Packraft Wet Reentry Photo Demo

Foot entrapment among submerged rocks is the leading killer of whitewater boaters. Think about it: the most common way to die while boating is by doing something OUTSIDE your boat!

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by Matt Hage (photos) and Roman Dial (text) | 2009-04-07 00:00:00-06

Packraft Wet Reentry

Foot entrapment among submerged rocks is the leading killer of whitewater boaters.  Think about it:  the most common way to die while boating is by doing something OUTSIDE your boat!  DO NOT stand up in rocky bottom waters until your own bottom is hitting rocks near the shore's edge.  This is one of many topics best covered in a whitewater rescue course.  Take one!

Most often, when you fall out of a packraft, you fall backwards, or back and to the side, having been bander-snatched.  Hopefully, a helmet will be on your head when this happens.

If you flip with a spray deck/skirt and cannot, like most of us, roll your packraft, disconnect the deck/skirt's Velcro from around your waist and push yourself out.  If possible, right the boat and jump back in, placing your paddle across both tubes to keep it from flipping as you flop in.

To right an upside down and loaded boat in the current, get upstream of the boat, turn it sideways, then reach over and grab the downstream tube, pulling backwards and out of the water toward you.  This forces the upstream tube down and into the current, where the force of the water helps right the boat.  It works like a charm.  Once righted, reach across with your paddle to hold the boat and launch in belly first, rolling your butt onto the seat.

Packraft Wet Reentry Photo Demo - 1
Anchorage Packrafting Safety Class:
(back row, left to right) Roman Dial, Dorte Krough, Jeff Conaway, Joe Stock, Dano Michaud, John Evingson, Brad Meiklejohn, Scott Solle, Ian Lleshi
(front row, left to right) Barkley Broeder, Peggy Dial, Doug Jewell, Agnes Stowe

Packraft Wet Reentry Photo Demo - 2
Turn the boat sideways, reach over, grab the upstream tube, and pull it backwards and out of the water toward you (as Roman is doing with his paddle). This forces the upstream tube down and into the current, where the force of the water helps to right the boat.

Packraft Wet Reentry Photo Demo - 3
Hold your paddle across the tubes to stabilize the boat as you begin to kick your torso into it.

Packraft Wet Reentry Photo Demo - 4
Continue to kick and porpoise into the boat, rotating onto your butt when you're far enough in/on the craft.

Packraft Wet Reentry Photo Demo - 5
Hold your paddle out of the way and swing your feet over the edge. If you've done this reentry correctly, your feet will not have touched the bottom at any time.


Citation

"Packraft Wet Reentry Photo Demo," by Matt Hage (photos) and Roman Dial (text). BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/packraft_wet_reentry_photo.html, 2009-04-07 00:00:00-06.

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Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Packraft Wet Reentry Photo Demo


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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Packraft Wet Reentry Photo Demo on 04/07/2009 19:42:34 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Packraft Wet Reentry Photo Demo

Richard Nisley
(richard295) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Packraft Wet Reentry Photo Demo on 04/07/2009 21:14:49 MDT Print View

Carol and Matt,

How do you reconcile Erin and Hig's "self-rescue of a packraft and heavy pack" approach with Roman's?

Roman says it is best to get upstream of your boat mid-point and the heavy pack lashed to your bow. Reach across the boat and pull the downstream edge towards you to right the boat and pack before getting back in.

Erin and Hig say, it is extremely difficult to right a packraft with a heavy pack lashed to the bow. They suggest having a light tether between your pack and packraft plus a quick release lash strap. After flipping, you enable the quick release of the tethered pack so that it floats adjacent to the packraft connected via the tether. You then orient the boat and enter the same way that Roman suggests.

In turbulent white water flips, in combination with a heavy pack, I have used Erin and Hig’s approach successfully but haven’t tried Roman’s approach to compare them.

Edited by richard295 on 04/07/2009 21:17:28 MDT.

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Raft flip with pack on 04/08/2009 07:07:03 MDT Print View

I just had a chance to practice my wet reentry a couple of weeks ago on the Verde River in Arizona. My pack was lashed on the bow - it probably weighed around 20 lbs. I tried Roman's technique from his book first - getting upstream and grabbing the tube. I couldn't flip the boat. But, the current was not that fast, AND I was positioned at the middle of the boat. In the photo above, Roman is flipping from the bow. Roman's technique in the Grand Canyon (he mentioned this in my podcast interview about getting a permit) was to flip his boat from the bow. I tried that next and it worked like a charm. I grabbed bow and pack and twisted so that the downstream tube went up and the upstream tube went down and was helped by the current.

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Gorgeous photos! on 04/09/2009 08:56:48 MDT Print View

Hey Matt -
GREAT photos!

Matt Hage
(mattagnes)

Locale: Alaska
Re: Gorgeous photos! on 04/16/2009 18:48:43 MDT Print View

Thanks Carol. Scott's swiftwater course was a blast and we learned some very valuable skills. But most important we came away from the three days feeling very confident in such a small boat on big Alaska water.

Cheers
Matt