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Help my kayak is sinking

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Cold weather kayak fishing is just around the corner. What can we do to prevent our kayaks from sinking?

Do most people with sit on top kayaks bring  a hand pump with them? Do most people keep pool noodles inside their hull or float bags?  How far can you swim? If your kayak sinks can you get back to shore?  How many people fish further from shore then they could safely swim back while wearing a pfd?  Do you have a vhf radio,   Gps, compass. signal flare,cell phone  or personal locator beacon? Are you dressed for immersion? What about an extra paddle?  Do you keep extra dry clothes in your vehicle? Does anyone know  where you are going or when you will be back? These are things we should all consider before we launch and  conditions go south.  Be safe out there and try and paddle with a buddy.

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Always wear a life jacket.

 

Last weekend I was pulling limbs out of the water for my dad from hurricane Michael.If you looked at deepth finder or the bottom it would have been 3 feet.

I flipped the yak tying off my first limb. The only thing holding my upper body above water after my feet sunk through the soft muck was my vest.

I'm 6'2 so maybe my waist would have been wet if the bottom was solid; my feet never hit bottom.

 

Even if the conditions are safe always wear a life jacket

 

Edited by mwhitt80

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Hey Joe

you have 20 more years on the water than me.  

have you ever had a kayak sink?  

Thought maybe you were thinking of me when you started this thread.  

Probably not smart to go out as far as I do alone.  I was almost 2 miles off shore on Sunday.   Do the noodles work?

any other options ?

 

Joe L

 

 

 

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I have not sunk  a kayak. I have sunk a 17 foot white water canoe in the deleware. Hit  a rock up by port Jarvis. I have had my hull leak on a trident 13. The screws on the skid plate penetrated the hull. It was brand new and replaced. I have noticed my drain plug was out while kayaking in the ocean. I had a fellow kayaker plug it in. I know several people who experienced the dreaded cracked hull an had their kayaks full with water. I swamped my Sea kayak several times and had to pump out water to get back in . The sea. Kayak had hatches that were water tight. It did not sink. I had a white water kayak. I put a float bag in it. Pool noodles could help. You could always use  them to float if your kayak sunk. I was really warm out their on Sunday. My dry suit does not breathe well with the pfd on. I had to remove it for  some time to stop sweating. My hands started to cramp up. It was really hard paddling north into the wind. I was glad we could communicate by cell phones. The surf was really big by the hook. Lots of surfers.  The surf really laid down around 10. Wind also let up. I used to bring an extra paddle, dive mask, swim fins. I don’t bring them. Any more. I am more comfortable staying closer to shore this time of year.  I have paddled out to shrewsbury rocks on a calm day. I have also discovered my relief zipper was open on  a failed surf landing. Stuff happens. When I was younger I took more risk. As I get older my risk level has decreased. Good luck with your decision. Be safe.

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You are my favorite sounding board and I’ve learned as much from you as I have from the sea.  

Besides that you are the only guy that can not only keep up with us peddlers but paddle faster than we can peddle short or long distances.   

Your tips on safety are Greatly appreciated.   

 

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I don't know if you can sink a kayak, as in sink to the bottom, unless you're transporting gold bars of large rocks. Most SOT kayaks are made with some kind of floatation material in them. Mine does just behind the front hatch and right before the rear hatch.

Sure, you'll take on water if you are out far from shore and have a serious leak (like hitting a submerged rock at a good clip), but on average you should have time to reach shallow water (at least).

 

I hope this isn't a real experience, and is more of a hypothetical scenario....

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If you’re not wearing a dry suit, you’re asking for trouble. Maybe not today, maybe not next week. Maybe you think it can’t or won’t happen, that you’re different. Bottom line, you fall in the water and can’t get back in, you’re likely done for. Over a stupid fish.  

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I don't have access to the inner hull from where I sit, so pump would do no good. Pool noodles are a good option since they are cheap, light and distribute the buoyancy (unlike a ball,e.g.). Diligence in making sure your hatch straps are tight, plugs are in, etc. will probably make the most difference, though. Too easy to be eager to get out (or too tired when you load back up afterwards) and overlook something dumb. As a result of a past fiasco, I have a rule that the hatch doesn't go on unless it's strapped down tight; otherwise, I leave it off completely so that I notice it.

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Very true. Most accidents can be prevented by following a set routine. Check list for hatches, plugs, relief zippers, pfd, maybe checking wind, surf, weather conditions before you unload your kayak?  Another often over looked aspect are gloves. If your hands are cold and wet would you still be able to climb back into your kayak with out being able to grip somethings with your hand. Maybe you forgot your hat? 90% of heat loss goes through your head? Maybe you did not have the proper base layers? Maybe you got dehydrated and cramped up? Maybe a health emergency or equipment failure. Most individual over sights can be over come but when they start to add up as multiple failures you will be in need of assistance. No fish is worth your life.

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I've only been kayak fishing for 3 years and just started going into the salt. I always wear my PFD, even in the summer. Its very comfortable and I use the pockets. I bought a floating handheld marine vhf. For 65 bucks I can hear whats going on and if **** hits the fan I hope one of the gazillion boats will give me a hand or there's always the coast guard. I picked up an 18" hand pump. Not sure if this will be regular gear, but it can't hurt to have down in the center hatch. I haven't added pool noodles in yet, but will eventually. For dry gear I have breathable chest waders and a kokatat tempest jacket/ belt. IF I die with all of these precautions then it's just my time. I don't go out in winds over 12 mph generally.

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Let’s be honest if our kayak sinks and we are miles off the coast we will need some type of assistance . The question then becomes how long can we last in the water until somebody rescues us?  Believe it or not you could probably swim further in a wet suit then a drysuit or waders.

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I wear a dry suit this time of year and pfd always.  Also carry a hand bilge pump, wear my cell phone around my neck in a waterproof bag/case and have a waterproof floating VHF radio attached to me.  Last year I decided my life was worth the extra $300 and bought a personal locater beacon.  If my cell phone fails and no one hears by VHF radio, I have the PLB to call as a last measure that would help rescuers pinpoint you quickly in a big ocean.  I really think more people should carry them, but $300 is a hard for people to swallow, spending it on something they hope never to use.  It's worth the piece of mind to me.

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How does your PLB work ? Can you use it more then once ? Is there any way to test that it is working with out having the coast guard come look for you? Is it like an epirb? Is it activated when it gets wet  or do you need to activate it.  So if I understand you correctly our PLB, Cell Phone, VHF radio are attached to your person ?  I am guessing you have a knife attached to your person as well ? 

I know that you pedal instead of paddle but does all that gear get in the way of doing a self rescue?  I found the more stuff I attach to my person the more difficult it is for me to reenter my kayak,

I really don't like to much gear on my person while paddling.  The bilge pump is a great idea. I carry mine 

with me too. I recently picked up some small bolt cutters to cut a hook and a first aid kit. 

 

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