When your kayak flips over on the water, and you need to get out of the vessel immediately, the skill required to do that is referred to as a wet exit. It is an excellent skill a kayaker must know to safely get out of the boat, especially when they wear a spray skirt to protect themselves from the water splashes.
Moreover, don’t panic and put yourself in any life-threatening situation with your actions. That’s why in this guidepost, you’ll learn how to do a wet exit from your kayak following simple guidelines.
1- What to Do Before Heading Out on the Water
- Ensure you can see and reach the grab loop in your spray skirt on the outside of the cockpit comfortably.
- Plus, you must wear a PFD at all times while you’re on the water.
2- What to Do When You Capsize
When you find yourself capsizing, you must remain calm instead of making any jerky movement. Here are a few steps you can follow during those few seconds before you’re underwater:
- Try holding on to your paddle. However, we suggest not to panic even if you lose it since you can simply retrieve it later once you’re out of the water.
- Also, take a quick deep breath before hitting the water since you’ll need to hold on to your breath after you capsize.
- Lastly, you should lean forward as much as possible (mimicking the ‘kissing the deck’ pose) because this position sets you up for performing a wet exit much more conveniently.
3- What to Do When You’re Underwater
For the actual wet exit, you’ll need to remove your spray skirt before you could remove yourself from the kayak. Here’s how you can do that:
Removing Spray Skirt
- Hold on to the sides of the cockpit’s coaming with both hands. However, if you managed to grab your paddle before hitting the water, you can only use your free hand instead.
- Now, slide your hand(s) forward until you have the spray skirt’s grab loop in your hand and give it a tight pull to make it come off.
- Once the spray skirt is out of the picture, you should place your hand(s) next to your hips, on the sides of the cockpit.
- Now, bring your knees together so that you can disengage them from the kayak’s thigh braces.
- Then you can quickly push off of the coaming while propelling yourself forward.
- Your personal floatation device will take care of the rest to help you float back up to the water’s surface.
At last, once you’re back above water, you can retrieve your paddle and grab your boat to flip it over in the right direction. It’s also crucial that you throw out the accumulated water from the vessel after entering the kayak, so it doesn’t affect your stability on the water afterward.