Layers of Safety

A wise kayaker will have several layers of safety "insurance":

  1. Stay upright -- avoid dangerous conditions, and know how to handle them if they suprise you (bracing, etc.)

  2. Eskimo roll -- the ideal capsize recovery. Practice it.

  3. Do anything else that allows you to stay in your boat -- use a self-righting aid (the BackUP), or do an assisted rescue like the bow rescue.

  4. If it is totally unavoidable, exit the boat and re-enter it, using a re-entry/stabilizing aid to make things easier.
The BackUP is both a righting aid (3) and a compact self-inflating re-entry aid (4).

A paddle-float is just a re-entry aid (4).

In conditions rough enough to cause a capsize, and while cold and "concerned", not losing your boat, re-entering, removing excess water, and re-sealing your sprayskirt are a tough (or impossible) job. In planning to skip safety layers (2) or (3), be sure you do not have a false sense of security.

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