How To Re-Enter A Kayak In Deep Water (Best Tips)

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How To Re-enter A Kayak In Deep Water.

Whether you’ve been kayaking for a while, or you’re just getting started, you may have all kinds of questions regarding the safety. You may have already learned about getting into a kayak from ashore, and a bunch of golden rules to follow. Kayaking is a lot of fun, it is highly versatile, and it has excellent health benefits too.

It can be really thrilling, but a good number of people who are new to kayaking lose their composure out of excitement when they reach the water. As a result, they go straight into the water unprepared, physically and mentally. It’s one of those moments when paddlers will panic, and their minds go haywire when something happens. This is why you need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario and know how to face any challenges both in theory and in practice.

If you’re a beginner, you may feel quite nervous to imagine flipping over when paddling in deep waters. Although you may not experience a flip over when paddling in calm water, knowing how to flip over a boat and making a re-entry is absolutely necessary for anyone who is into this fantastic and beneficial sport.

Today, we will talk about the various techniques you can use to re-enter a kayak in deep water.

How to re-enter a kayak in deep waters: The techniques.

  1. Flip your kayak so that it is right-side-up and put your gear back into it.
  2. With your bellybutton centered with the kayak, slowly climb back in. 
  3. Hold both sides of the kayak and kick your feet to get on top of the water.
  4. Slowly pull yourself into the kayak until you parallel, inside the kayak
  5. Start to resituate yourself into the proper sitting position

If you have witnessed an experienced kayaker flip over and making a re-entry, you may have thought that it’s effortlessly done. But, the task of re-entering a kayak in deep water is not so easy. It takes a lot of practice to be able to do it without wasting too much of your energy. Here are some tips which you should always put into practice to facilitate this task.

As a general rule, it is always safe to wear a Personal Floating Device. It will allow you to resurface faster and effortlessly.

Be calm, panicking will not help you in any way. It will only make things worse, so maintain your cool. This will help you make the right decision even in an emergency situation. When you’re in a panic mode, the ability to do things easily will be hampered. So, be steady and calm, but you need to act fast. Try to remember the following steps and use them to re-enter your boat.

    • Reach over and flip your kayak that’s floating upside down. Keep in mind that your boat’s compartments will be filled with water if it is not flipped over as soon as you can. The sooner you do this, the better and easier it becomes. As you come out of the water after flipping over, grab your essential gear such as the paddle.

To flip over your kayak, you need to reach one of your hands across to the other side of your boat around the center where the compartment is, and firmly grab the side of the kayak. Use your other hand to push the kayak downwards as the other hand pulls it back up. Both of your hands should apply force in the opposite direction, this will make your task much more manageable.

You can also use both your hands to pull it back up. When using this method, place one of your knees at the side of the boat, and it will help you turn the boat with ease.

    • Now that your boat is in position, you can get back in. This part is a little tricky, but with some practice, you can get the feel. Do not try to get back in hurriedly, as you may flip over again. Your priority here is to get your bellybutton right at the center of the boat above the seat.

To do this, use both hands to hold on to either side of the boat, paddle your feet up near the surface of the water, and give yourself a little push with your feet. At the same time use your upper body strength to pull yourself up. Your abdomen should rest right over the center of the seat. Rest in that position for a few seconds until the boat is stable.

    • The next step is to get your butt in the seat, again use your upper body strength to lift yourself up and land your butt on the seat. Don’t place your feet in position yet, wait till you’re stable and the boat comes to rest. Then you can keep your feet in place and start paddling.

You can apply the same technique even for a sit-inside kayak. But if you choose, you can use a different technique which is popularly known as “Eskimo roll” Or “Kayak roll.” Learn all about Eskimo roll here. Also, here is more information on how to right a capsized kayak.

You should also consider participating in a kayak capsize drill. You will get to experience the feel of a real-life situation. It will help you prepare yourself physically and mentally.

Do kayaks flip over easy?

  • No, but they can flip over in the right situations

Most recreational kayaks are well balanced and do not flip over or capsize so easily. Of course, if you’re paddling in white water, the risk of capsizing is high. But it’s not a problem you have to be worried about if you’re in calm waters. So, the answer to the question, “Do kayaks tip over easy?” is no. It really depends on two factors. Let’s discuss them further.

The type of kayak you choose is really important. For most starters, recreational kayaks are recommended because these are among the most stable and have a very little chance of tipping over. The ultra-light boats, on the other hand, which are mostly used by the experts, are much easier to flip over. These types of kayaks are pretty narrow, and they are fast, this is why expert paddlers use them.

