Kayaking is a fun and exciting way to explore lakes, rivers, and oceans. However, before you can paddle off into the sunset, you need to know how to get in and out of your kayak safely and efficiently. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of entering and exiting your kayak, including how to handle sandy and rocky shorelines, shallow and deep water, and uneven terrain. We’ll also cover some essential equipment, including life jackets, bilge pumps, and spray skirts. Getting in and out of a kayak may seem easy, but for many, it can be challenging and sometimes even embarrassing. You might have tried to look graceful but ended up with a less-than-graceful move, causing some discomfort or a good laugh from those around you. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. With some practice and a few techniques, you can learn how to get in and out of your kayak with ease and grace.
Tips for entering and exiting a kayak safely.
Let’s Learn the basics first:
Getting into Your Kayak:
Entering your kayak may seem simple, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Here’s how to get into your kayak using the “slide forward” technique:
- Place your kayak parallel to the shoreline, with the cockpit facing the water.
- If you’re on a sandy beach or shallow water, you can straddle the kayak and sit down on the cockpit rim. If you’re on a rocky or uneven shoreline, use your paddle to stabilize yourself and slide the kayak forward until it’s about a foot into the water.
- With one leg inside the kayak and the other outside, lower your body weight onto the kayak’s back half.
- Grab hold of the paddle shaft and lean forward, sliding your other leg into the cockpit.
- Once both legs are inside, sit up and position yourself so that your belly button is over the kayak’s center.
- If you’re using a spray skirt, secure it around the cockpit rim before you launch.
- If you’re launching from deep water or an ocean beach, you can launch parallel to the shore or perpendicular to the shoreline. To launch parallel to the shore, position your kayak alongside the beach and paddle out. To launch perpendicular to the shoreline, sit with your kayak parallel to the dock or pier and swing your legs into the cockpit.
Getting out of Your Kayak:
Exiting your kayak is just as important as entering it, and it requires some upper body strength and balance. Here’s how to exit your kayak using the “butt into the seat” technique:
- Paddle your kayak parallel to the dock or shore.
- With your kayak parallel to the dock or shore, position your paddle on the deck behind the cockpit.
- Grab the dock or shore with one hand and use the other hand to pull yourself towards it.
- Swing your legs out of the cockpit and onto the dock or shore.
- Once you’re stable, stand up slowly, keeping your weight low and centered.
- If you’re exiting onto a high dock or uneven terrain, you can use the “butt into the seat” technique. To do this, bring your kayak parallel to the dock or terrain and wiggle your butt into the seat.
- If you’re exiting into shallow water or an ocean beach, you can use the “slide back” technique. To do this, paddle your kayak onto the beach and slide back onto the sand.
Preparing for Launch for Getting in or exit
Before you even get into your kayak, make sure that you have everything you need at hand, such as your paddle and water bottle. This ensures that you do not have to leave your kayak to pick up a forgotten item, which can be frustrating. Here are some tips and techniques to help you launch with ease:
Position your kayak perpendicular to the shoreline: Place the front half of your kayak in the water and the back half on the sand, so you can push off into the water easily. If your boat is entirely on the sand once you get in, you won’t be able to push off.
Float your kayak in shallow water: If you are launching on a cement ramp or the water is too shallow to slide in, float your kayak in a few inches of water. You may need someone to help stabilize the boat while you get in.
Getting In and Out on a Beach or Ramp
Getting into a kayak on a beach or ramp can be a bit more challenging than from a dock, but it is still manageable. Here’s how to do it:
Straddle your kayak: Start by straddling your kayak just behind the cockpit rim and sitting down on the back of the cockpit.
Bring your feet into the cockpit: One at a time, bring your feet into the cockpit, straighten your legs, and then slide forward into the seat.
Position your thighs under the thigh braces: If you have to externally rotate and splay your knees underneath thigh braces, you can keep your knees slightly bent as you slide in, and then position your thighs under the thigh braces.
Swing your legs in and paddle away: If you have a sit-on-top kayak, swing your legs in, push off, and paddle away.
