Safe paddling has been discussed at length and has not left out the importance of always having your life jacket on and tightly fastened, dressing for the prevailing conditions, as well as a few items to carry with you every time.
But, you could still be wondering, what if I flip? In that case, what will happen next? In mot cases, paddlers claim that they are all in between swimmers though flipping is an ever-present possibility. When it does happen, unfortunately, there are many ways of getting back in the Kayak. With practice, you can perform some of the movements all by yourself, and in other situations, the help of a buddy could prove useful.
Let’s now demonstrate some different methods of getting back into the Kayak. If you were paddling on a sit-on-top, the video would be sufficient. However, to master some of the rather advanced methods requires some professional instructions. For starters, you must ensure that the Kayak is floating the right side up and if not, push it on the one hand while pulling on the other to get it into the correct position. Easier still, if you are paddling with a buddy you simply ask them to stabilize your boat, and with sufficient practice, you should be able to climb back aboard the Kayak by yourself.
When you accidentally flop out of the Kayak, swim to the back and heave your chest atop the boat. It helps, to begin with, your legs behind at the surface followed by a kick as if getting out of a swimming pool. Slide your body onto the cockpit using your arms to pull yourself to it and remember to stay quiet and allow the legs to hang off either side for stability. Once you manage to get to the cockpit, sit up by bestriding the boat and swinging your legs through the water till you can sit down low in the seat and pull your feet on top. Grab hold of the paddle, and you’ll be ready to go.
Another variation is climbing on top from the side just in front of the seat with the lowest side of the boat. Again, start with the feet at the surface and kick to pull your chest onto the vessel. Pull your hips up and with some little more effort, twist into the seat. This method works with boats that are more stable or in cases where the gear on deck makes it difficult to scoot down from the end.
Do not forget to practice this in real world conditions and since you will be most likely to flip in windy conditions and waves, do the practice in a calm harbor. With a Kayak where you sit inside, things tend to be more difficult as these are less stable and fill up with water when they flip. There is not enough time to teach all the skills in the video, but you should have a hint of what is possible.
The most common method of getting out of the flip deadlock is the assisted entry and relies on teamwork. The paddlers that are still in their boats will help the swimmer by steadying his Kayak as he gets back in. Once everything is secure, be sure to pump out the water. The boat can also be drained before letting the swimmer back in and is a reliable method though it requires some practice and a team to pull off, more especially in rough conditions.
The rescue techniques are easy and fun to learn if you take a class. When you have a sit-inside Kayak, it is recommended that you take one. You should also check with your local paddling shop or get online to find local instructors in your area. Remember, practice is essential for any of the techniques described above to be any effective and once you have done enough, flipping will be nothing to worry about.