Video: Getting Back Into a Touring Kayak

Video Getting Back Into Touring KayakAre you a kayaker looking to enhance your skills and confidence on the water? In this video, we will explore the best techniques for getting back into a touring kayak after a flip, without the need for a roll. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, mastering these re-entry techniques is crucial for your safety and enjoyment.

In this informative video, we will delve into the assisted bow tip out technique and the side-sit re-entry technique. These techniques have been recommended by kayaking experts and demonstrated in instructional videos, ensuring that you receive the most accurate and reliable information.

Don’t miss out on this valuable resource! Watch the video and learn the essential skills needed to safely re-enter your touring kayak. Whether you’re planning a day trip or a multi-day expedition, being prepared for potential capsizes is key. So grab your paddle and get ready to enhance your kayaking abilities!

The Importance of Bulkheads and Float Bags

In a touring kayak, having proper bulkheads and float bags is of utmost importance. Bulkheads are walls that divide the kayak into separate compartments, providing dry storage areas and helping to maintain buoyancy. Most touring kayaks are equipped with bulkheads behind the seat and in front of the feet, dividing the kayak into three compartments. These bulkheads prevent the kayak from completely filling up with water in case of a flip, making it easier to recover and re-enter the kayak safely.

If a touring kayak doesn’t have built-in bulkheads, using float bags is an essential alternative. Float bags are inflatable bags that are placed in the bow and stern of the kayak. They help maintain buoyancy and prevent the kayak from sinking or taking on excessive water. Without bulkheads or float bags, it is not recommended to venture into deeper waters where the kayaker cannot stand up and easily drag the boat to shore.

Having proper buoyancy through bulkheads or float bags is crucial for safety and stability while kayaking. It ensures that even in the event of a capsize, the kayak remains afloat and recoverable, allowing the paddler to re-enter the kayak and continue their journey.

Benefits of Bulkheads and Float Bags
Prevent kayak from completely filling up with water during a flip
Provide dry storage areas for equipment
Help maintain buoyancy and prevent sinking
Ensure safety and stability while kayaking

Assisted Bow Tip Out Technique

In the event of a flip while kayaking, the assisted bow tip out technique is a valuable skill to quickly recover and re-enter your kayak. This technique involves the assistance of another kayaker to dump out water and facilitate the uprighting of the kayak. By knowing how to perform this technique effectively, you can improve your chances of a successful re-entry without the need for a roll.

Performing the Assisted Bow Tip Out Technique

To execute the assisted bow tip out technique, a rescuer should position their kayak perpendicular to the capsized kayak. The rescuer then grabs the bow of the capsized kayak, anchoring it to their kayak. Working together, the rescuer and the person in the water should rock the kayak back and forth to dislodge as much water as possible. The goal is to drain the water and create buoyancy for the kayak to roll back into an upright position.

Once the kayak is upright, the person in the water can re-enter the kayak using their preferred method, such as a side-sit re-entry or paddle float re-entry. The assisted bow tip out technique is an effective way to quickly drain water from the kayak and prepare for re-entry, allowing for a smoother and more efficient recovery process.

Advantages Considerations
Simultaneous water drainage Requires assistance from another kayaker
Provides quick water expulsion May not be suitable for solo kayakers
Facilitates easier kayak uprighting Requires coordination between rescuer and person in the water

The assisted bow tip out technique is a valuable skill to have in your repertoire when it comes to re-entering a flipped kayak. By practicing this technique and becoming comfortable with it, you can enhance your ability to recover from a flip and get back on the water with confidence.

Side-Sit Re-Entry Technique

The side-sit re-entry technique is a quick and efficient method for re-entering a kayak after a flip. It is a commonly used technique that allows the paddler to quickly regain control of their kayak and continue their journey. This technique is especially useful in situations where a quick re-entry is necessary, such as in rough water or adverse weather conditions.

