When A Cold Water Flip Turns Nearly Deadly (Video)

The choices you make can be the difference between inconvenience and life-threatening incident when the water temperature is low as this shares to educate

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When the unfortunate happens, and you flip in cold water, the clock starts to tick. the temperature begins to draw feeling and physical ability away from your body. The outcome can prove to be a minor inconvenience or life-threatening situation. Which, largely depends on the choices you’ve made and the skills you possess. Did you dress appropriately? Are you wearing a PFD? Are you able to perform a self-rescue? Can you access a communication device? If your answer to these questions is no, then a flip in cold water can turn deadly fast.

Angler and author John Skinner reviews this video sent by one of his YouTube subscribers, of such an incident. The angler in the video understands all the mistakes they made looking back in retrospect, and provided Skinner with the video for educational purposes. Skinner breaks down the incident and the choices the kayak angler made. This includes wearing waders in rolling swell, and not having on a PFD.

The video serves a dish of cold hard truth as to how dangerous a flip in cold water can be without safety precautions. We are happy to know the angler learned from the incident, and lived to fish another day.


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  1. In February of 2015 while on Lake Germantown in N. VA fishing I turtled my Native Slayer in 10ft of 40 degree water.
    It was a windy 70 degree day. I had layers of undergarments inside neoprene chest waders. And my PFD.
    I went over trying to adjust my seat. Right after anchoring.
    I thought I was going to have a heart attack. Then hypothermia hit. I tried a re-entry with no luck then I grabbed my yak and headed for shore 20 yards away.
    I’d forgotten the anchor.
    After getting footing I got to shore. Teeth chattering, out of breath, soaked, muscles cramping.
    I got the yak righted. Lost five rods, G Loomis and Shimanos. But I was alive.
    I made it back across the lake to the ramp. Spent the next hour plus with heat on high. Had water and dry clothes.
    It was close. Too close.
    I now have a dry suit and everything is tethered. Lessons learned the hard way. God was with me.

  2. I see so much that troubles me about this. The first thing that struck me was the orientation of the kayak to the fish he’s fighting. The kayak is not only broadside to the chop, but also broadside to the fish. This is a recipe for disaster. I kayak fish the Pacific here in Hawaii and it’s often very swelly and can get quite choppy when the trade winds blow. Here on the open ocean, it’s common to hook up on truly monstrous fish that can take you for a multi-mile ride. The first lesson in this is to always have the the kayak pointed toward the fish so it can’t pull you over. You can do this by lowering the rod tip to the very point of your bow – this makes the kayak turn with the fish, lowering your chances of being yanked over. When the boat is actually pointed at the fish, raise the rod tip to fight. When possible, it’s also important to get pointed into the swells or chop, but if the fish is pulling you perpendicular to the swell/chop, splay your legs out to offer maximum stability to your kayak and keep a constant eye on the water. Lastly, always land the fish with the bow of the boat pointed into the swells/chop.


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