Rescue Techniques

I have learned several self and assisted rescue techniques in my 18 foot sea kayak (rolling not included). On a recent trip to Isle Royale it was brought to my attention after lifting my fully loaded boat that these rescue techniques might not work with a boat that has a weeks worth of provisions in it and on it. Does anyone out there have any real life experience with open water rescues of a fully loaded boat? What about rough water rescues either self or assisted?

From a little experience:
A rough water assisted rescue is not too hard and can be accomplished fairly quick and easy.

I can’t comment on a self rescue in rough water, but I am guessing it would not be easy.

I have been in some horrendous water and can’t imagine being able to do a self rescue with continuing breaking white caps.

My take!



Reentry and roll…
is the only self rescue in rough conditions I trust. Rentry, roll up, scull for support, consider finding a new hobby :slight_smile:


Im Also a Beginner
and have practiced both sides of an assited rescue and self rescues. I have assisted twice in non-practice rescues to date. Once my son went over after getting his paddle “stuck” in a boat wake.

The second rescue was made in moderate conditions. Lots of boat wakes, (yep the power boats did not slow down even following my partners capsize), a stiff incomming tide meeting a ten to fifteen knot wind. The wind and tide set up 1 to 2 foot waves with white caps. We performed a T rescue without a bunch of problem. The current caused positioning the boats correctly to take a little more time than we had seen during practice. The waves caused the two boats to rise and fall at differant times. Id say we could repeat this performance in similar conditions and maybe a little bit harsher. I dont know that we could accomplish this type of rescue in waves much larger.

I am signed up for an offshore techniques class next month. One of the things we are scheduled to learn is rough water rescues.

happy paddling,


recent thread

just there
We were just up at Isle Royale a few weeks ago and had our boats loaded up with 9 days of gear. We practiced both rolls and rescues and noticed no real difference…but we did not practice them in rough water. If we were in rough water and a reentry and roll failed, that speed rescue technique described in Sea Kayaker mag would probably be my next choice. It really is a fast technique and the person being rescued could have both hands free to pump out their boat while the rescuer stablizes the kayaks.

you can do a T loaded
You can do a T rescue loaded. You just have to be mindful of the weight. A roll is still your best offensive weapon against swimming. Put some time into it, and you will be rewarded with a whole new world.

Kayaking is not easy, it is a skill intensive sport.

climb in/ pump out
simple as pie. seriously helps to have a partner.

NO partner??- you shouldn’t be there w/o a roll/ re-enter/roll.


one of the biggest problems
new folk face is settin up a TX w/a capsized boat -tryin to get in to make a perfect T even in flat conditions . Ya don’t have to do that ! Just make contact with the vic’s boat , use your body weight to to turn the boat where ya want it to go , you will be supported by the vic’s boat in rough or flat water an can position it where ever ya want to take advantage of the conditions an get em back in quickly an safely . Loaded or not . , a partially loaded yak were gear is shifted can cause stability issues . But practice turnin the boat after contact w/it and you will be pleasantly surprized how easy an supportive it is . Hope that helps some -----MArK

Roll, Re-entry and Roll,…
It seems that a fully loaded boat rolls slower than an unladen boat. Unless things are really shifting around, that seems to be the significant difference. The ability to scull allows you to gather your thoughts and get air. Sometimes it is easy to scull up over the rear deck.

Among assisted rescues, HOG (hand of god) rescue works well if the swimmer is exhausted and allows for the victim to assist in righting the capsized boat once in the cockpit.

Yes With SOT
Haven’t dumped loaded SINK yet put have in my SOT in whitewatet. Did self-rescues the few times it’s happened. Wearing a good PFD with plenty of buoyancy helped. I’d reach under my boat and pull the far side towards me while lifting the near side. Because I have lots of practice loading pack animals I’m able to pack my kayak without gear shifting even with a capsize. Whenever loading a kayak for camping keep in mind that your gear needs to stay stable. Sometimes leaving extra air in a dry bag helps or carrying water in liter bottles rather than by the gallon. There’s an excellent book on rescue techniques. It’s buried in storage right now so I can’t tell you the author. I found mine at Borders. If you can find it I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s better than asking people like me.

I am assuming that you are replying
to my post.

I think you need to re read the guys post. He said not including a roll.

On “the get a new hobby”: No thanks I love paddling too much.

I might politely suggest that you get a little tact, or are you too much of an elitist to expect that.