Paddle Reentry Self Rescue Clamps as a mitigation for rough water/exhaustion

I have no doubt that I can do a paddle reentry when physically fresh, but I wonder how well I would do after 15 miles, and in colder, rougher waters. Just lifting myself out of the boat after such a long paddle sometimes gives me terrible cramps in my abdominal area.

They make paddle shaft holders that mount on the rear deck–they will lock down the shaft so you can get some extra strength from an arm/hand that was holding the paddle perpendicular to the boat. Also, with two paddle floats, you can have “pontoons” in case you get sick, or have an unplanned need for some gear in the front or rear hatch,


(It looks like your rear deck cannot have much curvature)


I can see myself snagging my shorts as I slide off the rear deck getting into the cockpit.

I’m with Overstreet on the snag hazard.

If you can’t get in your boat without this gizmo, there’s a problem. If conditions are so rough they prevent a paddle float reentry, these aren’t the solution because you’re going to break your paddle, your head, or the holders in the process. Perhaps all of the above.

Hmm - the nature of really rough water is that it wants to destabilize the paddle position against the boat to start with. Add flotation on one of the blades and I suspect two things are more likely. Either snapping the paddle (corrected) shaft, or having the boat suddenly lurch up and away from you and losing contact with the boat.

For all the jokes about it, this is a scenario where something like a Roll Aid would be a better idea.

The rear decks on two of my boats aren’t very flat so I attached a ball bungee to the corner of the existing bungee to help hold the paddle straight while I do a heel hook entry. I don’t have large hands or the grip strength of a rock climber, so it’s worked pretty well for me.

I think those plastic clips would result in a few bruises.

What is a ball bungee?

A quick and easy release.

Some boats come with a strap on the back deck right behind the cockpit made to let the paddle be slipped under it for the rescue. You can see an image of the Chatham 16 that notes a “Paddle Float Rescue Strap” at (though I think it is pointing to the wrong side of the boat - the black band above that is the strap). This might be better than the clips, as it is flush with the deck.

Buying or making a stirrup to allow you to step up into the boat also may be an option to ease the getting back in part. Having it sized to your boat makes installation easy.