Idaho will come on here and say blah blah blah we know it all but I say think twice and don't always listen to idaho.