Self Rescue

Self rescue is a method of getting yourself back into the kayak after capsizing.  This is essential if you plan to paddle alone.

Scramble Rescue Tips Common Mistakes Drills Paddle Float Rescue Paddle Float Tips

Paddle Float Rescue

Another technique you can use for a self-rescue is a paddle-float re-entry. The paddle-float acts as an outrigger to stabilise the kayak.

  • Ideally, stay on the downwind side of the kayak while you inflate the float.
  • Leave the kayak upside down and put your foot in the cockpit to keep contact with your kayak.
  • Put the float over the paddle blade, clip it around the shaft of the paddle, and then inflate it.
  • Flip the kayak upright quickly to minimise the water getting in.
  • Position yourself between the cockpit and the stern.
  • Place the paddle behind the coaming and yourself on the stern side of the paddle.
  • Some kayaks allow you to secure the paddle to the kayak.  In the photo Rae holds the shaft and coaming.

  • Launch yourself to get your tummy onto the back deck of the kayak.  If you need to, you can hook the ankle closest to the cockpit around the paddle shaft for extra leverage.

  • Put your second foot on the paddle shaft. Take the first foot off and swing it into the cockpit as you swivel your body around. 
  • Keep your outer leg on the paddle shaft.

  • Bring the stern hand under your thigh and place it on the shaft (Rae's left hand).
  • Keep your weight on that hand as you swing the second leg into the kayak.  

  • Stay low, you will now be facing the stern of the kayak.
  • Rotate towards the paddle float, switching hands until you are seated in the kayak.
  • Maintain weight on the paddle float at all times.

  • You can continue to use the paddle float for support as you pump out the water and put on your skirt.  If it is attached, it can stay on the rear deck. If not, bring it to the front and support the shaft under your elbows.

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