Can a skirt freeze on?

It must be possible in some really extreme temperatures, but has that happened to anyone here?

had them freee over with ice, but can/have always been able to pull them off. the ice is thin enough to break and the skirt stretches some so they come off…zippers on worn appearal is a differant story.

I’ve had to sit in a car with the heater running full blast for some time in order to change …

Best Wishes


oh yes

– Last Updated: Jan-05-10 2:43 PM EST –

And pogies on your hands
And zippers on your pfd
And water lines in your hydration pack
And your paddling hat on your head
And your watch, funny that - frozen time
And water spray on your glasses
And your snot under your nose

WW, not me,

not exactly
paddled a crossing in 35degree air with 15-20mph wind. Ice was forming over pfd and deck. When I paddled through 4" of slush to shore I pulled off the front of the skirt and the back came off with slush/ice on the back that made it stiff. One problem was leaving any wet clothing out that might be needed to be worn later. I left the fuzzy rubber hood I was wearing on a table and in 30 min it was a flat hard pancake. Couldn’t put it back on until I’d put it under my pfd to warm up.

Having systems/backup for keeping hands warm is critical.

Not quite…

– Last Updated: Jan-05-10 4:33 PM EST –

I've had a good bit of ice build-up but have always managed to be able to pull my skirt. Though it has seemed iffy a couple of times...

icing up
When it gets real cold, like the 5F we paddled in on New Years Day, it is very difficult to remove spray skirts iced on with thick hard ice.

Sort of
I’ve had the skirt get a fairly serious amount of ice formed over it and the deck at the front of the cockpit, and the release handle frozen in place from spray and deckwash freezing over in very cold air temps (like 15F) in fresh water. That did provide a bit of a scare when I got to shore and realized what had happened. It took a couple minutes of chipping away at the thing with my paddle to get loose. I was thankful I hadn’t gotten rolled and got into a situation where I needed to wet exit. I’m not sure what the consequences would have been, although I suspect adrenalin would have gotten the damn thing off one way or another!

But superglue works better.

I cut a slit in rubber tubing and slide
it over the nylon of the grab handle and tape it on. This usually results in the handle being cocked somewhat off the deck which keeps the grab handle more available. One pounding with your fist and it is free. My skirt will ice up pretty good, but never enough to keep it from being pulled. The heat from inside the cockpit probably does not allow the rand to freeze to the coaming (at least mine never has). For safety purposes I break ice every so often to keep my grab loop free and my storm paddle accessable. I also try to keep the added weight of the ice off of my deck as it raises the center of gravity. Bill

Never worried about my skirt
But I’ve had tow ropes freeze up. Usually I paddle with a PFD tow, and a deck tow. But when the PFD tow is frozen solid and won’t deploy and the day hatch is frozen shut, not allowing access to my deck tow, that sucks. Wish I had a heated tow belt so I wouldn’t have to roll before deploying.

Was out paddling the other day, thermometer said 10 below. Most my gear is still frozen to my truck bed.

Have had 'em freeze hard enough…
to be unable to get it back on after taking an hour or so break on shore to warm up. Had to start a fire to thaw it out enough to re-use it for the paddle home. My biggest freeze issue was having my skeg slider slot fill w/H2o and ice over enough that the skeg became unusable, my bud and I both tired peeing on it… but there just wasn’t enough pee between us to accomplish the job!

When I was a teen ager,I thought
they were frozen on.Sorry.

kind of.
salt water freezes at about -2 C 28 F

fresh at 0 C 32 f.

the air around that water will be close to that normally but you can get freezing spray.

skirts with a serious rubber rand type hem can get cold and become near impossible to get off.

There are not many places in north america that people can or will paddle in these conditions.

pumps freeze, paddle floates won’t inflate, tow ropes will not deploy and a throw line becomes a brick.

there is a time where we just go to a pool.


Yes, especially the grab loop
I have not done too many sub-freezing paddles in rough conditions where you would get enough water up over the skirt to matter, but from what I’ve done, the loop handle would freeze to the deck/side of the skirt unless periodically I broke the ice off it. The paddle loom would also freeze over with ice making it slippery, so I had to periodically bang it against the coaming over my skirt (which also helped break the ice forming on the sides of the skirt at the coaming.

The air temps was 31-32F and the water was around that as well with only a thin ice sheet at the put-in and no ice in the open fresh water of the river. There were strong winds and 2 foot steep wind waves (to get 2 feet in that area the winds need to be very strong) so I had a ton of spray on me. I imagine in calm conditions there would be much less of an icing problem…

And the reason anyone contemplates…
kayaking when a spray skirt could possibly freeze is?

I guess I am spoiled. As I mentioned to someone the other day, we have 48 weekends of good weather per year to paddle, why bother if it is cold this weekend.

And if a skirt could freeze, then it is cold.

Bill G.

Mt. Pleasant, SC

I’m missing something here
If it’s cold enough to freeze the water on deck, wouldn’t it freeze on the surface of river/lake/bay just the same?

How can you launch and paddle around?

Current keeps water open when conditions
are cold enough to freeze water. Last winter in a faster moving stream we iced up pretty fast. Just don’t let it build up too much. The St. Clair River by Marine City, Michigan usually stays open because of the current and the warm water discharge from nearby power plants. It is a great release when everything else is frozen up and cabin fever sets in.

Winter is my favorite time to paddle. Very, Very peaceful. The water is all yours. Yours and the ducks.


winter is my favorate season…
TO SKI! :smiley:

I’m never going to paddle in winter. Too busy skiing. But it was just curiosity that I couldn’t figure out why freezing on the deck was such a problem. I know that’s an issue on ocean going commercial ships. But they can plow through ice with their steel hull. Don’t you worry about not able to return to your launch if it freezes up? :wink: