How To Get Back On A Capsized Sit On Kayak

How To Get Back On A Capsized Sit On Kayak

Sit on Kayaks are safe and easy to use. I enjoy paddling into waves and around the bottom of sea cliffs where the swell pushes me away from the rocks. There is seldom any danger; a few thrills and a lot of fun.

Both times I have capsized have it has been my own fault and both times it caught me by surprise. The capsize’s were so fast I had no chance. The speed and suddenness with which I found myself in the water litterally took my breath away. I can remember being underwater in rapids so deep I saw bubbles coming up around me. I had no idea what had happened; so unexpected was the capsize. One moment I was paddling into a big surge and the next I was deep underwater.

It is very possible to tip yourself out of a normally stable sit on kayak and end up in the water even if you are careful and cautious. One day you will suddenly find yourself bobbing about in the water, supported by your life jacket with the capsized kayak floating beside you.

Sit On Kayak

I’ve done this in rapids and out at sea fishing. Photo borrowed from…….

Any fishing gear you had in your little sit on ship will be sunk to the bottom unless it was tied on or is floating nearby.

What do you do now?

1: Hold onto the kayak and get your breath back. In an emergency situation – stay calm – think fast but act slow – assess the situation.

You may have to put a couple of fingers into the scupper hole as an upturned kayak is not that easy to hold onto. (I have a short rope handles fastened to the side of my kayak to make it easy to hold on but they are underwater when it is capsized.)

2: Flip the kayak over with a sudden upward jerk from about it’s mid point along the side.      Then hold onto it and relax for a moment.      Get calm and plan your next move.

Pull your chest onto the sit on kayak with heave, pause then turn your body into the kayak. It takes some upper body strength to do this and I suggest you practise your self rescue technique on a warm day and not the first time you accidently capsize.

3: Set about retrieving anything that is floating nearby. If you paddle is not tied on, paddle with your hands to retrieve that first. Then gather everything else that is floating nearby. Wind and current will take anything floating away from you but your paddle is the No# 1 priority; not your expensive tackle box.

4: If it is not a warm day you need to get back to base and put some dry clothes on. You do not want to get chilled.

Paddling a sit on kayak uses a lot of calories so initially the exercise will warm your but wet clothing will suck your body heat. The wind will also chill you seriously.

On cool or cold days go back, get sorted and go kayaking again tomorrow.


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