Survival: Sea Kayak Flip

Do a T-rescue for a flipped sea kayak.
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Do a T-rescue for a flipped sea kayak.



If I Only Knew Then (Feature Narrative) | Recognize Grizzly Behavior | Save Yourself in Whitewater | First Aid Emergencies | Unsafe Snow Conditions | Unexpected Accidents | Make Good Judgment Calls

Get Back into a Capsized Sea Kayak


You can’t always see whitecaps when the wind is at your back. That was my first realization as I was being swept out into the Gulf of Mexico during a paddle trip in the Everglades. But it was my second thought that paralyzed me: I didn’t know what to do if my closed-deck boat turned over. My partner and I had charged into the open ocean without figuring out how to right, remount, and bail a boat. We escaped (fear does wonderful things for balance, it turns out), and promptly learned how to do a T-rescue—in calm water. Here’s how:

1. Pull/push the swamped boat onto the other kayak’s bow, and flip the boat upside down to dump the water.

2. Ease it upright and positioned parallel to the rescue kayak.

3. While the rescuer steadies the boat, the swimmer climbs onto the now-righted kayak and shimmies back into the cockpit. Remove remaining water with a bilge pump.

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Sea Kayak Flip

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