Spray Skirt to Avoid Capsizing?

In my experiments with capsizing, I found that once I tipped enough for water to pour into the cockpit, I was doomed. Would having a spray skirt attached give me a larger margin of error?

I’ve been on a lot of fishing trips and haven’t come very close to tipping, but I have noticed a tendency to not pay attention when fighting a fish or watching birds overhead.

If it is the water that enters the cockpit that is causing you to tip, then possible a skirt would prevent this.

But I find it takes a lot of water to make a boat unstable (at least an inch at the bottom, likely more), so not sure that is the cause of the instability. It sounds like the water is entering due to you edging or leaning the boat too far over, and likely this in itself is what is causing you to flip over. Skirt wouldn’t do much to fix this.

If you’re far enough over to scoop water into the cockpit, you’re already gone. With a spray skirt you could still recover at that point, but you’re going to need some improved skills to do so, and not likely with a fishing rod in hand.

I’m with Sparky… Based on the boat in the Photo. By the time you have water coming in on that size cockpit, id say your only saving grace is a good brace with or without a skirt, which is hard with a fishing pole :slight_smile: Think loose hips, practice edging your boat see where your secondary stability ends and your visit to the briney deep begins. If you do go with a skirt, be sure to learn and practice the wet exit skills you will need to avoid getting into trouble.


Yes, maybe I should put on my wetsuit and do some more experimenting.

My memory from when I tried capsizing intentionally was that I felt that at one point I was still in control and could keep from going over (still had good final stability), but the water rushed into the kayak, and I was (metaphorically) sunk.

Like Huh, I can do this, whoosh, no I can’t.

I’ll experiment more.

With enough time in the boat, you should develop a feel for almost anything that you might encounter. However, this might take a good long time and lots of situations that might not come up very often I once had a canoe that I thought was the most unstable boat ever invented. I’m not exaggerating–it would capsize if I looked up at a bird. I know now that the bird had nothing to do with it; it was just me being too rigid and not yet having any confidence in the boat.

Even with the boats I have now, there were a few times when I didn’t feel very secure. All of that is gone now, because I’ve purposely put myself in conditions that a few years ago would have had me ready for a swim. Sure, there are things that can get a little daunting now and then, but the key is trusting the boat and staying completely loose.

I really don’t think that having a skirt on is going to do anything, but give you a bit more confidence. While you’re fishing, my concern about having a skirt on, would be getting a hook anywhere close to that skirt.

Grab a friend who can assist and sit in your boat in about waist deep water. Brace your knees/thighs and have your feet on the foot braces. Have your friend stand beside the boat in front of you, holding the perimeter lines. They should have a good grip, but let you control the boat. Your friend’s job is to prevent the boat from overturning completely, but letting it remain loose enough that you can control it. With this set up, you can edge or lean as much as you want (to a point) without fear of capsizing, or the time it takes to get back in. I’ve used this technique with lots of people to show them that their kayak isn’t near as “tippy” as they think it is. It’s a great way to help someone discover the static stability characteristics in a comfortable environment.

As a side note, it’s also a good way to practice bracing. Doing it yourself, you always know just how far to go before you can no longer recover, so you’re cheating yourself unintentionally. Having your friend pretend to be a nasty ocean wave and try to tip you over (start small and build up) is a great way to build this skill. Their job is still to make sure you don’t actually capsize though.

Most skirts won’t work with a seat back that high.

Overstreet makes a great point.

The seat back needs to be not more than an inch or so above the rear coaming for any skirt to fit.

And a low seat back helps a lot with correct torso rotation when paddling.

I am not undestanding the situation. With a boat like this wouldn’t you have to be pretty much vertical to start taking on water? I.e. we are talking about something very aggressive. A skirt would help but it’s just odd, we are not talking surfing giant waves but fishing?
And yeah, you won’t pull a skirt over that seat for sure.

“…I have noticed a tendency to not pay attention when fighting a fish or watching birds overhead…”

Balance is supposed to be second nature and not something you have to think about all the time.

You have two issues with a spray skirt in the pictured boat. The first is as above, you aren’t likely to find one that will work with that very high seat back. The other is the overall size of the cockpit - it likely means a bungied nylon skirt because of its larger dimensions and the high seat back. And those skirts are going to be much more easily pulled off the coaming in your attempts to keep the boat upright than a stretchy neoprene decked skirt, .

There is a point where you have to accept the limitations of your boat, and this is one of them. Even with the flotation you have/will be adding up front, there are still features that make this a boat which should not be an overly far swim from shore if you are alone.

Thanks, guys.