The other factor is the type of water you’re in. A kayak capsizing in calm water is very rare unless the weather decides to turn against you and send huge waves on your way. But it’s very easy to tip over when paddling in white water or fast-moving water.

During the course of kayaking, it is not entirely possible to prevent the flip. But you can do a few things to avoid capsizing. As already mentioned, the weather is a major factor that can jeopardize the safety of the kayakers. It is simply the smartest choice to avoid rough weather. Always read the weather forecast before heading out in the water. There is always a next time, so avoid going into the water if the weather is inclement.

Learn the required techniques such as the low and high brace, and learn to balance your kayak right.

Can a sit on top kayak sink?

  • yes but not very easily. Too much weight would most like be the cause of a sinking sit-on-top

A sit-on-top kayak is not so easy to sink. In fact, it’s not something that you will see quite often. A combination of factors is what keeps these boats afloat. Sit-on-top kayaks are designed to self bail and have better buoyancy. However, this does not mean that these kayaks are unsinkable. Loading your kayak with more than the maximum weight limit or damaging it can easily sink your kayak.

Let’s consider some of the factors which can help you prevent your sit-on-top kayak from sinking.

You should always see that the weight is distributed equally; the front, the back, and the sides. Also make sure that you’re not carrying excess weight, pack only what is necessary. This should include essential items such as the first aid kit, and drinking water, etc.

When kayaking, avoid getting hit by a rock or other objects which may break or puncture your boat. You should also ensure that your boat is made of sturdy materials that will be able to take several hits. You cannot always avoid obstacles. Most importantly, carefully inspect your boat for any holes or deep scratches before making trips.

If your kayak has storage hatches, never leave it opened. Most sit-on-top kayaks with a storage hatch feature do not provide a drain hole. This can be a problem if water fills in – your boat will lose its balance, and its buoyancy will be significantly reduced. Your storage compartment must be closed as soon as you use it. Also carrying a cup is a good idea, it will be very handy in case you need to bail out the water. Although you may not sink, there is a high chance that you may tip over or capsize.

Manufacturers of the sit-on-top kayaks added a scupper hole for a good reason. These holes are designed to allow the water that comes in the deck to flow out. So, be sure to leave a few holes unplugged. Some people also use float bags on top of the storage compartments to add more buoyancy and stability. But again, sit-on-top kayaks are almost unsinkable, so you need not worry too much.

Is a kayak easier to flip than a canoe?

  • Yes, canoes have a wider girth making them harder to tip over

The significant difference between a kayak and a canoe is their purpose and the way they are designed and built. Canoes are designed to carry more passengers and equipment, and they are much larger and wider. While kayaks are narrow boats designed for speed and maneuverability. So, it’s obvious that canoes are much more stable than kayaks, which means it’s much harder for a canoe to flip over.

The question about the stability of a kayak is what nags a lot of kayakers during the early days. But the answer is yes; kayaks are incredibly stable and are very versatile. In fact, a kayak fares better than canoes in the waves and in fairly rough water. This is because kayaks have most of its body enclosed, which prevents the water from entering, while canoes are exposed.

Generally speaking, canoes have more advantages in terms of stability because they have a more massive hull. But they are only limited to calm waters, and they can be a whole lot of trouble if the water is rough. When it comes to speed and maneuverability, kayaks are the ultimate winners. Also, kayaks are lighter and smaller than a canoe, so yes, they are much easier to flip over even if they capsize.

Another advantage that kayaks have over canoes is that they are not so easy to sink. In case they flip over, they float on water and allow the paddler to get back on and continue paddling. Whereas in the case of canoes, it’s quite the opposite. Canoes may be hard to capsize, but in case they do, they sink very easily.


Are kayaks stable? Does kayak sink? These are often asked by a lot of people who are new to kayaking. Many experts are of the view that this sport must be taken seriously, especially for the stressed-out people and the others having a weight problem. It’s true that kayaking is an excellent stress reliever, and has numerous benefits related to health.

Today, the numbers of kayakers are increasing at a rapid pace. But, unfortunately, many people do not pay attention to safety rules. There have been unfortunate incidents in the past which has claimed lives, and the reasons are none other than “ignoring the golden rules, and not being prepared.”

Re-entering a kayak in deep water is no easy feat; it takes a lot of practice. It’s something that even the experts find intimidating at certain times and conditions. You can try practicing the techniques discussed above in calm waters. But, have someone beside you to ensure safety in case something goes wrong.

Flipping over a kayak that is upside down can be perfected in just a short time, but getting aboard is the hardest part. You may flip over the kayak when attempting to make an entry. This is why it’s important to let someone stick around, you never know when you will need help. Most importantly, wear your PFD at all times when paddling.