What If I Flip?

In partnership with the U.S. Coastguard and the Water Sports Foundation, instructors Paul and Kate Kuthe of the American Canoeing Association instruct what to do if you flip your kayak in Safer Paddling Series: Episode 7.

Paddlers often say that we’re all between swims. There are many ways to get back into your kayak if you flip.

Paul Kuthe flips his kayak right side up.

First, make sure your boat is floating right side up. Push on one side while pulling on the other.

Paul Kuthe prepares to get back inside his kayak.

Swim to the back of the kayak and pull your chest onto the boat. It helps to start floating your legs behind you on the water’s surface.

Paul Kuthe pulls his body onto the back of his kayak.

Kick with your legs and slide your body towards the cockpit.

Paul Kuthe carefully slides towards his seat.

Pull with your arms and let your legs hang off either side for stability. Once you reach the cockpit, sit up, straddling the boat.

Paul Kuthe slides back into the cockpit.

Swing your legs into the centre until you are sitting low in the seat.

A paddler flipping a kayak in harsh weather.

Remember to practice in real-world conditions, outside of the harbor, since you are most likely to flip in wind and waves.

Be smart. Be safe. Have fun.

As a United Stated Coast Guard nonprofit grant recipient, the Water Sports Foundation produces paddling safety outreach materials and distributes them through boating and paddling media providers. Paddle sports currently has an inordinately high rate of accidents and deaths that for the past five years has been increasing, while power boating stats have been decreasing during the same period. The goal is to create heightened public awareness of safer paddling making paddle sports safer and to ultimately reduce the total number of paddle sports related deaths annually.


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