To perform the side-sit re-entry technique, the swimmer should approach the kayak from the back of the cockpit. They should grasp the cockpit rim firmly with their hands and use a powerful kick of the legs and push with the arms to haul their chest onto the stern of the kayak. Once their torso is on the stern, they can slide back into the cockpit while twisting around to their normal sitting position.

The side-sit re-entry technique is particularly effective because it allows the swimmer to quickly regain stability in the kayak. By sitting on the stern of the kayak before sliding back into the cockpit, the paddler can maintain balance and control throughout the re-entry process. This technique minimizes the risk of capsizing again and allows the paddler to continue paddling without wasting precious time.

Removing Excess Water

After successfully using the assisted bow tip out technique or the side-sit re-entry technique to get back into your kayak, there may still be a significant amount of water inside the cockpit. It’s important to remove excess water before resuming paddling to maintain stability and prevent further water accumulation.

To remove the excess water, you can use a hand-operated bilge pump or a sponge. The bilge pump is a device specifically designed for pumping out water from the interior of a kayak. Simply insert the pump into the cockpit, press the handle, and the water will be expelled through the pump’s spout. Alternatively, you can use a sponge to soak up the water from the cockpit and wring it out over the side of the kayak.

Make sure to continue stabilizing the kayak while removing the water to prevent it from capsizing again. Once you have pumped out the water, put the spray skirt back on, and ensure everything is secure, you’ll be ready to continue your paddling journey without the added weight and instability of excess water.

Self Rescue Techniques

If you find yourself kayaking alone or without a paddling crew nearby, it is important to know self-rescue techniques to ensure your safety in case of a flip. One of the primary steps in self-rescue is performing a wet exit. This involves intentionally capsizing the kayak and exiting it while underwater. To execute a successful wet exit, push your hands on top of the kayak’s deck and arch your body forward, allowing your legs to slide out of the cockpit. Remember to stay calm and practice this maneuver to build muscle memory and confidence.

After performing a wet exit, the next step is to retrieve the paddle float. The paddle float is a buoyant device that attaches to your paddle blade, providing stability and support during re-entry. Hook one of your legs inside the cockpit to secure yourself, and then deploy the paddle float by slipping it onto the blade of your paddle, ensuring it inflates fully. This will act as an outrigger to help stabilize the kayak during the re-entry process.

Once the paddle float is in place, flip the kayak back over using a sweeping motion with your arms, ensuring it is parallel to the water’s surface. To re-enter the kayak, position yourself at the stern and kick your legs while pushing with your arms, hauling your chest onto the kayak’s deck. Slide your legs back into the cockpit while twisting around to your normal sitting position. This side-sit re-entry technique allows for a quick and efficient return to the kayak.

It is important to note that self-rescue techniques should be practiced in a controlled environment to ensure familiarity and confidence. Additionally, consider learning advanced rescues such as the roll and T-rescue to expand your skill set and preparedness for more challenging situations. By mastering these self-rescue techniques, you can enhance your safety and enjoyment while kayaking, even when venturing out on your own.


In conclusion, mastering kayak re-entry techniques is vital for all kayakers. The assisted bow tip out and side-sit re-entry techniques provide effective and reliable methods for getting back into your touring kayak after a flip. Practicing these techniques in a controlled environment will help build confidence and ensure you are prepared to handle unexpected situations on the water.

Remember, safety should always be the top priority. Consider taking lessons or seeking guidance from experienced guides or instructors to enhance your skills and knowledge. By prioritizing safety and practicing these kayak re-entry techniques, you can enjoy your kayaking adventures with peace of mind.

Additionally, it is important to practice self-rescue techniques, such as the wet exit and paddle float re-entry, particularly when paddling alone. These skills will provide you with the ability to handle challenging situations and ensure your own safety.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced kayaker, continually honing your kayak re-entry skills and staying up to date with the latest techniques will greatly contribute to your overall kayaking proficiency and enjoyment on the water.

Richard Dodds

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