How to Get In And Out Of a Kayak- A Step by Step Guide for Beginners

Fact Checked By James A Rockey | Post Updated On: March 26, 2020

There are two types of kayaks: sit-inside and sit-on-top kayaks.  Beginners using the sit-inside need to get help from experienced kayakers to avoid accidents. The sit-ins kayaks are hard to get on and out. Your movement in and out of water is restricted since the kayak can be filled with water.

Our focus here is on the sit-on-top kayaks, which are user friendly and easy to get in and out anytime you want. Of course, you will get wet, but the freedom of movement and safety is worth it all. Here is the guide on how to get started:

Video Tutorial

If you want to know how to get in and out of a kayak properly; you can watch this video from PaddleTV –

Launch your kayak

Before thinking of how to get in and out of the kayak, you need to get it on the shore. Kayaks are comparatively heavier, with an average of 60 pounds. You need to take extra precautions to avoid hurting yourself in the process. You should stand next to the cockpit.

Launch Your Kayak
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The kayak should float on shallow water, so it does not float away. Ensure you have total control of the kayak as you prepare to get in. Using the paddle, place your kayak offset behind the cockpit, letting one blade touch the shore.

Now enter the cockpit carefully, ensuring there is balance. You can hold on the paddle to stay steady and avoid tipping off. Place one foot at a time and then slide both legs and sit in an upright position. 

Getting In And Out Of Kayak from Different Launching Points

For a successful kayak experience, you need to choose the right place to launch and land. With the right place to dock, getting in and out is stress-free, with no incidences of toppling over. Here are the best places to dock how to get in and out comfortably:

Kayaking from the shore

Launching your kayak from the beach is much more comfortable and mostly recommended for first-timers. Slide the kayak perpendicular to the shoreline such that half of the front side is in water, and the rest is on the sand. Use this method when using sturdy kayaks suitable for sandy beaches. You then get in the kayak in a seated position, then swing your legs in and maintain stability. Once you are entirely in and well-seated, push the whole kayak in water and paddle.

Landing the kayak can be a bit tricky compared to getting in. Paddle the kayak towards the shoreline perpendicularly. Stop when the kayak is floating in a few inches of water. Start by getting one foot out then the other on the same side of the boat. Stand up while holding the cockpit once stable grab your kayak to prevent it from floating away, and pull it out to the beach.

Kayaking from the dock

 As a beginner, you might have a challenge launching the kayak at the dock. Consider getting help from someone to hold the kayak while you get in. If there is no one to help you lower the kayak in the water such that it is parallel to the dock. Do this on the side with the lowest water depth. Place paddle within reach and sit close to the kayak as much as possible. Lower your feet first and quickly turn your body next to the front of the kayak and slide in swiftly. Grab your paddle and enjoy kayaking.

Getting out as earlier indicated is not easy. Reverse the procedure of getting in by paddling the kayak to the lowest point of the dock. Hold on to the pier to gain balance, then stand up and get out quickly on to the dock. Alternatively, you can pull your backside out of the kayak if it is at the level of the dock then followed by your feet. Stay steady, then grab your kayak from water to prevent it from floating away.

Kayaking on a rocky shoreline

If you cannot summon the confidence to launch the kayak from the rocky shore, then leave it to experts. It can be risky given the uneven surface and the waves that might sweep through. However, we are going to show you how to do it. Lower the kayak parallel to the shoreline with the paddle perpendicular to it. The shaft of the paddle should rest on the back of the cockpit with two blades supported by the currents. Hold on to the paddle shaft and the cockpit rim behind your back.

Squat down with care to the kayak while keeping your center of gravity low. Continue holding to the paddle as you sit and wind your legs in once you are stable, grab your paddle and kayak like a pro! Use the same process in reverse to get out of the kayak. Always keep the balance and wait for the heavy currents to slow before getting out.

The Right Sitting Posture

By now, you know how to get in and out of a kayak safely. However, sitting correctly in the kayak makes a whole lot different. Even with inclined seats, always maintain an upright posture to have reasonable control when paddling and to prevent back and shoulder injuries. Keep your head balanced and lift your chest while avoiding sticking them forward. You will then be able to paddle with ease without any discomfort.

If you experience any form of pain even when sitting correctly, try checking if the hamstrings and hips are fastened tightly. If so, it is good to do some perform paddling stretches before and after kayaking. They flex your muscles and get you prepared for kayaking.

Final Take

To become an expert kayaker like Rockey (:)), you need to get in and out of the kayak without assistance. Not that it reaches a time when you are alone, and this should not stop you from kayaking. With the guidelines above, you should be able to get in and out of the boat anywhere anytime. Start with the shore, then the dock, and finally the rocky areas. After a few expeditions getting in the sit-on-top kayak should be stress-free.

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