kayak rescue quesion

Ok, question. I was out on a flat river yesterday working on my braces. Messed one up and flipped over. Couldn’t get the roll right so I pulled the skirt and got out. Once out we pushed the kayak up on the other kayak and got the water out. Question is… If there wasn’t another kayak to next to me to use to help get the water out, what else do you do? Other that using a pump? And or pushing to shore? I know a lot of this stuff will be answered when I take the kayak class this winter, but just thinking?

Any thoughts.


a deep breath for buoyancy
A deep breath to add buoyancy to your chest just before lifting the bow quickly over your head and flipping the kayak back upright. You will be pushed under, but you should be able to manage to get a lot of the water out in the process.

pump and re-enter or re-enter and pump

– Last Updated: Jun-07-12 2:38 PM EST –

My boats are light and I am as buoyant as a cork so I can usually lift and tip them to get a lot of the water out. If you've got bulkheads, or float bags and a sea sock, there should not be all that much water to pump out of the cockpit section. With a good hi-volume pump you can make pretty quick work of most of it, at least enough to keep going. If the water is calm and not cold I pump most out before I re-enter, either from the side or cowboy straddling the hull. If I need to get back in the boat fast, I climb back in and then pump out. If the water and conditions are that serious I am dressed to be wet in or out of the boat anyway.

Several tactics
Hopefully, your class will cover the spectrum. To empty the water, work your way to the bow (keeping control of the paddle), grab it and turn the yak upside turn. Grab the bow and simultaneously scissor-kick and front press. Repeat as necessary (putting the paddle between your legs can add a tad buoyancy). Quickly flip the kayak upright to avoid taking any water back on. Re-enter via cowboy, paddle float or other technique.

Or, turn kayak on its side while having paddle in position to sweep. Enter the boat while it’s on its side and roll it up (can use float on outside blade).

Plenty of Youtubes on these and more.

As some noted you can go to the bow and lift perhaps using a float or a good kick to get higher. But there are other variations that may suit you better. I find that if I put one hand on the far side of the combing and another on the near side I can lift the far side to break the water seal then very quickly follow that with pushing the near side up and over. If you do this near the front of the cockpit you can get even more water out. It’s not perfect but quick and can be followed by pumping for a drier boat.

Depends how much it got flooded
If it’s not much–you’ll know when you turn it upright again–then you can just get back in and paddle someplace safer to pump out.

I had to get through some dumpy surf once and found that by the time I started pulling the skirt on, another wave would come along and flood the cockpit before it was secure. After a couple attempts, I just paddled like hell to get out without trying to put the skirt on the coaming. Then, once through the impact zone, I secured the skirt. The water that got in from pushing through the wave “open” made the boat less stable but that method worked better for me…that time…than doing it the normal way.

A good reason to practice paddling with a flooded cockpit. Some day you’re going to end up doing that.

Also a good reason to paddle with a buddy who can tow ou out of the surf, breakers, etc. to facilitate rescue.

what rescue method
Your question just asks about draining, but much of that is dependent on what rescue method you use. The dragging a boat across another draining part you talked about is generally part of a T-rescue, where the rescuer after draining the boat then steadies it for the swimmer to get back in.

If you are alone, the 3 main self-rescues options are paddle float, scramble, or re-enter and roll. All of these get water into the cockpit, which you generally get out with a pump, by paddling the water filled boat to shore and draining, or by paddling over to another kayaker and dumping again and letting them drain as part of a T-rescue. Of these three, the scramble generally can get you the driest, if you do an empty step (which prior posters have mentioned). You can see this step in the first few seconds in the video at http://youtu.be/wElZ4z14VWw. The same person in that rescue wrote an article on how to do the Scramble for California Kayaker Magazine which can be read at http://content.yudu.com/Library/A1tvir/CaliforniaKayakerMag/resources/8.htm

And before others chime in - Yes, the re-enter and roll can get you pretty dry if you skirt up while upside down, but few do this.

Pump, pump, pump !
Don’t leave home without it.

In my opinion, the safety items in order of importance in a kayak are:

No. 1 Spray skirt

No. 2 Pump (9 gallons per minute)

No. 3 PFD

I can even leave no 3 at home as long as I have 1 and 2

Others can differ and call me out, but as I said above, “that is my opinion”

Jack L

Good advice Jack, but here in
Michigan, one needs to have a Coast Guard approved floation device with the boat. I don’t leave home without it.

I believe the fine is around $75, if you don’t have one with you. Makes a believer out of me.

without a pump
1) get back in - preferably reenter and roll

2) learn how to paddle a kayak full of water

You are absolutely right,
and I always have it with me. I should have said: “even though I don’t always wear it”

Thanks for picking me up on that.

Jack l

Why wait until winter?
I don’t understand why you would be waiting until winter to get into a class. If you are doing enough to capsize and be stuck with a question now, and plan to take a class anyway, you should be doing that now. You are risking learning bad habits that could be very hard to unlearn if you wait.

And what kind of boat? If it doesn’t have two bulkheads or float bags front and back or equivalent, emptying without help can be a bear.

second taking the class NOW!
1) you NEED what will be taught in that class NOW, in the summer when you’re paddling a lot. And your chance to practice those skills are in the summer.

2) If you figure all these out by trail and error (and internet), and are still alive after the whole summer of paddling, you will probably find the class (assuming some sort of beginner class) boring and a waste of time/money.

Third the class!
Buy a pump, then take the class, then buy a backup electric pump. Sooner is better on the class if you can.

liquid logic xp10
is the boat. Class doesn’t start until this winter. Thanks for the info… Sounds like all good stuff.


Forget about the class then
What kind of kayak class that happens in the winter???

I assume it’s in a warm but tiny indoor pool? In that case, it probably won’t be anything more than how to wet exit and get back in. You would have needed all that skill NOW, during the rest of summer. You probably won’t be needing that class by the time winter comes around.

Call these guys

Keelhaulers Canoe Club a couple of hours east of you, they cover WW etc and do instruction in and outdoors. Ask them for coaches or classes that may be nearer to you. There is a hell of a lot of shoreline very close to Haskins Ohio, I have to think that you can do better than waiting for winter.

float bags in bow
are a good idea in this boat.

for all the info… I went out yesterday in a local pond to teach myself how to roll after watching the EJ video several times.LOL Its a lot harder that it looks in the video. lol… Allmost got up a few times, but not doing the hip snap right or enough? I’ll find an instructor to help. Good news is I do love the kayak, and I can see where rolling is going to be a lot of fun.