getting back in after falling out.

what’s the best way to get back into your kayak in deep water after falling/getting out? I’m a very novice kayaker and would like to take my kayak out in the lake and swim around. Problem is, how do I get back in?? I can see me getting out there and having to swim back towing my kayak behind me!

Look at this
Treat it like self-rescue. Use a paddle float.

intermediate paddlers
an intermediate paddler is someone who has taken the initiative, to ask and learn and acquire the knowledge to know what the dangers are and what are not and what to do about them.

You are making a good start. But go further. Solo travel is not for novices, as kayaks are NOT easy to get back into in deep water and in wind and waves. The usual, get a paddle float and it is easy stick, is NOT ACCURATE. Many kayaks have hight rear decks, small cockpits, inadequate rigging etc.

Learn the progression of solo recoveries, how to communicate with land in case of emergency, go with more advance folks, learn assisted recoveries. All this will get you to know what ways work for you solo!

Have fun and learn, it is a great sport.


Advice if usable
1) Mantra number 1, 2 thru 99 - as part of having the kayak you should/should have taken some time to learn how to get back into it. Falling out not on purpose happens.

2) The paddle float self-rescue is only real viable if you have a boat with deck rigging and a low enough deck you can pull yourself up onto it. (Which requires getting flat in the water and a few other things that are explained in the Guidelines section ofthis site, under Safety)

You don’t indicate what kind of boat you have,

Quite true

– Last Updated: Jun-24-06 7:24 PM EST –

getting back into a kayak in deep water takes knowledge, skill, balance, strength and...the right kayak as some boats simply can not be gotten back into in deep water.

Practice, practice, practice.

Easy Solution
Get a cheap sit-on-top for summer paddling. Want to swim, snorkel, dive … hop off, climb back on when done.

Look at

kayak paddle float rescue
thanks! that should help alot. I don’t do alot of kayaking, but do like to go when I’m camping at Games Lake. I guess I’ll have to get a paddle float and just practice!

PLEASE Go and Take A Lesson
Try to locate an ACA certified instructor in your area to schedule a self-rescue lesson. The instructors in my area teach both individuals or small groups. The $40.00 that I paid in a recent small group session was well worth the investment. In the event of a real emergency, I will now be back in my yak in minimal time. You will learn the most efficient way to get back into your personal yak but wil also learn how to assist in rescues of others. The few dollars that you will spend are a bargain when compared to losing your life or saving the life of someone else…

Agree with MikePaddle
Either get lessons from a certified instructor or join a kayaking club that has a good training program.



R & R
Wayne Horodowich of USK, ( ), in his DVD on capsize recoveries shows a video of his wife doing a successful reentry and roll with a paddle float - on her first try (and she doesn’t roll). I can say, from personal experience, that reentry, as Wayne teaches it, sure beats struggling onto the back deck. In addition, I agree wholeheartedly with the previous posts advising training.

Silly aside
That’s an older video. Bet she rolls by now? Anyway, I’ve seen the video and she had a lot more presence of mind down there than a lot of beginners would. Her hang time alone was pretty good.

OK laugh but it works
I carry a partialy inflated air matress on the back of my cape horn 15. If I hit the water…I blow it up the rest of the way, sit on it and have a semi stable plat form to work on.

Also, inflat a couple of air matresses in the cargo sections of the boat…if you flip …it makes the boat more boyant flipped…less water in the boat…and easier to flip back over.

Was thinking of maybe filling the cargo holds with ping pong balls like they did on Myth Busters…hmmmmm…need a couple 100 =)

If for some reason…
you cannot enter your kayak (because of maybe fatigue, there are some equipment you’ll need. carry a all-plastic safty whistle, to blow on in emerginces, a boat tow, for towing boats, and make sure to get flotation. I’m still looking for a front flatation bag.

Get some sponsons…

– Last Updated: Jun-26-06 9:54 PM EST –

there is really no other method that is as proven or as safe, in fact, I would go so far as to say things like "paddle floats" are overrated in a real emergency and could be a liability.

yeah,rolling is dangerous
I hear instructors are killing people teaching them to roll.

seriously Kwalsh

– Last Updated: Jun-26-06 9:56 PM EST –

what kind of kayak do you have? What's your general level of fitness? what is the temp of the water you are paddling in?

Paddle floats are for people who aren’t good enough to roll, the same way rudders are for people who aren’t capable enough to steer their boat on their own.

Have you tested this?
As I recall a few folks asked if you had tried doing a flip and re-entry using the air mattress, when you first floated this idea. Status of that?

Boat-Type important
I second (or third or fourth) the lesson idea.

  1. It teaches you the right way to do things.
  2. You find out many things are harder than they look.

    However, as others have indicated, the type of boat you have is an important factor. I’m fairly sure I could “eventually” get back into a regular touring boat using my paddle float. But, if my rec boat ever flipped, I figure I’d be lucky if if didn’t sink. If you’re intention is to deliberately wind up in the water and then get back in, a sit-on top is probably best.

Hadley is a good paddler
I don’t think she rolls, but that is probably by choice. She does know how to keep her boat upright in bumpy water.

I’ve paddled with both Wayne and Hadley and also just Wayne. Hadley has been paddling for many years, I just don’t think rolling was on her list of things to do.