Kayaking is a thrilling and exciting outdoor activity that allows you to explore the natural beauty of waterways while getting a good workout. However, even the most experienced kayakers can find themselves unexpectedly flipped over and struggling to get back on their kayak in deep water.
This can be a terrifying and dangerous situation, especially if you’re far from shore or the water conditions are rough. Knowing how to get back on a sit-on kayak in deep water is an essential skill that every kayaker should have in their arsenal.
In this guide, we’ll take you through step-by-step instructions on how to safely and effectively re-enter your kayak from deep water. So grab your paddle, put on your life jacket, and let’s dive in!
Step 1. Assess the Situation
Before attempting to get back on your sit-on kayak in deep water, it’s crucial to assess the situation and ensure that it’s safe to do so. Here are some factors to consider:
- Water Conditions: Take a close look at the water around you and evaluate the conditions. Are there strong currents or waves that could make it difficult to get back on your kayak? If the water is too rough, it may be safer to wait until conditions improve or seek help from other kayakers or rescue services.
- Distance from Shore: How far away from the shore are you? If you’re too far from shore and don’t have the stamina to swim to safety, getting back on your kayak should be a priority. However, if you’re close to shore, it may be safer to swim to land and retrieve your kayak later.
- Equipment: Do you have any necessary equipment within reach, such as a paddle float, pump, or rescue rope? Having these tools on hand can make it easier to get back on your kayak in deep water.
- Personal Ability: Be honest with yourself about your own abilities. If you’re a beginner or aren’t confident in your swimming or kayaking skills, it may be safer to wait for help or attempt to swim to shore.
Remember, safety should always come first. If you’re unsure about the safety of attempting to get back on your kayak in deep water, it’s better to wait or seek assistance. By assessing the situation carefully, you can make an informed decision about whether or not to attempt to get back on your kayak in deep water.
Step 2. Prepare Yourself
Before attempting to re-enter your sit-on kayak in deep water, it’s important to make sure you’re physically and mentally prepared. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Wear a Life Jacket: Always wear a properly fitting life jacket while kayaking. It can keep you afloat and increase your chances of survival in case of an emergency.
- Take a Deep Breath: Take a deep breath and try to stay calm. Panic can make it harder to think clearly and can make the situation more dangerous.
- Position Your Kayak: Position your kayak parallel to the shore to make it easier to climb back on. If you’re in rough water, turn your kayak perpendicular to the waves to make it more stable.
- Remove Any Excess Gear: If you have any gear or items on your kayak, remove them to make it easier to climb back on. Place them in your storage compartments or attach them to the kayak with a secure line.
- Get into Position: Swim to the back of your kayak and hold onto the rear handle or the sides of the kayak. Kick your legs to keep yourself afloat and pull yourself up until your chest is resting on the kayak.
Remember to stay calm and focused, and take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety.
Step 3. Flip the Kayak Over
Once you’re prepared, it’s time to flip your sit-on kayak over so that it’s right side up. Here’s how to do it:
- Release Any Trapped Air: If your kayak has air trapped inside, release it by pressing down on the hatch covers or other openings.
- Grab the Kayak’s Center: Swim to the center of the kayak and grab the side closest to you with both hands.
- Use Your Legs: Use your legs to kick upward and flip the kayak over onto its back. This may take some effort, so be patient and keep kicking until the kayak flips over.
- Climb onto the Kayak: Once the kayak is flipped over, swim to the back of the kayak and hold onto the handle or the sides. Pull yourself up and onto the kayak, using your legs to help lift your body up and over the back of the kayak.
- Re-position Yourself: Once you’re on the kayak, re-position yourself into a sitting position. If you have a paddle, place it across the kayak behind the seat.
Step 4. Position Yourself
Once you’ve successfully flipped your sit-on kayak over and climbed back onto it, it’s time to re-position yourself for a safe and comfortable ride. Here are some tips to help you do it:
- Sit in the Center: Position yourself in the center of the kayak to distribute your weight evenly and maintain balance. This will make it easier to paddle and steer.
- Bend Your Knees: Bend your knees slightly to lower your center of gravity and improve your stability. Keep your feet flat on the kayak’s footrests or the bottom of the kayak.
- Hold the Paddle: Hold your paddle with both hands, placing your hands shoulder-width apart. Make sure the concave part of the blade is facing forward.
- Take a Few Deep Breaths: Take a few deep breaths to relax and refocus. This will help you regain your composure after the stressful experience of falling off your kayak.
- Check Your Surroundings: Before paddling away, take a moment to check your surroundings. Look for other kayakers, boats, or obstacles that may be in your path.
Remember to keep your weight balanced, bend your knees, hold your paddle correctly, and be aware of your surroundings. With practice, you’ll become a pro at re-entering your kayak and enjoying the beauty of the outdoors.
Step 5: Re-enter the Kayak
Now that you’re properly positioned, it’s time to re-enter the kayak and continue paddling. Here’s how to do it:
- Position the Kayak
Make sure the kayak is positioned parallel to the shore or in the direction you want to go. This will make it easier to get back in.
- Move to the Back
Swim to the back of the kayak and hold onto the handle or the sides. Make sure your weight is balanced and your body is centered.
- Lift Yourself Up
Use your arms and legs to lift your body up and over the back of the kayak. Try to keep your weight centered and your movements smooth to avoid tipping the kayak.
- Get Your Legs In
Once your upper body is on the kayak, swing your legs over and into the cockpit. Keep your weight centered and use your legs to stabilize yourself as you slide into the seat.
- Sit Up
Sit up straight and adjust your feet on the footrests or the bottom of the kayak. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed and your body is centered.
- Check Your Balance
Take a moment to check your balance and adjust as necessary. Use your paddle to help you maintain stability by placing it across the kayak behind the seat.
- Continue Paddling
With your weight balanced and your body centered, you’re ready to continue paddling and enjoying the outdoors.
Related: How To Get Into A Sit-On-Top Kayak From A Dock
So there you have it: To get back on a sit-on kayak in deep water, assess the situation, prepare yourself, flip the kayak over, position yourself next to the kayak, and re-enter the kayak from the side. Make sure to keep your body close to the kayak and use your legs to kick yourself up onto the kayak.
In addition to safety, it’s important to have fun and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Kayaking is a great way to explore new places, get exercise, and connect with nature.
So, grab your paddle, put on your PFD, and head out to the water. Happy paddling!