paddle float rescue

About entering behind the seat

– Last Updated: Jul-16-07 9:43 AM EST –

Many rescues that are still popular were invented long before kayaks had large cockpits. So you had to hop on the back deck to slide in the ocean cockpit. Many people like me who are tall can't go in butt first in any boat. The world has evolved so the sky's the limit on rescues.

If I do a paddle float reentry, my favorite is jumping on the back deck and swiveling around on my belly and sitting on the back deck cowboy style - then sliding in that way. It avoids that typical turn over that has to be done when many people capsize. The down side is if you carry your spare paddle on the back deck it presents an annoying problem and uncomfort zone. Good reason to carry a GP spare even if you hate it.

If you can enter easily forward of the paddle right into the cockpit, I would do that too if I could.

it’s a hazard
I did the same for awhile, and wasn’t pleased with the risk of entanglement. Think of the p.f. self-rescue as a transitional learning opportunity while learning to roll as opposed to a complete self-rescue technique.

The few times I’ve seen it used was group paddles where the paddlers were far from each other. By the time the person got themselves back in the kayak the other paddler could help pumping out. Re-entry and roll was the other time I saw it used.

Methinks it’s primarily a sales aid so folks feel safe buying $3000 worth of boat and heading out.

First time I learned was forward of the paddle,subsequent times aft. Whatever works for the boat and paddler.

I’ve done it both ways
I prefer starting fore of the paddle. I always use my hand to hold the paddle at the rear of the coaming; never tried jamming it under the deck lines. Would never count on this rescue in conditions.

Start w/ a roll-roll
That is, get to the paddle-float re-entry and roll by going for a regular roll. By the time you are halfway to a roll you’ll find the paddle-float assisted version is viable, and starting to learn the basic rolling motion with a paddle float on the blade cultivates bad habits that’ll be hard to break later on. You’ll get in the habit of yanking down on the paddle rather than starting a proper rolling motion.

glad to hear it jay
It’s nice to hear someone else does this rescue as a cowboy hybrid. I taught myself for fun to cowboy onto the deck, hold ma paddle to the deck behind my back, lift with my triceps and slide into the cockpit in one motion. I can do it in 2’ chop without the float. Also just taught someone else this version and she nailed it the first time, in an oc. It’s also fun and informative to get on deck and try to paddle aroud sitting on top, or rotate so you’re sitting side-saddle and then facing backwards. Gives you a feel for balance.

Of course I don’t substitute this for a r&r.

paddle float
I swim my torso up onto the back deck from in front of the paddle (bow side, paddle slid under bungies). Although newer books recommend coming from the stern end, and starfishing over the paddle, this seems like a lot of extra effort. I practice the paddle float entry every week, not because I’d use it in rough water (the reentry and roll is easier–less leaping up onto boat decks), but because it’s a good way to work on balance and agility. We also practice the cowboy entry for the same reason–I wouldn’t use it in rough water, but it’s good for balance and coordination.

Practicing all these rescues is an excellent idea. If you’re in really rough water, they probably won’t work, but people around here die of hypothermia every year, not because the water was really rough, but because they didn’t have a clue how to get back into the boat after a capsize. Often this is in reasonably calm but cold water, and a practiced paddle float entry might have saved them.

FWIW, here’s a YouTube video for the paddle rescue technique. Can’t vouch for its accuracy technique-wise, but he makes it look easy.

technique is sound!
(that’s me in the video – thanks for finding it!)