“How to get back on your kayak” a question we get asked all the time by first time kayak buyers. This guide is a brief run through how to get back on your kayak if you fall off. Anyone can do this and all you need is practice.
Righting the kayak
If your kayak is upside down these are the steps to take to right it, there are 2 ways you can do this. Push Pull & Body Weight momentum.
With either technique, to avoid tangles and injury make sure all leashes, ropes fishing hooks etc are identified and out of the way before you attempt to right the kayak.
Push pull technique simply means you get to the center of the kayak reach under the kayak to grab the opposite side handle Put your other hand on the handle closest to you then pull the opposite side handle while pushing the handle closest to you which will flip the kayak. Then clear the deck any other clutter and get ready to get back on.
(if your kayak has no handles then use the grab line or seat strap, if none of these then use the Body weight option instead).
This technique is best used for wider kayaks, heavier kayaks and those with no way to grab a handle from underneath. Position yourself close to the center of the kayak, kick your feet out behind you so your floating like using a kickboard in a pool. Then kick as hard as you can pulling yourself onto the kayak reaching as far over the other side as possible. Grab hold then lean back letting your body weight and momentum right the kayak as you fall back.
If the kayak is very wide just move closer to either end where it starts to narrow until you feel you are at a point where you can get over the kayak to pull it over. TIP – if you can’t grab the other side of the kayak then reach for a scupper hole and grab from there which will help grip it to roll it back
Once righted clear the lines and any other clutter and get ready to get back on
Getting back on
Position yourself close to the center of the kayak, kick your feet out behind you so your floating like using a kickboard in a pool. Reach over the side of the kayak and kick at the same time pulling yourself onto the kayak so your lying stomach down over the seat position then pause in this position.
Keeping your body position low turn in the seat so you’re now sitting side saddle with feet in the water. At this point you can decide whether your comfortable bringing your legs into the cockpit one leg at a time or just relax and gain your composure.
Practice practice and practice again, do it with your life jacket on as this will affect the ability to get back on. If your finding it hard to get back on using this technique you may want to consider researching the use of a paddle float for assisted rescue as demonstrated in the video below.