Kayaks are designed to be lightweight and buoyant, but that doesn’t mean they can’t sink. Although it’s unlikely for your kayak to sink, there are several scenarios when it can happen. The most common causes of a capsized kayak include taking on too much water due to rough waves, running into submerged objects like rocks, or exceeding the load-bearing capacity of the kayak.
What’s Preventing Your Kayak From Sinking?
The most important factor that keeps your kayak from sinking is the buoyancy of its hull. Kayaks are typically made with high-buoyancy materials like polyethylene plastic and fiberglass, helping to keep them afloat even when they take on water.
How To Make Sure Your Kayak Doesn’t Sink?
There are several ways to ensure your kayak won’t sink. The first is to make sure you don’t overload it with gear. Each kayak model has a weight limit, and exceeding this can put too much pressure on the hull, causing it to take on water. Secondly, check the condition of your kayak’s hull before you go out. Look for any cracks or damage which could weaken its buoyancy and make it more prone to sinking. Finally, be mindful of the weather conditions when paddling and avoid white-capping waves if possible.
Things That Can Increase the Risk of Your Kayak Sinking
1. Overloading the kayak: Kayaks are designed to be used by one person, and they can only safely carry a certain amount of weight. When you overload your boat, it increases the chances that the hull will become submerged under water, resulting in sinking.
2. Using outdated or damaged equipment: If you’ve had your kayak for a long time and haven’t replaced any of the equipment, it could be worn out or damaged. This can prevent the boat from floating properly, leading to a higher risk of sinking.
3. Taking on rough waters: When you take your kayak out onto wilder waters such as the ocean or rapids, you increase your chances of hitting something and taking on water, which can cause it to sink.
4. Poor maintenance: Kayaks need regular maintenance just like any other boat in order to stay afloat. If you neglect to take care of yours, it can easily develop leaks or other issues that could lead to sinking.
5. Dismissing proper safety precautions: Always wear a lifejacket when you’re kayaking, and make sure the boat is properly secured with all the necessary ropes and straps. Not taking these steps can put you at greater risk of capsizing or sinking.
6. Inclement weather: Storms can cause high winds, choppy waters, and other dangerous conditions that can make it difficult to control your kayak and increase the chances of sinking. Make sure you’re aware of the weather before heading out on the water.
What to Do if Your Kayak Starts Sinking or Filling With Water?
If your kayak begins to fill with water or starts sinking, the first step is to remain calm. The best thing you can do is get yourself to safety as quickly and carefully as possible. Here are some tips on what to do if this happens:
1. Stop paddling and assess the situation: If the kayak has started to sink, you’ll want to stop paddling and figure out what’s happening. Are there any leaks or cracks? Is the water coming in too quickly for you to be able to bail it out?
2. Get your gear together: If possible, try to grab any important gear that may have been on board before they get wet. This includes any lifejackets and other safety equipment, as well as personal items such as your phone or wallet.
3. Try to bail out the water: If you can do so without putting yourself at risk, try bailing out the water that has filled up in the kayak. A cup, bottle, or even just your hands can be used to do this.
4. Get to shore or call for help: If you can’t bail out the water and it is filling too quickly, you’ll need to get yourself to shore or call for help as soon as possible. You may need to abandon your kayak if it becomes too risky to stay in it any longer.
Safety Tips to Avoid Sinking
1. Check for wear and tear before heading out: Before you take your kayak out on the water, make sure to check it over for any signs of damage or wear and tear. This includes checking the hull for cracks, as well as all the equipment such as ropes and straps that keep it secure.
2. Follow weight limits: Make sure you don’t overload your kayak and only use it with the recommended number of people. This will help ensure that it is stable and capable of floating properly.
3. Wear a lifejacket: Always wear a lifejacket when you’re out on the water, even if the conditions seem calm. This can save your life if your kayak begins to sink or you capsize.
4. Avoid inclement weather: If the forecast calls for storms or high winds, it’s best to avoid taking your kayak out on the water. This can increase the chances of capsizing and putting yourself at risk of sinking.
5. Have a plan: Make sure you have a plan in case your kayak does start to sink or fill with water. Know what steps you need to take and how best to get yourself out of the situation safely.
6. Have safety gear on hand: Keep some essential safety gear on board such as a first-aid kit, flares, and an extra paddle. This can help you if you do find yourself in trouble out on the water.
Kayaking can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors, but it’s important to remember that safety should always come first. By following these tips, you can help ensure your kayak stays afloat and that you stay safe while out on the water. Happy paddling