Kayaking is an exciting adventure that requires caution and safety measures. Knowing the right techniques for getting out of a kayak can mean the difference between having a fun outing, or an awkward and potentially dangerous situation. A ‘wet exit’ from a kayak is a way to stay safe when paddling and something knowledge everyone involved in the sport should be familiar with. With these steps, you’ll know how to execute a wet exit and stay safe on the water.

What is a Wet Exit?

A wet exit is when a person exits the kayak by going into the water. It is done when the kayak has been overturned and the paddler has been unable to right the vessel. This movement should be done only when it is safe to do so and you should be familiar with the motions before being in a dangerous situation. Learning how to execute this move could be immensely important in an emergency.

Preparing for a Wet Exit

Before taking the kayak out you should be sure to properly fit your life jacket and spray skirt so it will easily come off once you have executed a wet exit. The life jacket is an important piece of equipment that while uncomfortable, could mean the difference between life and death in a dangerous situation. Along with the life jacket and spray skirt you should also have the proper attire for the weather and water conditions. Having the correct clothing can also keep you safe in an emergency.

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Executing a Wet Exit

After you have prepared for a wet exit, you’re ready to come out of the kayak. If it is possible to flip the kayak back upright, do it. Then take off your spray skirt, life jacket and any other form of equipment that might hold you in the kayak. Taking these items off will make it easier to exit the kayak. Then, instead of struggling inside the kayak and making the situation worse, relax, take a deep breath, and use that breath to blow up any water-tight spaces, then use your hands to push yourself out and escape the kayak.

Ensuring Your Safety After a Wet Exit

Once you have safely exited the kayak you should collect as many belongings as you can that have floated away. While in the water, try to right your kayak and hold on to it. You can use the kayak for even just a little bit of flotation. However, if the water conditions are too dangerous to remain, it is usually best to swim away from the kayak and work on getting yourself to a safe area.

Common Questions

Is a wet exit dangerous?

A wet exit can be dangerous but is usually safe if done in calm waters. Without the proper safety gear and attire, it can be more dangerous.

What gear is needed for a wet exit?

The most important gear needed is a life jacket. You should also have spray skirt, the proper clothing attire and familiarize yourself with the motions.

Can you right the kayak before doing a wet exit?

If possible, it is best to right the kayak before exiting. This will give you the opportunity to rescue some belongings that may have floated off and hold on to the kayak for possible extra flotation.

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Is a wet exit always necessary?

In most situations, it is best to exit the kayak if it has been over-turned. It is usually best to leave the kayak if the water conditions are too dangerous.

Is it possible to re-enter the kayak after a wet exit?

Yes, if the kayak is righted and there are no dangerous conditions, it is possible to re-enter the kayak by yourself or with help.

Final Words

A wet exit from a kayak is an important technique that any participant of the sport should be familiar with. Knowing how to do a wet exit is a great way to stay safe if ever in a dangerous situation and can mean the difference between life and death. Be sure to prepare for a wet exit and familiarize yourself with the motions before taking the kayak out. Doing a wet exit can also help you gather some belongings if you are unable to right the kayak and make sure you get safely to shore.