5 PRACTICALLY PROVEN ways to get water out of Kayak | Kayaks Hub

Yes, I know, it is quite difficult and bit annoying to kayak with water in it. Water may have entered in the kayak due to two reasons, one is tipping of a kayak and other is the reason you are paddling too extremely.

However, duty lies here where you have to get water out of kayak because you want smooth paddling experience.


Methods for Draining Water from a Kayak

Now, there are two areas where you can drain water out of your kayak. One is land and other is water. If you are near the shore then you can use Land-based kayak flipping technique and when you are not near the shore or bay then you have to use the technique called Water-based kayak flipping technique.

Land-Based Kayak Flipping Technique

In case you are in a situation where you have to empty the water from your kayak while you are on the land, the simplest way to do so is to capsize the kayak.

The first step is to pull your kayak out of the water and onto a suitable surface, such as a beach. Stand at the end of the kayak and take hold of the sides of the kayak and then flip it over. The water will flow out on its own.

This method is best suited for sit-in kayaks because water can easily be expelled through the cockpit hole.

Water-Based Kayak Flipping Technique

If you are still out there on the water and find your kayak taking in water, you can flip the kayak in water. This can be, however, more challenging but it is useful in emergency situations.

First of all, make sure that you are securely fastened with your life jacket on. Next, you can turn the kayak on the side so that the water in it can drain.

This technique could take some time to master and so you can try it out first in a controlled environment such as a short drive before going for a long drive.

You can also watch the video to make it clear:

Using equipment to get water out of kayak

Bilge Pump Method

It is handy to have a hand-operated bilge pump or electric bilge pump with you when you are kayaking, as it can be extremely useful in case of an emergency.

To use it, put the end of the pump that is not connected to anything into the water that you have stored in your kayak. The initiation of pumping is done by pulling and pushing the handle. The pump will take water from the kayak and force it out through the exit tube.

This method is effective; it is most effective for use when there is a lot of water that needs to be removed within a short time. It is recommended that pump should be within a reach, for instance fixed on the kayak deck or kept inside the cockpit.

You can also watch the video on how to use bilge pump:

Sponge Method

Also, there is the sponge which is used to wipe the remaining water droplets after using the bilge pump to pump most of the water. All you have to do is put the sponge in the part of your kayak which has the standing water. Let the sponge to absorb the water and squeeze it out of the boat into the water.

Sponge Method to get water out of kayak

Techniques to Prevent Water Accumulation

Quick-drying Clothes for Paddling

Always wearing appropriate dress code while kayaking is important in ensuring that one does not get drenched when paddling. Choose fabrics such as nylon or polyester to ensure that they dry up very fast. Stay away from cotton as it is a poor conductor of body heat, and it retains water, making you feel even colder.

Dry-fit clothes dry quickly and do not make you feel wet and uncomfortable, and also minimize the amount of water that gets into the kayak through dripping and splashing.

Utilizing a Spray Skirt

A spray skirt is an important piece of equipment for sit-in kayakers. It wraps around your waist and the rim of the cockpit and forms a seal which prevent water from getting in. This is especially useful in rough waters or when it rains for instance when taking a shower. By preventing water from splashing into the cockpit, a spray skirt is beneficial for the buoyancy of the kayak and the comfort of the paddler.

Using Scupper Holes

If you’re using a sit-on-top kayak, you will see scupper holes which are designed to get water out of kayak automatically. These holes allow water that splashes onto the deck to flow out, preventing accumulation. You will need to ensure that scupper holes are free from debris to maintain effective drainage.

However, in certain conditions like high waves, you might need to block these holes temporarily to prevent more water from coming in than draining out.

Paddling Techniques to minimize water entry

If you use the right technique while paddling, it will help you to keep water out of your kayak and minimize the amount of water that gets inside. Use the Low brace stroke and High brace stroke while paddling your kayak. Low brace stroke helps stabilize kayak and keeps water form splashing over the sides. High brace stroke prevents water from entering your kayak during rough conditions.

Installing drip rings minimize your kayak from being filled with water. Drip rings are installed with shafts of paddles which prevents the water from reaching towards the body particularly dripping inside the kayak.

Also, flat paddles minimizes splashes as compared to concave paddles. However, concave paddles are designed for speed but they are more likely cause water to enter into the kayak.

Assisted draining TECHNIQUEs

Sometimes, you alone can’t get water out of kayak. Then, you need the help of fellow kayaker. This especially happens when you are using 2-person kayak. Then your fellow paddler can assist you to drain water out of the kayak. Both of you will lift the kayak turn by turn while both of you are wearing PFDs.

Also, you can use the method when one person will use bilge pump and other person holds the kayak steady. This method can be very effective in rough areas.

Emergency Procedures

When you are in emergency like your kayak capsizes then release the spray and exit the kayak underwater. Right the kayak and follow the steps told before to get water out of kayak.

It will be a plus when you learn the technique called Eskimo Roll. This technique is used by the experienced kayak to right themselves without exiting the kayak. It is a very valuable skill that reduces the need the remove water from within the kayak.

In the video, you can watch an Eskimo Roll

Additional Tips

When you have to keep your kayak dry, it not only includes in-the-moment techniques but also preventive measures and good practices.

  • It includes regularly checking of your kayak for cracks and holes and its reparation to prevent water entry.
  • Apply marine sealant to any identified leaks for quick fix.
  • Make sure your gear is properly stowed and secured to prevent from shifting which may cause instability and resulting to entrance of water in the kayak.
  • Keep a sponge handy. For small amounts of water, use a sponge to soak up and remove it quickly.
  • Have dry towels accessible to wipe down any wet surfaces within the kayak.

Wrapping it up

There are practical ways to get water out of kayak that can make it stable and safe for use and these techniques should be employed when paddling. With proper techniques in draining water like the use of bilge pump and sponges, and by taking precautionary measures like the right way of paddling and wearing a spray skirt, one can easily minimize water coming into the kayak.

Additional provisions of maintenance and responding to emergencies also improve your capacity to address issues of water buildup. As always, you should bear in mind that being dry also makes you safer on the water as well. Prepare yourself with the right tools, rehearse these techniques, and then set off for your perfect kayaking experience.

Good Luck!


  • David Graham

    Meet David Graham, an avid kayaker based in Florida, USA, who has been mastering the art of kayaking since 2013. As a former trainer with three years of experience, David has shaped the skills of numerous kayakers, sharing his passion for the sport. Living in a state known for its diverse waterways, his expertise and commitment to kayaking go beyond personal pursuits, making him a valuable contributor to the local kayaking community.

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