NRS Paddle Float Directions
Before kayaking, secure your NRS Paddle Float in an easily accessible area such as in the deck rigging or inside your deck bag. Make sure the float is properly secured so that crashing waves or heavy winds do not wash or blow it away.
After capsizing, flip your boat over quickly (a quicker flip means less water in your cockpit). Grab the float, and attach it to one end of the paddle by sliding the blade into the float and securing it with the drawstring and quick-release buckle. Inflate either air chamber on the paddle float. Only one of the two air chambers needs to be inflated to create an outrigger for re-entry.
Create an outrigger by placing your paddleshaft behind the rear cockpit coaming of your kayak, holding it tight with your hand. Place your other hand on the rear deck, and prepare to lift yourself by getting horizontal in the water with your heels close to the water surface. Please note that your body position will be just behind the cockpit of the kayak.
Lift your torso onto the rear deck first, then work your feet onto the paddle shaft outrigger, hooking your ankles around the shaft. Slowly work your first foot into the cockpit, then the second. Twist your body around towards the paddle float and slide back into the cockpit, always keeping your balance toward the float so that you do not capsize again.
Put your paddle in a stable situation (possibly under your stomach) so that you can drain the boat with a bilge pump and reattach your sprayskirt. Remove the paddle float, deflate, and stow it away securely. If the water is choppy, you can store the inflated paddle float under your deck rigging until you reach safety, then deflate.
Note: in an emergency, you can put your arms through the webbing straps on each end of the float to provide extra floatation.
Note: there are many schools of thought on paddle float reentry. Although the above is one of the most popular methods, take the time to read various sources on the subject and find the system that works best for you! Also, do not wait for an emergency. Practice paddle float re-entry in a controlled situation and be better prepared when the real emergency comes!
Resources for Paddle Float Rescue TechBooks
Sea Kayak Rescue – Roger
The Complete Book of Sea Kayaking – Hutchinson