Emptying kayak

Looking for suggestions on how to empty my kayak after a wet exit when I’m in water too deep to stand in, and I’m by myself. Next step is to work on a roll.

A lot depends on the boat …
a bow lift will work on many kayaks with two sealed bulkheads. This will get most of the water out. The other option is a quick flip upright from the cockpit. A kayak with a rear bulkhead and front flotation bag should do well with a bow lift. Nothing will work well for a boat without bulkheads or flotation bags, other than swimming it to shore.

For a bow lift it sometimes helps to inflate a paddle float and place it on the paddle. Then put the paddle under one arm with the float behind you. Do a hard sissors kick while lifting the bow with your free hand and lean back on the paddle float for additional buoyancy support. Let the boat rotate upright while still out of the water. This is all done very quickly and takes some practice.



If you check out cowboy scramble instructions, there is often a step where you swim to the front of the boat and lift that to drain it. I have found this to be pretty effective, but may not work for all paddlers nor all boats. You can see an example of this in this video of Roger Schumann (an instructor out in California) doing the complete rescue in about 30 seconds - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wElZ4z14VWw.

The other option is to get back in first and then pump it out. This is what is usually taught when you learn the paddle float rescue.

If with others who have some training, a t-rescue is faster and the process drains the boat.

Capistrano Flip.

Up here, getting out of the water is the first priority, so we teach newer folks to self rescue first, and pump second.

However, when those basics are established it’s often much better to get the water out first. A bow lift works for many folks, and it’s much easier if your paddle float is inflated and stuck under your arm pit. If your preferred self-rescue doesn’t involve a paddle float, then just having your (unfeathered) paddle under your armpit will do a lot to help.

I’ve done the stern-push, and it’s definitely worth a try to see if it works better for you. My experience is that you need to be back on the last foot of the stern to get enough angle, and it’s hard to get purchase on that tiny part of the boat.