As an avid kayaker, you know how important it is to transport your kayak safely and…
When it comes to exiting a kayak, a dry exit is always preferable. However, sometimes circumstances are such that you have no choice but to do a wet exit.
What Is A Wet Exit?
A wet exit is when your kayak tips over. Unless you know how to roll, you must wet exit the boat.
Wet exits are one of the very first skills new kayakers should master– the steps should be second nature before even setting foot in a boat.
How Do You Do A Wet Exit?
A wet exit involves several steps. First, as you are tipping stabilize yourself by placing one hand on each side of the kayak.
Try to do this while not releasing your grip on your paddle, as well.
Once the boat has tipped and you’re underwater, you’ll need to release your spray skirt if you’re wearing one.
All you need to do is locate the release rope, usually at the front of the compartment. Tug on the rope, and the skirt will release.
Once the skirt has released, bring your knees to your chest and push yourself out of the kayak.
Your lifejacket will take over at that point, and bring you to the surface.
How Do I Save My Stuff?
Hopefully, your stuff was stashed securely in your kayak’s compartment bin, or fastened to a tie-down.
If not, there is a good chance your gear will float away. Try to grab what you can without losing a grip on your kayak and paddle, but maintaining contact with those two things has to take priority over anything else.
You don’t want to find yourself literally up a creek without a paddle.
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How Do I Get Back In My Kayak?
If you are alone, you must either swim to shore with your boat and paddle or perform a self-rescue in the water.
There are two options for your paddles. If you have a paddle float (a small flotation device that slides over one of your paddles), and the water is relatively calm, you may opt to use your paddle for leverage as you re-embark your kayak.
If the water is too choppy or you don’t have a paddle float, you’ll need to flip your kayak over and then either stash the paddle inside the compartment or lay it along the top of the compartment to be used for balance later.
To flip over the kayak, grab ahold of one side and gently turn it over.
The kayak should right itself easily. If you have a paddle float, lay your paddle over the top of the kayak with the float in the water.
Swim up to the back of your kayak, and grab ahold of the far side of the boat. If you have the paddle float, wrap your feet around the paddle and use it to climb on top of the boat.
If not, use your arms to pull yourself on top of the boat. If you used the paddle, grab it and stash it inside the compartment at this time.
Swing your legs around and into the compartment, and gently lower yourself onto the seat.
If you are with a partner, have your partner brace the boat with both of your paddles and assist you as you climb up on the back of your kayak.
Swing your legs into the compartment and lower yourself onto the seat.
Wet exits and re-entries are important skills for any new kayaker to master.