I am in the water, so now what do I do? That is a common question that anglers have if they come off their sit on top kayak in deep water. The angler should really be more concerned about the story of the fish that got away than worrying about how to get back on their kayak. After all, it is easy to reenter a sit on top kayak with a general understanding of how to do it. And it is difficult to create an original and interesting big fish tale to tell to our friends. Besides, who wants to hear about how we swam back onto the kayak.
If the swimming angler has a leash on their paddle and they are wearing a Personal Flotation Device then they will have less to concern themselves. The paddle will not float away. Moreover, the P.F.D. (life jacket) helps with flipping the kayak and swimming back onto it.
It is just a matter of relaxing to right a flipped sit on top. One only has to float on their back to get the task done. The angler should face the middle side of their kayak. Then float on their back with their legs going under the kayak and their toes pointing towards the sky on the opposite side of the boat. The hands rest on the kayak. Then to roll over the kayak the floating angler extends their arms up and the kayak will right itself. Just
remember to keep the arms up in case of the kayak does not successfully roll over the first time. The wearing of the P.F.D. makes this so effortless. The anglers needs little arm strength and their head remains out of water as they flip the kayak over all due to the buoyancy of the P.F.D.
To get back onto the kayak without assistance the angler only has to think about dolphins. At marine water, parks there are usually trained dolphin swimming on to a platform. An angler also gracefully glides onto their sit on top kayak. The P.F.D. also helps with getting out of the water. With hands on the side of the kayak, the angler prepares to float on their chest. Their feet should float near the surface of the water. To get out of the water the floating angler should then reach across the kayak and do a swimming kick. With chest on the kayak, rotate to face the back of the kayak. This action saves energy and lessens the chance of flipping again. All that remains is for the kayaker to move around on to their but. The movement is just like rolling around between the bed sheets.
If the angler has a friend paddling with them, they can parallel park their kayak to help. Two kayaks rafted next to each other shall make both boats more stable. All of the movements are the same to get back onto the kayak. Anglers only need to remember to relax, float, swim, and keep low to get into their kayak. This way an untimely roll will not prevent anyone from not getting back onto his or her kayak to catch that winning fish. ☻
Published in Onshore Offshore Magazine – July 2006 – pages 8-9