Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When you have to go

The only exit

On Sunday Stan, Clyde and I paddled a 10 km stretch of coast where we thought there was no chance of getting ashore. Turns out there was one boulder strewn "beach" where an emergency take-out was possible.

That raised the question before we put-in: what to do if nature calls?

Depends! OK, that's a possibility but I meant depends on factors such as sea state and what the paddler is wearing.

In a wet suit it could be as simple as going in the boat or jump out to go. If going in the boat is repulsive, let some seawater into the cockpit and pump out after.

Wearing a drysuit limits options for both guys and gals. I haven't tried it but I doubt I'd be able to go sitting in the boat without soiling myself - may as well not bother opening the relief zipper.

Most often mentioned on the subject is have someone hold the boat, stand and go over the side. Better be practiced in calm conditions and extremely doubtful of success in active water. Big, big risk in cold water to slip in with the relief zipper open.

Option I like is to find a spot where its possible to scramble up onto the rocks. Have someone hold the boat, jump out, swim and climb onto the rocks. Do an assisted re-entry to get back in. That's what I did Sunday, it as simple.

On a long crossing I'd be inclined to limit liquid intake and wear depends. Better to wash yourself up rather than have to do a complete set of laundry.

In any case, consider the options and know beforehand how to deal with it.


  1. I use an old Nalgene bottle. I can get it where it needs to be through my relief zipper, and then empty it into the water. I know a woman that is an acrobat! I have seen her stand on the bows of two kayaks and squat. I have also seen her hold hands with another paddler and hang her bottom over the side of her cockpit. Clearly both of those were on calm days.


  2. I use a gatorade bottle and dump it out. I've even managed to stand and pull it off one day.

  3. I'd need to find a bottle with a long neck on it *lol*.

    Tony :-)