Can someone please advise or point me to a good resource on re-entering a 'yak after a wet exit?

I turned my boat over this past weekend on purpose to see if I could re-enter. I was able to straddle the back of the boat. So I would be able to survive at least. However I could not figure out how to drop back in.

Get a paddle float and bilge pump.
1. While in the water blow up the paddle float and put it on the end of the paddle.

2. Put the end of the paddle without the float under the bungee cords behind your cockpit, and the end with the float out in the water at a 90 degree angle to the yak.

3. get yourself in front of the paddle, and facing the rear of the yak.

4. Using the paddle float for boyancy,and keeping your body in a swimming position, kick and pull yourself up flat on the rear deck, (belly down toward the deck) until your mid section is just about at the rear of the cockpit.

5. Roll yourself over into the cockpit, but keep your weight on the paddle float side or the boat will roll back over on the other side.

6. Take you bilge pump and pump out the yak.

Practice, practice, practice, until you have it down pat.



JackL pretty much nailed it for you. During the turn around phase in the cockpit, I find it helpful to keep my eyes on the paddle float. Your body has more of a tendency to go where your eyes are so this should help you in keeping your weight to the paddle float side as you turn, adjust and prepare to pump.


If you can straddle the back of the boat, there are a couple of ways of getting back in:

One is to lie face-down on the aft deck with your head facing the stern, and put your feet in the cockpit. Wiggle your way back until your hips are over the seat, then turn over and dropinto the cockpit. you can use your paddle as an outrigger for support.

You can also lie facing the bow and crawl forward until your butt is ove your seat, then sit down. This only works if your cockpit is big enough to pull your legs in when you’re seated.

A Good Class, A Good Video, Or
A good book, whichever comes first. Short of that, here is place to read about different rescues from the folks who bought you the “paddlefloat”:

Click “manuals” on the left hand side box with the drop down menu.


Hey JackL

– Last Updated: May-11-04 8:21 AM EST –

I have a quick question about assisted rescues. Is it a good idea to preplan with your group what type of assisted rescue you will do should someone capsize? It seems like it could save some time considering the options and variations of assisted rescues.



There was a long thread on the

– Last Updated: May-11-04 8:28 AM EST –

cowboy rescue. Not a first choice for most beginners when it counts. I'd rather learn a quick and relatively reliable paddlefloat rescue than an even quicker and less reliable (for me) cowboy reentry.

I found the thread by searching cowboy in the archives, it was probably what you thought you were looking for but not a good first choice non roll rescue for most paddlers in my opinion:

Find a pool
Checking out all of the resources everyone mentioned is great. Print them out, make cue cards and find someone’s warm swimming pool to practice them all in. Another option is jump in on a Rescue Clinic at a paddling school.

See you on the water,


Great Book on the Subject
In addition to the other resources mentioned, I highly recommend the book “Sea Kayak Rescue” by Roger Schurmann and Jan Shriner. Its comprehensive yet easy to understand.

lol, that makes sense.
those are great instructions but for some reason I thought this thread was about re-enter and roll techniques and I was getting really confused.

good book
Yeah get this book, it will give you a wealth of information.

Books are good but a picture is worth
a thousand words. And a MOVING picture is worth …? I would suggest taking a class on capsizes and recoveries if at all possible. Barring that, I would suggest and their video entitled, “Capsize Recoveries and Rescue Procedures.” Wayne Harodowich specializes in “instructional videos.” This one is very comprehensive and takes you step by step through a wide variety of techniques.


Another vote for USK
Using their videos I taught myself.


Don’t be shy about experimenting
Variations on a technique might work better for you than the most commonly described way.

For example, with paddle-float re-entry the way I was taught and had seen in books depicted the body as going over the cockpit, in front of the paddle shaft. I had marginal success doing it that way but on a whim I tried going aft of the paddle shaft (body across the rear deck) instead, and immediately found it easier and quicker to do. Also, I found it best to NOT put the paddle under any bungies or cords but to simply hold it against the rear coaming lip with one hand. Only later did I see a website with photos showing “my” way of doing it–apparently, Nigel Foster advocates doing it this way.

Try This…

– Last Updated: May-11-04 5:51 PM EST –

1) Blow up paddle float and secure non-floated end under bungies behind cockpit. Float on the starboard side.

2) Put paddle shaft to your back. Left hand on far side of coaming and right hand on paddle shaft out near float.

3) Put your feet in the cockpit.

4) Pull on the coaming, push on the shaft, and hoist your butt in the seat.

5) Pump out the water leaving the floated paddle in place for stability.

This method works for me every time.

Uhhh... this is for a sea kayak.

I usually only paddle with my wife, and
yes we have spoken about it often, so that each one of us will know exactly what we will do.

Thank goodness we have never had to do it in rough water, but if we have to we should be prepared.



Still another vote for USK

– Last Updated: May-11-04 10:31 PM EST –

Our family, ages 64,48,14 and 10, are all confident about getting back in the boats. The videos are clear! Practiced in a pool. Even my 14 year old can assist my re-entry. The 10 year old isn't quite strong enough. She can't do a paddle-float re-entry either. But then she does not EVER paddle alone. The 14 year old can help his little sister get back in! Get the Harodowich videos!