What to do in this situation?

Lets say person A and B are kayaking and B flips in a kayak but perhaps cannot get out of the sprayskirt for some unimportant reason and is stuck unside down without a roll. What, in this case should A do, given that A is nearby and it witnessing all of this? I know that putting a bow next to the stuck kayaker will allow the person (if rational) to grap the bow of A’s boat and literally pull him or herself up, but what if either B is either not in a condition to do such a thing. What, if anything, could A do without B’s input to help? Would A be able to go parallel to B’s boat and somehow right it or right it enough to get B’s head out of the water? Would it be better to A to exit and swim to assist in B?

Anyway, just looking at scenarios here, I didn’t find anything in the archives.


Pulling a boat with a person in it upright is damn near impossible from another kayak. The proper response would obviously be either the hand of god rescue, where the boats are parallel and the rescuer grabs the person’s hands to pull them up, or the t-rescue, where the rescuer simply positions his bow for the person to grab and pull themselves up.

If for some reason the other kayaker is not capable of this, the rescuer has little choice but to get the inverted paddler out of their boat as soon as possible, even if it means bailing from his own. Righting a kayak with the paddler as a dead weight is quite difficult.

the hand of god
the hand of god is indeed not an easy rescue. the key to success is the use of your forearm to continually push down on the combing near you while pulling up on whatever you can grab of the paddler … most typically his PFD. his arm sticking up and toward you reduces your leverage and thus in my experience, the PFD is the best location.

the “T” rescue rarely works in this situation unless the paddler needing rescue is “expecting” you. more often, they’re panicked by the time they’ve realized they’re stuck and aren’t thinking about a “T” rescue. their struggling to get the spraydeck the heck off and can’t.

the last resort is you getting out of your boat to help. if they can’t get it off from the inside of the cockpit, you’re not going to have a much easier time getting it off from the outside. moreover, out of the water your leverage is significantly reduced since every movement you make is countered by the water giving way under you.

always make sure the grab loop is out when you leave land.

with all due respect,

– Last Updated: Jun-02-04 8:38 AM EST –

The rescue where one boater flips a second boater upright is known as the HOG or Hand Of God. I have used it many times and it is a fast, safe way of recovering a boater that has a problem wet-exiting or are incompassitated in some manner. ACA teaches this rescue and it is much faster than the T.

a brief description is....

1 get parallel to the victims boat.

2 drop paddle between boat to trap it

3 SLAP the bottom of upside down boat to alert victim you are there

4 reach across bottom of upturned boat and grab edge of boat while leaning onto the near edge for bracing

5 PULL will arm that is crossed across bottom of boat while PUSHING DOWN on the edge nearest you. (it help to command victim to lean forward as their head breaks the surface.)

6 make sure that there are no other issues before releasing boat and paddling away.

at no point in this is the rescuee required to exert any energy to be righted. In fact, I prefer if they DO NOT help me as people tend to GRAB and PULL in directions I would rather not be grabbed and pulled

The "Hand of God"
Was much easier and faster than I imagined… I had it taught to me by ACA instuctors… the best way to go is to let the pro’s teach you the correct way… It’s well worth the small cost to learn all the rescues…

hand of god is great.

think that you aren’t pulling the person up over the boat so much as pushing the boat back under them - that really gives you the idea of how much you are pushing down on that near side.

also, the way that i have learned/done it is that if the rescuee is laying back as far as possible on on the deck this makes it easier. forward may work as well but perhaps that is best if the paddler is unconcious? may be easier to get unconcious paddler laying back than forward?

The forwards drill I am used to has more to do with protecting the persons face in WW. The back deck method you mention is something I am going to want to try next time I am out in my seakayak. That may make it a lot easier since I do not have to worry about bashing the persons noggin

H rescue
paddler upside down in boat bangs boat 3 times to singnal for assitance then moves hands bow to stern till resuer paddles along side and lays their paddle acrosshull of upside down boat and cockpit of theirs , grabs hand of person in water and places it on paddle shaft , paddler is then able to pull self topside as you assit him while both are supported by paddle . If paddler under water has head to far extended when coming up , may hit head against your hull , ha - did that once.Learn em all

Besides HOG & Eskimo Rescue
paddlers should learn to disengage skirt by pinching and lifting the skirt by the sides of the coaming, in case they forgot to extract the release loop when putting the skirt on. I’ve actually found my loop tucked in the cockpit several times after taking a break in ww and ocean. Thankfully, I didn’t need to wet exit on those occaisons.


Or if the handle rips out of the bungee. I’ve thought of this before while out there! Guess one should really check the stitching on their spray skirt handle occasionally and make sure it’s not on it’s last thread.


Ditto that - Its always been easy.
I thought this was one of the most simple rescues? I have seen this done in seconds… Even when I had someone pracice on me who had never done it they got my head out (to give me a breath) and finnally after multiple attempts got me upright. The thing is you have to commit all your weight to the other persons boat and use it as your outrigger and use your bodyweight and not just your arms - Thats the problem people have when first learning i think? There afraid to “lean” at all and push. I always found it extremely simple (and effective). Although I have never heard a touring person talk about this before… Dunno I am not a to great of a kayaker anyways.


Release Loop
Put a large carabiner on your release loop. You won’t accidentally tuck it inside and it will be easier to find when you are upside down in the water (especially cold water).

Paddle Safe - Louis


– Last Updated: Jun-02-04 11:12 AM EST –

I have a biner on all my skirts. Hasn't stopped me from doing the ole-stupid-left-the-loop-in-the-cockpit trick when rushing to get out and play. Especially stupid since I play alone alot. :) I would need God's Almight Grace (GAG) rather than somebody's hand-of-god (HOG).

I should make a list of all my mistakes... Nah.


if you do this use a locking biner
a regular gated biner can become an entanglement hazard by clipping to something you do not want at a most inopportune time…

Another Solution
I bought an old Acrobat. It actually had a piece of 8 inch piece nylon strap that was blind riveted to the top of the coaming lip. The strap thus stuck out from the front of the coaming lip onto the the front deck. When you put on the skirt, the strap always remained outside and serves as backup exit loop.

It made too much noise flapping in the wind. I cut it off. :slight_smile:


I have had two boats with those…
and both of them were cut off pronto.

I witnessed a paddler panicking as they tugged mighty hard of that strap and the skirt did not pop off. Decided I did not want to be in the same situation or lend the boat to someone who was not familiar with it. In fact, I have never understopod why pyranha put them on some boats but not others…

And this is why you should carry a knife on your pfd and I dont mean a folder.

I Admit It…
I have a fetish for sharp tools, not just folding ones. But why destroy a good skirt when you can pinch and release from the sides? Learn the trick… The skirt you save may be yours. :slight_smile:


H. O. G. rescue limitations
One thing that I’ve discovered is the relative size of the boats involved has a huge bearing on whether one can perform an H.O.G. rescue or not. If the rescuer is in a low volume boat and the victim is in a wide, high volume boat, it’s very difficult (sometimes impossible) to perform an H.O.G., as the rescuer cannot reach far enough up and over the victim’s boat to get a grip on him. The same is true of scoop rescues. As someone who paddles low volume boats, I’ve found that it’s quite easy for someone rescue me (my center of gravity is low to the water and my aft deck is also low), but not the other way if they’re in a big boat, despte the fact that I have long arms and a long reach.

Thanks everyone…
I feel a bit more informed now… I’d like to practice a bunch of assisted rescues now that the water is getting warmer.

I did a google search and came across this rescue, perhaps similar to the T rescue but where the assiter is parallel to the other boat rather than at a T…