Flipping over in a kayak can be quite a scary experience, especially if you’re quite new to paddling, but if you know what to do and how to best react you shouldn’t have any problems, In this article, we’ll discuss what you should do if you flip over, and how you can stay as safe as possible should it happen to you. If you’re looking for more handy guides, you can find them by clicking here.
What’s the difference between a sit-in and a sit-on kayak?
A sit-in kayak is a kayak where you sit inside the hull of the kayak, and a sit-on kayak is one where you sit on top of the hull. Sit-in kayaks are generally considered to be better for more serious paddling, as they offer more protection from the elements and can be more stable in rough water. Sit-on kayaks are generally considered to be better for recreational paddling, as they are usually lighter and easier to get in and out of.
When it comes to flipping over, you may have more trouble with a sit-on kayak as they’re less flexible with regards to getting in and out and so you should only really use one if you’re absolutely sure that you can get out safely. If you’re not 100% sure you can get out of your sit-in kayak safely, spend some time practicing with a friend, and make sure to never do this alone as it can be quite dangerous.
So, what should you do if you do flip over?
Because things can be a bit trickier if you’re in a sit-in kayak, it’s worth familiarising yourself with some of the best-practice techniques for staying safe and making sure you can get out safely because righting your kayak. To stay on the safe side, we’d recommend having a kayak that has bulkheads as this will help prevent it from sinking with the paddler inside. If yours doesn’t, invest in some inflatable airbags as they’ll help buy you some time.
Assisted re-entry is a technique used by many kayakers but, as you might have guessed, it’ll require teamwork and is another reason why you should always kayak with a buddy. It works by having the kayaker who’s still afloat help by steadying the flipped kayak as the paddler gets back in. Once things have steadied and the situation is calmer, they can then help them remove the water from their kayak. It takes some time, but we’d say it’s the best method to get the job done.
The biggest lesson you should take away from this article is the importance of staying calm and not panicking if things do take a turn. It’s a given in the kayaking world that you’re never far away from your next swim and this is absolutely true. If you do end up in the water, make sure to safely get back to the water’s surface before staying buoyant and attention to get back to shore.
How can you stay safe in the water when your kayak has flipped?
If you’re struggling to get back into your kayak or if the situation is too dangerous, then it’s important that you know how to stay safe in the water until help arrives. The last thing you should do when in the water is to panic as this will likely tire you out and increase the likelihood of a negative outcome. While that doesn’t mean there will be fatalities, hyperthermia is a real danger, especially if you’re wearing a wetsuit, and staying safe is the biggest priority.
The first thing you should do is try and find something that will help keep you afloat – this could be another kayak, a paddle float, or even just a buoyant bag. Once you’ve found something that will help keep you afloat, make sure it’s secure, and then focus on keeping yourself as calm as possible. This is a reason why you should always make sure to have a buoyancy aid with you. It can be a real lifesaver!
It can be difficult, but try and relax as much as possible as this will help conserve your energy levels and make sure to wave for help if there’s anyone around who might be able to assist. If you can, gently swim back to shore and try to do so using as little energy as possible – take your time and don’t waste all your energy thrashing about in the water. And finally, once help does arrive, don’t forget to thank them!