The Capsize Drill for a Closed Cockpit Kayak

by Matt Stephens - Date: 2007-01-20 - Word Count: 699 Share This!

Capsizing and Escaping from a Closed Cockpit Kayak - The Basic and First Procedure


When kayaking one of the most crucial things to be able to do is escape from your kayak should you need to, for example if you capsize and are unable to roll back up and there is no one else in the vicinity to rescue you (using a T Rescue, or often called an Eskimo Rescue).

Before setting out on the water the correct equipment should be worn; buoyancy aid (life jacket), helmet, warm clothing - dry, semi dry kagool or clothing to protect from elements (sun, rain, wind), appropriate foot wear. Other optional equipment includes a spray deck (covering the cockpit, stopping water to enter the kayak) in the form of cloth or neoprene.

The Capsize and Escape Drill (in a scenario)

You are out paddling on the river with your local kayak club on mild water (grade 1 - 2) and find you loose balance within some moving water and consequently end upside down. You have not yet learnt to self rescue (screw roll, hand roll) yourself back up.

1) Don't panic - doing so will reduce the amount of time you are able to hold your breath and may also lead to mistakes. Relax...that's the key.

2) When the kayak's settled in the water (ie. not still rolling over) its time for the most important part of the drill, Three loud bangs on the bottom of the kayak. To do this simply lean forwards (moving your head towards the spray deck) and reaching your hands out of the water onto the base of the kayak, in the middle of the cockpit area. From here bang three times.

This allows other kayakers near to you to be aware of your situation and take appropriate action.

This could lead to your being rescued in the form of an Eskimo Rescue.

3) Next, whilst remaining leant forward, move your hands into the same position as the three bangs stage above. This time however, bring your hands further towards the front of the kayak (around level with the front of your cockpit) whilst keeping them out of the water. They should now be positioned to the side of the kayak.

Now whilst holding this position, move your hands so that the palms of your hand are facing you (meaning your little finger is touching the kayak on both sides). Now move both hands down to the rear of the kayak, slowly, whilst keeping them out of the water as if you were directing a lorry reversing into a space.

Once your hands are level with the rear of the cockpit (around level with the back of your seat), turn your palms around so that they now face the front of the kayak. Then move them in a Reciprocating fashion, back and forth from front to back. See diagram below.

See diagram:

This may seem silly but this allows you to find the nose of a kayak should someone try to Eskimo Rescue you by bringing their kayak in a T Shape to yours.

If this were a Eskimo Rescue you'd now pull yourself from the other kayakers kayak back up.

Lets continue as if there was no-one to rescue you, meaning you now need to escape the kayak and get wetter.

4) Pull the loop/strap/hoop at the front of your cockpit which is attached to your spray deck (the device that stops water entering your kayak).

This releases your deck, and water will start to enter your kayak. Don't panic!

5) Next whilst remaining in your kayak move your hands to behind the rear of your seat, with one hand either side of the kayak.

Push off from here using your hands, and you will naturally pivot out of your kayak in a sort of side ways "U" Shape.

6) You are now swimming in the water, whilst keeping hold of your paddle and kayak swim to the nearest or safest get out point (such as a slipway or fishing platform) and make an egress.

Note: whilst swimming a fellow kayaker may be able to empty your kayak of water and get you back in whilst still remaining on the river. This is called an "X Rescue".

Empty kayak and keep warm, by wrapping up and keeping out of the wind.

Related Tags: work, water, spray, deck, kayak, kayaking, drill, river, closed, cockpit, capsize, canoeing, escaping

Matt Stephens
Evesham Paddlesport, 2007
The Vale of Evesham's Kayak and Canoe Club

Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

© The article above is copyrighted by it's author. You're allowed to distribute this work according to the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs license.

Recent articles in this category:

Most viewed articles in this category: