@2018 Robert Aylesworth

bobaylesworthoutdoors@gmail.com             WIndsor, Ontario Canada

Getting Back In

So you did a wet exit. That means you are in the water with your paddle in one hand and your boat in the other. Chances are you would like to get back in your boat.

The Shore Rescue

If you capsize your boat near shore you should be able to easily self rescue by swimming the boat to shore, empty it in shallow water and re-enter it.


This one topic does not seem to be well covered on YouTube. This video is made by a racing coach so it involves very narrow and tippy kayaks. The techniques will work for any boats with floatation in rear. If you have a boat without flotation you will be interested in the second video.

Some Variations


In the video on the left Gordon Brown demonstrates the peer rescue using the "heel hook" re-entry method. I find this method to be very effective for fit paddlers. It is sometimes promoted as a good method for people who lack upper body strength but I have not found this to always be the case.

The video to the right calls it an X rescue, but doesn't pull the kayak all the way up on the rescuing boat (which is my understanding of the x variation). It also shows the old school between boat re-entry. But I do like that they show the complete finish with the rescuer assisting the swimmer get their spray skirt on.

In a Rec Boat

"Recreational" kayaks typically are shorter, wider and taller than touring kayaks. Some do not have any floatation while others have it only in the rear. This all adds up to a lot of problems righting a boat and getting the paddler back in.

This video demonstrates one technique that might be worth trying. Notice that he swimmer climbs directly into the large cockpit.

The good news is that rec kayaks are very stable and their owners are not as likely to paddle in challenging conditions.

The Peer or T Rescue (Assisted Re-entry)


If you are out of your boat in deep water with out an appropriate shore near by then will be happy that you are paddling with someone who knows how to help you.

The internet is full of videos illustrating this. There are a number of steps involved, and a number of ways to do each step. Which technique works best depends on the type of boats involved, the strength of both the rescuer and swimmer and personal preference.

So we start with Nigel Foster demonstrating the most commonly taught techniques.

Paddle Float Re-entry (Unassisted Re-entry)


So what if you are alone? Or your paddling partners are not in a position to help?

Mike Aronoff demonstrates how to use a paddle float to re-enter your boat and then pump it out. Notice that he uses the deck lines behind the cockpit to hold the paddle in place and puts a leg on the paddle shaft while he climbs on the back deck.

They then show how a strap can be used create a foot stirrup to help climb back in. Some of you will find this can be very useful.

And then they show a re-entry and roll. This is a much more advanced move, but I think they wanted to show all the uses of a paddle float.

Another Perspective

This is a snip it from one of Gordon Brown's  excellent DVDs.

He doesn't bother securing the paddle under deck lines, he just hauls himself up on top of the paddle. And then, because he has such an excellent British Boat, he doesn't need to pump. He just puts the skirt on and paddles on.

Excellent technique. Something for us to aspire to. But don't expect to be any where near as good as Gordon Brown with out a lot of practice.

Paddle Float Re-entry with Heal Hook


Jeremy Vore gives a nice demonstration and explanation of a paddle float re-entry using the "Heal Hook" re-entry technique.