Capsize and Re-Entry
Before setting off on your trip, it is vital you “bleed” the air from your Dry suit. This process is done by pulling gently at your neck gasket and crouching. This process will remove air from the suit. In a capsize scenario air is something you do not want in your suit. Another process is to walk into the water, again pulling at the seal & the pressure of the water against the suit will draw the air out of the suit. Failure to remove air from your suit could cause unwanted buoyancy.
You’ve launched your kayak and you’re on your way when a wave or swell hits you side on, you loose all stability and before you know it you’re in the water.
1st thing to set in is panic, easily said but DON’T PANIC. Keep hold of the kayak as this is your primary buoyancy aid, a bigger object is easier to find than somebody floating unaided. Once you have composed yourself it’s time to react.. Firstly, you need to reach under the kayak & grab the side handle, in one motion you pull that side down into the water pushing the nearest side of the kayak into the air, thus causing the kayak to right itself. Pulling the kayak towards you to right it could cause injury & should be avoided.
Now the kayak is upright, you’ve got to get yourself back on. There are various methods/equipment to use, generally down to personal preference what equipment you carry, if any. The technique generally used consists of:
- Grab the nearest side of the kayak using both hands
- Lay flat & let your legs float behind
Once these steps are completed, in one motion, kick your legs and pull yourself onto the kayak, grabbing the opposite side handle as an aid. Once you’re laying flat over the kayak, the tricky bit is to swivel into your seat. Once you’re sat in your seat and before you carry on, take a moment to gather yourself then carry on your activity.
Worst case scenario, You’re on your own & due to fatigue you fail to get onto your kayak after attempts. A call to the coastguard will need to be made using your VHF Radio.
From a safety aspect, you should always go out in a group, therefore if a rescue is needed the group can help each other.