Getting out of a kayak on a beach or ramp requires more strength and balance. Follow these steps:
Step out of the kayak one foot at a time: Start by stepping one foot out at a time so that you end up straddling the kayak or have both feet out and on one side of your boat.
Pull yourself forward: Reach forward, grab the front of your cockpit, and pull yourself forward until you have the balance to stand up.
Be gentle with yourself: If you end up falling off to the side onto the beach, slide your butt onto the sand, roll over onto all fours, and push yourself up. Be gentle with yourself and able to laugh at yourself to keep it light.
Get in or exit a Kayak On a Rocky or Uneven Shoreline
Getting in and out of kayak on a rocky or uneven shore can be challenging. To make it easier, position your kayak parallel to the shore, then set-up the paddle with half inside and half outside the boat. Then, near the bow side of the paddle, place yourself on land and use both hands to hold onto it with most of it on land. When feeling stable enough, press into your paddle for leverage to quickly transition your body onto the seat, maintaining low posture throughout. With this technique you will easily be able to go out and enjoy those waves!
Getting in and Launching From a Rocky Shoreline
Woah, launching from a rocky shoreline can be tricky business! But if you follow these simple steps, you’ll be out and paddling in no time. First off, orientate your kayak parallel to the water so that it’s easier for you to get on. Make sure there’s a safe path to open water and that your boat won’t be trapped by any large rocks when you’re all set.
Before stepping into your kayak, check the tide level and make sure that you won’t be stranded once you hop in. Lastly, when getting in, do it slow and steady – avoid stepping too hard as that could cause your kayak to ground itself on larger rocks. Now you’re ready to hit the water!
Landing and Exiting on a Rocky Shoreline
If you’re getting out of your kayak on a rocky shoreline, you gotta be careful. The last thing you want is to get caught up on some submerged rocks or thrown off balance by a wave! First and foremost, scope out the area from a distance and look for any white foam or whitecaps that could mean rolling waves and hidden rocks. When it’s time to land, point your boat parallel to the shore and make sure your paddle is secure.
Now it’s time for the tricky part: getting out without tripping over seaweed or slipping on rocks. Make sure your legs and hips are ready, then prop yourself up with your hands while lifting one foot out of the kayak. If it helps, think of it as a dance move – just don’t forget to watch where you step!
Getting In and Out at a Dock
Getting into a kayak from a dock is one of the easiest ways to get in and out of your boat, especially if you have someone to hold it steady. However, if you’re on your own, follow these steps:
- Sit next to your kayak: Sit down next to your kayak on the dock, place your feet in the cockpit, and turn your body toward the bow of the boat while still sitting on the dock.
- Lower yourself quickly and calmly: Lower yourself quickly and calmly into the kayak, keeping your weight as low as you can while you do it. Make sure that you have a good and confident hold on the dock before getting into your boat.
To get out of the kayak at a dock, follow these steps
My apologies for the confusion earlier. To get out of the kayak at a dock, follow these steps:
- Paddle the kayak towards the dock slowly and carefully.
- Once you’re close enough to the dock, use your paddle to stabilize the kayak and prevent it from drifting away.
- Lift your legs out of the cockpit and place your feet on the dock.
- While holding onto the dock with one hand, use your other hand to push yourself up and out of the kayak.
- Stand up on the dock and carefully step out of the kayak.
- Once you’re out of the kayak, pull it up onto the dock so that it doesn’t drift away.
Remember to always be cautious when getting in and out of a kayak, especially at a dock where there may be other boats or people around.
On a rocky or uneven shoreline
Here You can use your paddle to help stabilize you as you get in and out of your boat. Line your kayak up parallel to the shoreline, and then set your paddle perpendicular to your boat across the back (or stern side) of the cockpit so that half the paddle crosses the boat and the other half lies on the shore.
To get in, sit on shore positioned to the front (bow side) of the paddle, and put your feet in the boat. Hold the paddle with your hands about shoulder width apart behind you. Make sure that most of your paddle is on the shore side of you. When it feels stable, press into your paddle and then quickly and calmly shift your butt into the seat, keeping your weight low as you move.
