Face-up paddle float self rescue, wow.

not flat-water question
With a mostly empty boat (i.e. not packed for a trip), I can lift the bow, empty the water out, and then flip the boat before any comes in.

You have better results than I do with the reenter and roll. When I do it, it always comes with a healthy serving of water scooped up.

I haven’t tried the face-up paddle float rescue yet, but look forward to trying it out.

Then what?
I can flip and empty mine too - but from there your odds of shipping water into an open/empty cockpit are very high in even small wind waves/chop. So for me, it still reads as a flat, or at least very mild water question.

The only “real” P-Float rescue I did in waves required a bit of patience and timing to work with the waves (maybe a 2-4’/15 knot onshore day so nothing remarkable). Flipped/drained OK, but it was impossible to prevent water from washing in until back in with skirt sealed. Even just having the skirt partly open to pump out it was hard to make progress against new water coming in and I ended up leaving more than I wanted to until moving elsewhere to finish pumping out (adding to risk of another dump). This was a no-stress warm water situation (15 miles into my 3rd ever paddle in a sea kayak - solo) but even with no real risk of harm - and everything working OK - it was still educational and a great motivation to learn more practical techniques (which I really need to practice a lot more in a wider range of conditions).

I still carry a float, as they have several uses and take no space, but using it for a p-float rescue (ant style) is now several rungs down the ladder of options.

Why yes, I think he did!! :slight_smile:

Then that was
me who was floundering about =8O. I was trying to do it without using the deck rigging. I did get both feet into the cockpit, but when I got my weight up to get in, then both me and the boat rolled over slowly on the paddlefloat side. Had to have been as funny to watch as it was to do. Oh well, back to the drawin’ board!

I don’t even carry one any more. If dumped, I roll. If I wet exit, I reenter and roll. In one kayak, I have a foot pump, and in one an electric pump, so I can paddle and pump at the same time. If I need to use a hand pump, I just paddle the boat with whatever water it’s got in it out of the surf zone and pump it out. On occassion, I’ll paddle into shore to empty the boat and stretch. Other times, depending on the conditions, I’ll be a grateful rescuee in a T rescue. With a very LV kayak, any rescue will slop water into the cockpit, so even the T rescue won’t yeild a dry boat. IMO, the PF rescue is way more strenuous, way less reliable and no dryer in conditions than an assisted recovery or rolling. Seems like it is mostly of use for paddlers who don’t have a roll.

agree with everything you say
still, I look forward to trying it out … seeing if it’s any quicker (which presumably would mean less water) than a back-deck PF rescue. In reply to jsmarch’s post: I only dream of having an electric pump! but would still carry a PF. As greyak said, it takes up no room, and (my thought now) who knows when you might need it? The scenario I always envision is what you would do if you blew a shoulder while paddling alone. Still giving it thought …

blown shoulder
ouch, can’t imagine a paddle float, but could do a shotgun roll. have to try the reentry and roll as shotgun both sides–thanks. once up, time for the vhf call for help.

too funny!

I do a sort of side saddle variation
Kind of like a belly flop across cockpit and what ever works from there - usually managing to tun over and drop hip in, then get legs in.

On calm water just a paddle without float offers enough stabilizing to manage this (and it only works with a large enough keyhole cockpit [or SOT as it’s a lot like a scramble recovery]. With my OC SOF no matter what entry/recovery I do, I have to go in feet first and facing up/forward relative to the kayak).

Which version/variation/modification is best depends on both the person, kayak/outfitting, and situation. Best to try different stuff.

I can’t remember the last time I inflated a float though (except to check one) - and so am more like jsmarch regarding their actual use/value for myself - but who knows who or what I may come across it might be useful for…

shotgun/armpit or angel…
… and if a reentry is needed first being one armed also complicates the otherwise simple things like keeping hold on boat and paddle while getting in, re-affixing a skirt once up, staying up while trying to make VHF call…

A float outrigger (assuming you could rig it - which is likely easier to do one handed while in water) might make life easier while making that VHF call and waiting for help …

Could present some tough choices/trade-offs. The more options the better.

to be truthful

– Last Updated: Oct-04-07 8:36 AM EST –

have been in this situation (fracture dislocation of shoulder) as a rescuer in very difficult conditions. there was no way to get my friend back in his boat and even if we got him there, he'd have come out again. really, the only thing that made sense was to call for help. we got rescued by a fishing vessel with coast guard on the way, and immense thanks to them for that. conditions were awful. my friend's boat went its own way--he was holding on to my stern. if i was alone, i'd hook a foot in the boat, and set about calling for help, setting off flares (very hard to do with one hand) and so on. if i got knocked around in surf, might end up losing the kayak holding on with only one arm. not a good situation. the one thing about which i am pretty certain is that the paddle float would be the last thing on my mind at that moment.

Stirrup with paddle float?
Wouldn’t adding a stirrup help someone with a shoulder injury when doing a paddlefloat re-entry? It seems to me that the leg does all he “heavy lifting” with a stirrup.


I don’t do much "lifting"
More swimming over/pushing kayak under me than lifting/climbing up on it. Easier on body and gear (and just plain easier).

Not a fan of stirrups in general, as the tend to encourage bad technique (more up than over - and mostly and issue for those who don’t normally do it without one), can make some who can’t recover otherwise feel they are “good to go” safety wise, introduce complication and entanglement risks, and can increase risk of paddle or coaming damage…

In more dire circumstances like an injury though - whatever works.

Good stuff. NM

Worked well for me
Did the face up PF rescue today and it worked well for me. The only problem I had was the back of my PFD getting a little hung up on the paddle shaft. Anyone else experience that?

You could try a “scoop” rescue
and then use an assisted tow,if you had someone else to help you. Otherwise, use the scoop to get him out of the water and then just hold him upright and call for help on your radio.

Not the easiest thing to do, but it can work - especially if you have practiced it.

Small world!! :slight_smile:
Hey, you looked good!!

Try R&R from underneath
The R&R I learned has the paddler enter from underneath the inverted kayak, then do a reverse somersault to sit in it (still upside-down). Not too much water gets in that way.

Worth trying.