PADDLERsmart! Canada Knowledge Base

Module 06 - Emergency Preparedness



The Towing Technique

The Towing Technique should be performed when the capsized paddler is unable to re-enter their paddle craft from the water without assistance.

Step 1: Have the capsized paddler grasp the stern of your own paddle craft. The capsized paddler should attempt to keep most of their body out of the water.

Step 2: You should then paddle your own craft to shore and tow the capsized paddler behind you.


The Boat-Over-Boat Technique should be performed when a capsized paddler is unable to re-enter their paddle craft without assistance. This open-water rescue technique requires a second kayak or canoe to be properly performed.

Step 1: The capsized paddler helps position your paddle craft so that it’s perpendicular to their capsized paddle craft (when in proper position, the two paddle craft should form a ‘T’ shape).

Step 2: Grasp the end of the capsized paddle craft that’s near you,  while the capsized paddler pushes down on the other end of it to raise it upwards.

Step 3: Pull the capsized paddle craft on top of your own paddle craft to allow it to drain (when in proper position, this should form a '+' shape).

Step 4: Once drained and righted, you should slide the drained paddle craft back into the water.

Step 5: Hold the two paddle craft side by side to assist the capsized paddler while they re-enter their paddle craft.


The Bulldozing Technique should be performed on open water when a capsized paddler is unable to reach or re-enter their capsized paddle craft. This technique pushes the capsized paddle craft toward the capsized paddler or pushes the capsized paddler toward shore if they are unable to re-enter their paddle craft.

Step 1: Using your own paddle craft, push the capsized paddle craft towards the capsized paddler (use the bow of your own paddle craft like a bulldozer).

Step 2: Depending on the water conditions, the safest option may be for you to simply tow the victim back to shore. Ask the capsized paddler to grab the stern of your paddle craft while you paddle forward and bulldoze the capsized paddle craft to shore.

Step 3: The capsized paddler could kick with their legs to assist you with forward movement and to minimize the drag of their weight.

Step 4: Once you reach shore, drain the capsized paddle craft and position it back in the water for the capsized paddler to re-enter.


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