How to re-enter a sit on top kayak


Kayaking is an amazing sport. It’s full of opportunities to experience the beauty of nature. While kayaking can be a lot of fun, it can also be a little scary when your kayak flips over, especially if you are new to kayaking or simply don’t know how to correct yourself. So what do you do? How do you get back in?

We know how daunting it can be, which is why we’ve put together some information to help you.

An accidental capsize can be scary but it eventually happens to every kayaker. Besides, taking an unplanned swim is just part of the sport! That being said, it is important that you know the techniques to get you back into your kayak quickly and safely.


Sit-on-top kayaks are often designed for recreational use, meaning they are engineered to be stable in the water. Some people may think that paddling in a sit-on-top kayaks looks wobbly and unstable, but with many of the kayaks having flat hulls, they’re actually quite difficult to flip.

If you do flip over a sit-on-top kayak, you will automatically fall out. This can be a safer type of kayak in the event of a capsize, especially if you’re a beginner. Remember, your kayak will float, so as long as you can grab hold of it you should be fine.

The conditions of where you’re kayaking will probably have more of an effect on how easy it will be to flip your kayak, than the type of kayak you’re in. If you’re paddling on a calm lake or inland waterway, you probably won’t encounter much that’s going to flip you.

Sea kayaking can be a little bit different and in some cases more dangerous. While sea kayaks are designed to be stable enough to handle the rougher conditions in the sea, it is possible that a larger wave, or an unexpected change in conditions could cause your kayak to flip.

No matter what type of kayak you’re in it’s always advisable to wear a life vest or personal flotation device (PFD). This is regardless of what type of water you’re planning on paddling in. We also strongly recommend having a waterproof VHF radio on you and that you learn some basic safety advice from your local authority.

Always keep in mind that anything could happen when you’re out on the water, so it’s always best to plan ahead and put your safety first.

By not wearing any type of PFD, your attempts to get back in your kayak or get to safety will be severely hampered, especially if the conditions are battling against you.


How to get back on your kayak

The first thing you should do is try not to panic. This can affect your ability to re-enter it, as you may get exhausted more quickly.

We have put together a 3 step guide on how to get back onto your sit-on-top kayak if you happen to flip over in water.

Step 1: Flip It Back

The first thing you will need to do is flip your kayak back over to the correct position. To do this you’ll need to position yourself at the side of your kayak, near the center, where your seat is.

Reach across to the opposite side of your upside-down kayak and grab the edge with both hands. Now pull towards you. You can use your knees against the part of the kayak closest to you in order to help propel the kayak.

Step 2: Re-Enter

Now that your kayak is the right way up, make sure your paddle is secure. With one hand grabbing either side of the kayak, let your feet and legs come up to the surface.


Now, pull yourself over your kayak until your abdomen is positioned over your seat. Are you stable? Make sure you are, before you move any further.


Step 3: Get Back In Your Seat

Now that you’re balanced and leaning over your kayak, roll your body around so that your butt is on the seat. Then you’re free to swing your legs into the kayak, back into position, so you’re ready to start paddling again.


We hope you enjoyed reading our tutorial and that you now have a better idea of how to get back into your kayak if you ever do flip it over. It’s important to remember that safety on the water should be your first priority and you should always wear a life vest or PFD when you’re kayaking, regardless of the water conditions.


If your kayak does a flip, remember not to panic. Just keep in mind the steps and you’ll be back paddling in no time.