some help about learning to capsize.

If you’re nervous …
… be sure to have someone with you to help. Would also highly recommend a basic kayak course in which you’ll be taught how to exit and re-enter, both very important safety skills. Not nesessary to be in your boat for that, especially given the boat you have … you’ll probably find most classes use white water boats or sea kayaks, so the Pamlico will be easier to get out of than either.

Goggles or a diving mask helped me a lot… hate to open my eyes underwater, so being able to see makes me feel more relaxed.

Having had a Pamlico 140, I can agree with another poster’s comments: you’ll fall right out, even with a skirt. It’s nothing like a sea kayak. Without a skirt, that boat is more likely to fill up and settle down upright when flooded, unless you really get fliped over with some force.

Classes and practice
I am guessing that you will “pop right out” of your Pamlico without a sprayskirt, once you hit the water, without any problems.

If you have a sprayskirt, first learn to wet exit without it. Practice as much as you can until you feel comfortable.

Then when you are comfortable, learn to wet exit with the sprayskirt on, and how to pull the grab loop (or “holy crap strap”) while underwater.

My best advice: take a class with a qualified instructor. Find a local outfitter or club or ACA instructor who teaches this skill, either in a pool or on a lake. Have an instructor or someone you trust “spot” you so that they will be there to help you in case anything goes wrong (which it shouldn’t).

When I began kayaking, I took a basic kayaking skills class as soon as I bought my first boat (a 12.5 ft. rec boat). We learned to wet exit without sprayskirts, and how to re-enter our boats, in the class. My friends and I then practiced wet exits, solo paddle float re-entries, and assisted re-entries in Lake Erie, when the water was warm enough to swim in. That helped us build our confidence. But unfortunately, I never learned how to wet exit with the sprayskirt on the rec boat.

When I bought my Eskia 16 ft. boat, I also learned to wet exit and re-enter it, without a sprayskirt. I could do that just fine. But I never tried it with the sprayskirt on.

Then this past Spring, after never intentionally capsizing, I flipped it against a big rock on moving water (due to horseplay, which was stupid), with the sprayskirt on. Surprisingly, the nylon sprayskirt came off, probably because I didn’t have it fastened at the back properly. Of course I swam, but I assumed the (nylon) skirt would automatically come off if this ever happened again.

Well, I was wrong. In big lake waves this summer, I flipped coming in to the shore. I suddenly found myself floating upside down, being pushed along by the waves, in a silent underwater world. I did NOT come out of the boat with the sprayskirt on. Something in my head kept saying, “You need to DO something…”, and then I remembered to pull my sprayskirt grab loop. Du-uh! But it was not a natural reaction. I had to THINK about it first.

After that, I got myself to an intermediate skills class with a qualified lake instructor pretty darn quickly. He taught me to properly wet exit using a sprayskirt. He also (at least temporarily) got me over my panicky fear of being underwater for even a second longer than necessary. I learned to hang upside down, and bang on my boat’s hull with my hands out of the water, counting successively longer each time I tried this exercise, until I was ready to wet exit.

So, I’d say classes and practice have both helped me learn quite a bit.

Almost, but no cigar
Thanks for the encouragement, but I still cannot roll without a paddle float. I think that I have made progress with the fear factor though (although not completely). I’ll get there.


I like
Good idea.

I was helping out with a class and one person couldn’t quite get up the courage to go over. I had her try to sit on the back deck (warning her that she would probably dump). She did but didn’t even get her hair wet. It was a start.

Okay, if I just fall out of my cockpit I’m not scared of being upside down.

No worries
It takes more effort to hang upside down - falling out just happens!

Good Luck!