using an airmatress for self rescue

I started carrying an air matress in case I flip over. Climb on air matress and slide back into boat is the idea.

Haven’t flipped over yet, wondering if it is a good idea?

Also carry a bilage pump and the other basic safety equipment


Sounds like a real process. Unnecessary IMO. I think you could spend more time practicing some rescues that would be a lot more successful and less cumbersome.

If you can’t roll, try using a reentry and roll but with a paddle float attached. It’s much faster than your typical paddle float/self rescue and it really doesn’t require much technique. I’ve seen people with very little experience in a kayak perform them on their first try.


– Last Updated: Jun-02-06 11:42 PM EST –

Aside from not being sure about whether that would be physically possible wothout some practice, I am thinking that the kayak would tend to flip over as you tried to slide into it unless you have pretty fantastic balance... and wondering how tired you'd get inflating the thing then taking it down and stuffing it into a compartment again..

it seems that some lessons in common self-rescue skills would be a good thing.

(But on a second look Greyhawk is right and my first response was too narrow. Assuming you'll try it out, plz post how it worked out back here.)

Thinking out of the box is good…
Give it a try and let us know…

Assuming you do get back into the boat
what do you do with it then? I would suspect that the conditions that caused you to capsize are still there. How do you stay upright, hang on to your paddle and deflate a full size air matteress and stow it somewhere in the boat without going for another swim?

Tow the mattress, it’ll help with drag.

haven’t seen that method
are you making things up or going by practice?

After fighting your way back into your boat from an air mattress might be a tad bit exhausting. Get your boat to shore, tow the mattress in, change, have lunch and then put the mattress to it’s alternate use: take a nap. Sounds like a great recovery that you can relay to all your friends of how you went on a liesurely paddle, landed on an island took a nap for awhile, etc.

Try learning with a regular paddle float too.

See you on the water,


fisrt learn the craft
then smash the rules. No supstitute for apprenticeship, or learning the classics by yourself.

Give it a try
before you do think about:

How will you inflate the mattress, and how long will it take?

How will you keep mattress, boat and paddle all in the same vacinity while you are inflating?

How will you keep mattress, boat and paddle all in the same vacinity whily you are trying to climb onto the mattress?

How will you stabilize the boat while trying to move from mattress to boat?

Practice it before you really need it. What would you do if you need it but is doesn’t work?

Self Inflating Mattress?
Maybe you could use a self-inflating mattress.

Just make sure it’s positioned so that it self-inflates with air, not water!

Guess you’ll HAVE to tow it to land to deflate it.