TIP: It’s important to place all of your weight on the side of the paddle that is on shore. Don’t be afraid to really lean on the paddle for support. If you try to balance your weight evenly across the entire paddle it’ll be more difficult to maintain balance because your boat is floating and is not as stable as the shore. To get out, you can use the same technique in reverse.
While in the Water
First things first, make sure you’re wearing a life jacket (or PFD) at all times! This is especially important for beginners or those who are paddling in unfamiliar waters. It’s also important to check the water temperature before getting in— if it’s too cold, you could be putting yourself at risk for hypothermia.
Once you’re ready to get in your kayak, make sure your paddle blades are parallel with the boat so they won’t catch on anything underwater. If you’re using a sit-in kayak, start by sitting on the edge of the boat with both feet inside and then carefully slide into position. For inflatable kayaks and tandem models, use one foot as a base while lifting yourself into it.
When it comes time to hit the water, try to find calm waters like shallow lakes or ponds—this will help keep your kayak steady while you get used to paddling. And if whitewater is more your speed, make sure to research safety techniques before tackling some serious rapids!
No matter what type of body of water you choose or how experienced a paddler you are, always remember that knowledge is key when it comes to getting in and out of a kayak safely and smoothly!
Once you have the knowledge and the proper gear, getting in and out of a kayak can be a smooth and safe process. But what about when you need to exit the water? Stay tuned for our next article to find out more!
Exiting From the Water
Exiting the water after capsizing can be tricky. Remain calm, taking a deep breath, and ensure that your life vest is fastened. If you are using a spray skirt, unfasten the bungee cord and remove it. Keep hold of your kayak and paddle once you reach the surface to avoid them floating off without you. Make your way to shore or climb back in your boat with an upright posture, feet flat on the bottom of the boat. And with that, you will have left the water like a pro!
Getting in From the Water
Hey, you know how it goes – you’re out there on the water and then boom! You capsize. Well, don’t worry, getting back in your kayak is a piece of cake. All you need to do is get your kayak right side up and then grab onto the near side with one hand and reach across the bottom of your boat with the other. Then give it a little pull and push to get it rotated towards you. There ya go! You’re back in business. Just make sure to have a life jacket or PFD handy just in case!
Useful Tips for Beginner Kayakers: What Every First-Time Paddler Should Know.
Sitting On Your Kayak (Properly)
While we’re talking about getting in and out of your kayak I think it’s also important to address correct posture while your sitting in your boat. A lot of recreational kayaks have back support that adjusts to lean back which invites you to position yourself as if you were sitting in a recliner watching TV. You may think that this is a comfortable way to sit, but in reality it is very bad for your back and shoulders and can make you more susceptible to injury. Not to mention that it’s very difficult to paddle properly while you’re leaning back.
Kayaking can seem daunting due to the amount of information that must be taken into account, but it is often seen as a rewarding activity.
The challenge adds to the fun.
As a beginner kayaker, it is important to be aware of certain tips in order to remain safe and have a pleasant experience.
Which Kayak are harder to get in ?
Sit inside kayaks are harder to hop in because you have to sit down in the cockpit before pushing off. This requires you to use your core strength and balance to get in and out of the kayak. Tandem kayaks are also harder because they usually require two people to get in and out. So you need proper practice otherwise, it will be a bad day of paddling.
Body weight Matters
When getting in and out of a kayak, your body weight can play an important role. If you are too heavy for the kayak, it will be harder to get in and out as the boat may become unstable. On the other hand, if you are too light for the kayak, it will be harder to maneuver and stay upright. Make sure that your body weight is appropriate for your chosen kayak before getting in or out.
Getting in and out of a kayak safely can feel intimidating at first, but with the right knowledge and equipment, it doesn’t have to be. By following the tips outlined above and being aware of your personal safety, you can enjoy a pleasant day out on the water without a worry. By taking the time to prepare yourself for a kayaking experience, you will ensure that you get in and out of your boat successfully and effortlessly. Just be sure to stay away from rough water, as it is safer option and also carry first-aid kit.
Also check article on how to choose the right kayak paddle length.