Paddle Float Rescue

The paddle-float rescue uses an inflatable “bag” that slips over your paddle, which you then inflate via mouth and use as a stabilizer to get back into your boat.

This video shows good technique, however realize that most likely you will need this rescue not in a pool, but rather in rough water. Here are a few tips for using this rescue in less than ideal situations.

1. You can use the waves to help you empty some of the water from your boat. After you have attached and inflated your paddlefloat go to the bow of the boat while it is still upside down and lift as a wave goes by. You most likely will get some of the water out and be able to flip it upright at the same time. Head back to the cockpit and do the rescue.

2. After you are back in your seat, move the paddle in front of you but leaving the float on the SAME SIDE THAT IT WAS WHEN YOU DID THE RESCUE. Don’t try and swing it around you, cowboy! (He shows this correctly) Then stick the paddle shaft under the belly of your lifejacket and pinch the paddle against the cockpit of your boat. This leaves your hands free to work the bilge pump. (good luck)

3. I say “good luck” because you may just need to paddle with the water that is in your boat. (hence the wise choice to spend an extra 30 seconds doing instruction #1.) Many boats are built to paddle nicely even when the cockpit is full of water. Many are not! Choose a boat that allows the least amount of water into the boat when you capsize. Recreational kayaks 14′ and under are notorious for “submarining.” These is no way to accomplish a paddle-float rescue in a boat like that so beware!

4. Keep the float on your paddle until you are ready to paddle. Lean on that sucker when you need to. You may be a bit dizzy from the cold water, and the waves are probably not getting any better.

Most important: practice. Take a course to learn the proper technique, and have fun!

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