How to Manage a Capsized Kayak

Stay safe on the water this summer by preparing to go under it with these tips on how to exit and re-enter a capsized kayak

Just like you should practice fixing a flat bike tire before you head out on the road for a long ride, learning how to exit and re-enter a tipped kayak is a good skill to know before you hit the water, especially if you’re a newbie paddler or you plan to kayak in a remote area (with a buddy, of course). Even if you’re a skilled kayaker, you can still end up in the water, so here are five steps you should master ahead of your next kayak trip.  

1)    Get comfortable underwater. Tipping in a kayak will have you fully submerged, upside-down and momentarily attached to the kayak, so ensure you can stay calm underwater by diving down and holding your breathe for a few seconds without holding your nose next time you’re at a pool or lake. Blow bubbles out of your mouth and nose before coming up for air, and practice staying calm. 

2)    Secure your paddle and push. Practice capsizing your kayak (with a friend nearby, of course) by securing the paddle in your lap, leaning to one side and rolling over. When you’re upside-down, remove the spray skirt (if you have one), firmly grip from the cockpit coaming and push yourself out to either side of the kayak, keeping your head as close to the surface as possible. Practice leaving your feet inside the cockpit, since you could be tipped in rough weather and you’ll want to ensure your kayak and paddle are still within reach.  

3)    Flip and jump back on. Once you’re out of the kayak and in the water, roll your kayak right-side up by jumping on top of it, grabbing the edge and pulling it towards you to flip it back over. Secure your paddle in the bungee cords/holder before you kick your legs in the water and jump up on to and over your kayak while at the same time pulling the cockpit under you. Keep pulling yourself across your kayak until you are centered and balanced.

4)    Keep calm and rotate your body. Stay lying across your kayak until you feel calm and stable enough to get your butt back in your seat. With the hand nearest the bow, grab the near side of your cockpit with palm reversed, slip the hip nearest the stern into your cockpit, and at the same time rotate and plop your butt into the seat. Remain sitting in this position, and practice paddling a bit until you’re ready to bring your legs into the kayak.

5)    Re-enter the kayak, one leg at a time. Lean back slowly, rotate your body and bring one leg into your kayak. Once you feel stable again, rotate some more and bring the other legs into the kayak. At this point, you can get your spray skirt back on (if you have one) on and bail or pump out water if needed.

For an excellent step-by-step tutorial on how to exit a tipped kayak, check out this site. For a demonstration on how to re-enter a kayak, watch this video.



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Camping Easily Forgotten Items

A list for you: Campings easiest to forget but hardest to live without items

For outdoor adventures, a little bit of preparation is vital. We all know the basic necessities that need to be thrown in the back of the car or the backpack, but what about those really important things that we often forget – those things that are super inconvenient when we need them, NOW, and don’t have them. 

Here’s a list to remind you of those essential-but-often-forgotten goodies.

Extra batteries: the flashlight won’t work without them, so remember to pack some spares just in case.

Can/bottle opener: you’re doomed if you’re hungry, the tin of food is beckoning, but you’ve got nothing to open it with. Your own teeth won’t suffice here I’m afraid.

Multipurpose knife: for all those ‘multipurpose’ jobs that always seem to come up during outdoor trips. It’s likely Dad’s favourite toy and he will show you how to handle it with pride, so listen up.

Lighter: nope, not for cigarettes, but for the campfire. Assuming there’s no fire ban in place, a campfire is one of the greatest joys (and necessities) of camping. Keep the kids back though, and Dad too if the Canadian Club comes out.

Rope: makeshift clothesline, tie things down, strap something on to the roof, lasoo a sasquatch…endless possibilities for this little gem.

Sunscreen: summer means sunburn if not careful. Cover up to avoid the lobster look.

First aid-kit: an essential item in the outdoor bag. Never know when or what you might need. Cover your bases. 

Bug repellant: many an outdoor adventure has been tarnished by invading bugs. Deter them with good quality bug spray and be kind when the strangers next door are slapping ferociously at mosquitos. Karma is a good thing, especially when camping.

Cooking utensils: ok, so you won’t have a gourmet kitchen around you, but you’ll need the basics to make your life easier. When Mom is happy, everyone is happy. Trust me.

Toothbrush: avoid grossness by practicing good oral hygiene. Pack your toothbrush please. And save money at your next visit to the Dentist.

Pack smart. Remember the easily forgotten things. Forget the everyday things. (The internet seems so wrong in the wilderness!) And be a happy camper. By: Kerry Hale