2 person kayak safety

  • This topic has 9 replies, 9 voices, and was last updated 4 weeks, 1 day ago by Nick Heath.
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  • #23850
    Roberto Dominguez

    Sad news with two incidents in BC involving fatalities with 2 person kayaks just in the last few days :'(

    Time to reflect on the safety on 2 person kayaks. They usually very wide and stable, but at the same time they give you a false sense of security.

    I often go paddling with my son on a double Delta 17.5T, and we have practiced self rescue a couple of times. It’s doable, but requires coordination. I can’t imagine turning a Seward G3, those are huge and heavy.

    Also, in rough waters, they can be hard to maneuver.

    I don’t know the circumstances of the accidents, Just sharing some thoughts. Again, a reminder for making the right decisions and to practice, practice, practice.


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  • #23884
    Nick Heath

    My opinion is that for non-rollers, a good tandem kayak in skilled hands is safer than a single kayak and about equivalent or superior to two singles, in similarly capable hands.  There are many factors involved  including speed, ability to make headway in wind,  general stability and the opportunity of relief for an injured or disabled paddler.

    But I don’t expect many to agree with me – there is a significant prejudice against tandem kayaks, probably because they are often associated with less skilled paddlers and families.

    Yekaterina Yushmanova

    A person who can reliably roll in heavy seas in a single would also be typically quite proficient in paddling in such rough water and not require a lot of rolling. I have also read stories of Greenlanders surviving heavy storms by continually rolling.


    There is some discussion on the VictoriaBC subreddit about the wind storm they would have been caught in.

    For those of you that have experience in gnarly sea state. If someone in single gets caught in such a wind storm with waves causing the vessel to capsize, could this hypothetical person “wait out” the wind storm by performing rolls to right themselves anytime they get caught and turned over by a wave?

    Not considering stamina and endurance. If one could perform recovery rolls for 30 – 60 mins could they use that skill alone until the sea state returns to something more tame?

    Dawn Lessoway

    My heart sank when I heard about this on the radio this morning.  I have never doubted the power of the wind and see and our lives are so safe (generally) that we’ve forgotten to respect mother nature.

    I was wondering if they were wearing pfd’s  – and yes, proper immersion clothing! I had a great cousin that died at the early age of 20 in the ’50s after a full day of farming in hot weather and jumped into a lake. The temperature difference caused such a shock to their system that they had (suspected) heart attack.

    Doubles might be more stable but they are unweildy.  I can’t imagine trying to flip one.

    And what about all those stand-up paddlers with no .pfds on? Drives me crazy how dangerous that could be.

    Yekaterina Yushmanova

    Wow, I definitely thought of our double as a very stable tank and have not practiced rescues in it. We typically go out in a “bomber and a fighter jet” formation with my husband paddling the 18’ double with our son in the front seat and I go in a single as support. I am really not sure if I would be able to flip over the loaded double alone while my husband hangs on to our son and kayak in rough seas. Obviously, we are very conservative when paddling with our kid. Need to practice this!

    Quirine Schuyff

    And wear the appropriate immersion gear too. I don’t know what the paddlers were wearing in these scenarios but I’d guess it wasn’t with water temps in mind.

    Peter Kearney

    Would there be interest in a doubke kayak strokes and rescues course?


    Henry Grayman

    Thank you for your insights into practicing safety regularly, especially in a 2 person boat. Up until now I have always taken 2 person kayak’s stability for granted.

    My own experience in a two person kayak in a big wind, was in a klepper. The latter has built in sponsons; so very stable. In fact, we helped rescue one of our party who had overturned in their single.

    Henry Grayman

    Redouane Fakir

    After 4 painful deaths at sea in one week, time for a reminder about double-kayak caution: They’re certainly great for introducing beginners to the sport, as they give great feeling of stability in calm seas. But, there’s a big but’ here: they may not always be the safest in rough conditions of chop, wind, current, etc. Much less manoeuvrability, requirement of double-specific rescue techniques (ever tried emptying a swamped overturned giant double?) etc, compared to single kayaks. Good news however: Things can be made to work just fine (there’s a catch): The summery of requisites for safety in double kayaks is, you guessed it, training and practice that are specific to double kayaks. (Oh no, more work? More sport!) One of the interesting differences compared to single kayaks is that the two paddlers of the heroic crew must keep their strokes and manoeuvres *tightly coordinated* especially when negotiating a wave or a wind gust, otherwise the whole double show can go unstable and actually become less safe than the humble lonely single yak.

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