Re-Entering a Kayak After Flipping




Kayaking is a very enjoyable outdoor activity. It's always fun, whether you're putting around the cottage dock, paddling through white caps in the ocean or going on river trips. Kayaking is something anybody can learn, and something that everybody enjoys. No matter how experienced you are or how expensive your kayak is, it WILL flip over and you WILL be dunked in the water. Sometimes shore can be miles away. In this instructable you will learn how to re-enter a kayak after flipping.

Things you'll need:

Kayak and paddle

Bailing bucket (I use milk jug with the bottom cut off)

Hand pump (optional)


Life jacket

Step 1: Flip Kayak Back Over

It's important to always wear a life jacket, it will keep you afloat after you have flipped and will allow you to use your hands to bail out the kayak. It can be important to move fast (especially when the water is cold) make sure you kick with your feet to keep you afloat, and to keep you warm. Remain calm, start to put your weight on one side of the kayak until it rolls over so the cockpit if facing up. Shove one end of paddle into the cockpit so it doesn't float away.

Step 2: Bail Out Water

You can either use a bailing bucket or a hand pump for this, I like to use a bailing bucket because I can get more water out faster. Keep bailing until you get the majority of the water out and the kayak should look more buoyant.

Step 3: Enter Kayak

This is the tricky part! And without practice it may take a few trys. Enter from the stern of the kayak. Push the stern down and straddle. Sometimes leaving some water in the cockpit will actually help to way down the stern, making it easier to climb on. Try to keep your body in the middle, make sure to keep your center of gravity low and pull yourself until you reach the cockpit. Then carefully move your legs in front of your body and sit down. Pull paddle out of cockpit. The more you practice this the better you get.

Step 4: Use Sponge to Remove Remaining Water

Congratulations! You're back in your kayak! Use the sponge to remove the remaining water and enjoy your paddle!



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    6 Discussions


    3 years ago on Step 4

    Very Nice! I was expecting "roll" instructions,but this is not only interesting, but could possibly work better for kayakers who aren't as skilled or as strong as those who can "roll". Good job!



    3 years ago on Step 3

    I have been sea kayaking for more then thirty years, and have been professionally teaching the sport for well over twenty. The key to most kayak re-entries is to keep your center of gravity low. Raising your hips into the air as shown in picture two will reduce your chances of success, particularly in rougher waters. Instead you should be hugging the boat, with your legs straddling it as much as possible, until your hips are over the cockpit and then rock your hips back down into the seat, with your legs still straddling the outside of the boat. After that it's relatively simple to bring first one leg, and then the other into the cockpit with you.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Really good info, and clearly demonstrated! I rent kayaks now and then, and although they always come with a lifejacket, no one has ever mentioned have something to bail with if needed - now I'll remember to bring something myself. Thank you!


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Great tutorial! I've always wondered how kayakers could get back in.. Now I know, thanks!