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Home > Boats > Kayaking > Wet Exit

Kayak Wet Exit

The wet exit is part of paddling just like paddle and boat. Get used to it. Soon you will enjoy it, not merely at the end of a session, but as a way to cool off. Wear some comfy, but robust clothes to avoid scrapes and bruises.

Prepare to Capsize

It is natural for you to feel some apprehension and excitement before to your first wet exit, so you may want to do the first one without the spray deck in place. Have friends to help out when needed or to empty the boat.

Some people feel somewhat concerend about getting stuck in the cockpit. This is not a problem. The trick is actually staying in the cockpit. Without thigh braces you will simply fall out of the boat. It is difficult to convince beginners of this.

Find the point where the boat tips over

This is exciting fun because you don't quite know when you hit the water. Sit inside and lean over slowly to get feel for the boat's stability. Wiggle about and tilt the boat. Each time lean over a bit more until you capsize.

Calm Exit

When you capsize, let the boat turn all the way upside down. Keep calm while the water rushes into your clothes. Push yourself out towards the back of the boat and surface beside your boat.

Empty the canoe and get back in. Repeat until you know how far your can lean over before you capsize. As you gain more confidence wear more clothes to add weight and make it more difficult. You'll find this an interesting challenge as it adds more realism to your training.

Practice the Wet Exit with a Spray Cover

Locate the quick release strap

Before you do anything else make sure the release strap for the spray skirt is on the outside of the boat. If its tucked into the boat it will be very hard to pull off the spray-skirt.

Take a breath, lean over and capsize

Once you are ready, take a deep breath and slowly roll into the water. Once you are underwater let go of your paddle.

After you let go of your paddle take a second to get your bearings

When you get under water you may feel disorientated for a moment. Get used to it and learn to handle it.

Sit still until you are completely upside-down.

Hanging upside-down for these few added seconds will give you confidence so that you will not panic when you need to remove the spray deck.

Bang three times on the upturned hull.

Hit it with your hands before getting out. This will also be a signal to your friend that you are in complete control of the situation.

Grab the quick release strap.

Now that you are turned over and underwater, reach around with your hand until you grab the release strap on your spray skirt. It doesn't matter whether or not you can open your eyes. Most people find the strap by groping for it.

Pull the quick release strap

After you get the strap in your hands, you will want to pull it toward the front of the boat and then up to make sure it clears the coaming. Once you do this and let go the whole skirt should come off by itself.

Lean forwards and straighten your legs

The first thing you want to do is lean forward to help keep your body from hitting things in the water. Next you will take your hands and place them on the boat beside your hips where you can get a good grip. Place both hands behind you on either side of the boat. Push yourself out of the seat towards the stern (back) of the boat. The first movement of your exit is like taking off a pair of trousers, you lean forwards. Nobody leans backwards when they remove their pants!

Push out and backwards

Next you need to straighten out your legs and push up with your arms. This will move you out of the boat. After you get your arms straightened out you then want to push back so that your start to slip out of the boat. This is the final motion to get out of the boat.

Grab your boat

Once on the surface, grab the boat's toggle and then retrieve the paddle, taking the boat with you. Hold on to the nearest lifting toggle while you swim to the paddle and you will find the boat easy to tow; it will also help to support your weight.

Hold on to your boat

If you let go of the boat even for an instant the wind may blow it away faster than you can swim after it. In a river stay at the upstream end of the canoe so that if the canoe becomes pinned, you don't.

Flip your boat upright

Now turn the boat upright in a way that it doesn't take on too much water. A quick flip over usually does it.

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