How to Keep a Kayak from Tipping Over

How to Keep a Kayak from Tipping

How to keep a kayak from tipping can be a real challenge for the beginner.  Some pros believe it’s a common occurrence that happens to the seasoned angler who’s new to kayaking because their focus is primarily on catching fish as opposed to first learning how to man their kayak. If you lack decent paddling skills, you’ll find that you’ll end up wearing yourself out fairly quickly.

If you’re totally new to kayaking, then you probably don’t have the skills to prevent the kayak for capsizing or know how to right it and climb back inside. Here are some tips you can follow that can help to prevent your kayak from tipping, in addition to what you can do in the event you end up in this type of situation.

Angling in a Touring Kayak

First off, practice before you take your kayak on its first fishing trip. Start off by practicing in shallow water and learn how to quickly get in and out of the kayak if you get dumped. Learning rescue and paddling skills can be crucial, especially if you enjoy fishing during the colder months. It can also be more important if you enjoy fishing in big water such as the ocean.

Balancing as you fish when you’re in a kayak will take some getting used to. An angler will often choose a touring kayak simply because this style is wider and more stable compared to a whitewater kayak. They’re also designed to remain upright, even in rough surf. They feature low centers of gravity and long waterlines, which is what makes them track so well. Regardless, even the best touring kayak is not tip-proof, which is why it’s so important that you learn what to do and prepare for this type of situation. Learning these basic skills can mean the difference between being wet and cold and remaining high and dry in your kayak.

Keeping your kayak balanced is crucial. You should center all of your gear and strap it down in the center of the kayak. The weight should be evenly distributed from side to side. The kayak should be perfectly level when you sit up straight in the cockpit.

Understanding what causes a kayak to tip over can help you learn how to quickly right a kayak when you feel it starting to tip.  You can avoid most spills by avoiding certain situations that increase your risk of capsizing. Tipping over can be caused by a variety of factors such as currents, shifting loads, collisions, waves, and excessive weight.

Unlike whitewater kayaking, sit-on and sit-in models aren’t designed to retain the paddle in the event the kayak capsizes. While a sit-on kayak is much easier to right, sit-in models can be more difficult.

To avoid tipping, steer clear of dangerous water conditions, avoid using unsafe movements such as over-reaching or leaning, and practice safe loading. Safe loading involves staying within the kayak’s weight limit and securing any gear that can slide or shift as you paddle.

Basic Tips to Prevent the Kayak from Capsizing

Prevent the Kayak from Capsizing

In order to right your kayak, you should learn the high support stroke. To do, hold the paddle at shoulder level with the elbows placed directly below it. The paddle should be arranged so that the front of the blade is kept parallel to the water. Now, lean over to cause the kayak to start tipping. When the paddle’s blade hits the water bring your hips towards the blade in the water. If you do it correctly, this will work to right the kayak.

Always check the weather reports before you head out. If there are high winds or the surf is going to be high, stay home if you don’t feel comfortable paddling in it. High surf and high winds can easily flip your kayak.

Paddle away from big waves or directly into them. You’ll be more likely to roll your kayak if a wave hits the kayak from the side.

Be sure to use the low or high support stroke in order to right and brace the kayak when it starts to tip. Either of these strokes can prevent the kayak from capsizing, however, the low support stroke is the easier of the two.

If you’re paddling along and you have obstacles or limbs coming at you, avoid touching them and never push off of them. Your best bet in this situation is to scoot down in the kayak to further lower your center of gravity.

If you find yourself sideways when paddling downstream and a large rock appears in your path, lean downstream immediately. Doing so will counteract the force of the water under the kayak that’s trying to tip it over.

Learning how to rescue yourself and others is also very important. While you may not tip over on your first kayak fishing trip, especially if the water is flat and calm, you will fall into the water at some point as you learn how to expertly paddle or adjust to casting one-handed.

Staying Safe

If you’re not confident in your kayaking skills, don’t be afraid to take some lessons. An instructor will discuss and demonstrate basic rescue techniques and can also teach you how to quickly right your kayak and climb back in.

While you’re getting the hang of kayaking, make sure you never kayak alone. Be sure to team up with an experienced kayak angler so you can learn more about the rules of kayaking and how you can adjust your casting technique in order to avoid causing the kayak ti capsize. Most anglers will have to adjust their cast by doing so using only one hand. This is the biggest adjustment for newbie kayak anglers. It can take a long time to get the hang of casting from a kayak if you don’t have an experienced angler around to show you the ropes. Additionally, your fishing buddy can also give you some pointers on how to load your kayak correctly, what types of strokes work the best based on water conditions, and how to quickly right the kayak when you feel it beginning to tip over.