Kayak flips over

If my Kayak flips over will I get stuck in it upside down?

What happens if my Kayak flips over,will I get stuck in it ?

No,you will not get trapped in the Kayak.

What happens if my Kayak flips over is one of the most common questions people ask. A person sitting in a Kayak appears as though they would easily get stuck in it when it capsizes. So your concern is entirely legitimate.

Let me see if I can give an explanation that clarifies what happens when a Kayak flips over.  Additionally, maybe I can allay any fears you may have about this subject.

A Kayak flips over and is upside down in the river with a swimmer next to it during a walking rivers kayaking lesson
A capsize is nothing to worry about

It would be very rare for a person to not be out of the Kayak long before it gets even close to being upside down.  A Kayak cockpit may appear as though it encloses a person inside it. However,  it has a lot of free space around a paddlers torso. With so much space Kayak cockpits are very easy to exit if the kayak flips over.

All individuals are naturally hardwired to keep their head above water. The slightest hint that the Kayak has capsized will cause an immediate subconscious reaction, to protect one’s self. Without even being aware of the action taken, people find themselves floating on the surface beside the upturned Kayak.

The description above is what typically happens when a kayak flips over. Additionally, as a backup, Kayakers do have a simple procedure to follow that ensures a safe exit.
Walking Rivers guides are happy to practice this backup system before going onto the water if you feel you would like it.

  Procedure for self rescue if your Kayak flips over.

Immediately you realize the kayak is upside down and you have not come out of it start your conscious exit.

Do this by leaning forward as far as possible.  Next place your forehead on the deck if that helps to get you further forward. You’re under water profile will now be much more compact. A smaller profile contributes to preventing you from being injured. You don’t want to hit your head on rocks, logs, hidden treasure chests, etc.

Next, locate the spray skirt grab loop and pull it away from the cockpit rim to release the spray skirt.The loop should be under your chest on the front of the cockpit rim.

Now place each your hands down by your hips on the cockpit rim and push your body out of the kayak. Because you are leaning forward, your body will be in a C shape. It’s a form that naturally assists your legs to exit out of the Kayak.

Don’t panic, wearing a life jacket will pull you towards the surface.Make sure to hold onto the deck lines or a handle on either end of the Kayak so that the wind and waves do not separate you from your kayak.

Safety action for fast flowing water.

Being separated from your Kayak in fast flowing water requires you to do the following.

Lay on your back, cross your arms on your chest, lift your legs to the water surface and then point both feet downstream.If you hit a rock or obstacle your feet will hit first which will offer some protection.Your life jacket will support you as you travel downstream.

In the first calm water, you arrive at swim to the bank and wait for assistance.

After reading the above information, you should have a basic understanding of the different procedures in the event a Kayak flips over.Walking River guides will always make sure all participants are competent in self-rescue procedures before undertaking any activities that may require these skills.

For more information on kayaking safety and rescue courses check out the Australian Canoe Association website or check out our Course Schedule tab to book a lesson with us!