Section 25 - Gearing Up

I sometimes paddle wearing my full length, long sleeve, 3mm wetsuit with the top portion off. The following steps apply after you are suited up and anchored by one of the methods covered under "Anchoring".

1. Connect your  paddle leash to the paddle.
2. Put the paddle in the water on the side opposite your entry side.
3. Turn and sit facing backwards on the kayak and close to the tank well. This position offers more stability than sitting sideways.
4. Open both rear kayak straps.
5. Weight Belt - Place your weight belt in the seat area and open it.
5. Integrated Weights - Place your weight pouches in the seat area. I suggest you do not load the weights into your BCD prior to launching as it makes the tank assembly hard to handle.
6. Lift the tank at the base and turn it sideways across the tank well. This will be more difficult if you have pre-loaded the integrated weights into your BCD.

1. Turn on your air and your dive computer (I don't turn these on before launching as a personal preference).
2. Insert the integrated weights into the BCD if applicable then Inflate your BCD.
3. Be sure your tank leash is connected to the BCD.
4. Quickly lower the tank into the water on the opposite side from the paddle. Be sure and hold your regulator and octopus out of the water so they don't free flow. Be careful not to lean too  far on the same side especially if you are using integrated weights.
5. Lower your regulator and octopus into the water, mouthpiece facing down to prevent free flowing.

1. Turn facing front and remove your gear from the front hatch. Finish putting on your wetsuit. Put on all the gear that you can so as to avoid  it being left loose in the kayak. Once you are confident with the routine you can remove gear from the hatch and temporarily place it in the empty tank well. However, you run the risk of losing it if you roll the kayak.
2. Secure the front hatch and the lifejacket.
3. Put your dive flag up.
4. Get into the water completely suited up, including weight belt if applicable. Do this in one quick motion so as not to lean on the edge of the kayak causing it to roll. Remember, if you are wearing a weight belt, stay close to the kayak since you are weighted and do not have your BCD on. There is a greater risk of dropping your weight belt by putting it on after you get in the water and into you BCD. 
5. Get into your BCD and check all your hoses. It is much easier to get into your BCD if you let enough air out of it so it barely floats. This way you are not fighting the buoyancy of it. As soon as you get it on put more air back into it until you are ready to drop down.
6. Make a final check of all your gear, disconnect the leash from your BCD and descend down the anchor line. Be sure to advise your dive buddy to do the same.

An alternative to floating the paddle should the current be very strong, is to place the paddle behind the seat area in the cradles molded into the kayak and under the backrest straps. Be sure to leave the paddle leash attached to the paddle in the event the paddle works itself free. Be aware of the paddle in this position while gearing up in the water.