How to Upright Your Kayak

Are you ready to take your kayaking skills to the next level? Of all the kayaking tips, this is one of the most important for your safety. With these helpful tips, you'll be on your way to learning how to upright safely, and get back on track in no time.

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How to Upright an Overturned Kayak

Though you may not be able to use this kayaking tip right away—it takes practice—it's important you know the steps to take in the event your kayak does in fact overturn. With patience you'll learn the four steps in no time.

  1. First, place your body across the beam of the hull - with your arms on one side, your feet on the other
  2. Place your feet at approximately body width apart on one edge
  3. Place your hands a bit wide apart on the other side and grab the rim (or as close to it as you can)
  4. On the count of three... with all your strength - push down with your feet while pulling the cockpit rim to "flip it" until the kayak turns. This usually takes a few tries.

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Now you're upright but the kayak is swamped! What to do?

If you have added kayak flotation to the fore and aft of your kayak, this will be easier. A solo kayaker can re-enter using a paddle float (an inflatable or foam cushion attached to one of the paddle blades) to stabilize the kayak and provide assistance.

Kick to propel yourself onto the deck,secure the paddle,grab the hand pump and bail out the water. An assisted rescue utilizes a second kayak for stabilization instead of a paddle float.

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How To Tow Your Kayak

If you cannot re-enter the cockpit, you need to tow it. For the purpose of towing another paddler, carry a float line, about 20 feet in length; a kayaking tip that can come in handy in other situations, as well. It helps to have "clips" on the ends, as well, but they're not required.

If you or a partner capsizes, you will need to first upright the kayak, as described above, then bail as much water out of it that you can with a hand pump.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Schaffer is dedicated to kayaking beginners. Covering all the basic "how to's" and more to get you paddling safely and with confidence.

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