How to Get In & Get Out of a Kayak

Written by Best Kayak Guide

Feb 12, 2022

February 12, 2022

Kayaks are personal vessels that many people enjoy using on a regular basis. It is a great way to get out on the water. However, if you have never kayaked before, it can be difficult to get in and out of the boat without dunking yourself, but with practice, it gets easier. Let’s look at how simply we can answer you about getting in and out of your kayak next time you go paddling. Read our article about How to Get In & Get Out of a Kayak.

How to Get In & Get Out of a Kayak

There are a few ways to get in a kayak, but the most common is to sit in the cockpit and hold on to either side of the boat with your hands. Place one foot on each side of the kayak, and then lean back so that you’re resting on your butt. Now push off from where you’re standing with your feet. This should move the kayak away from you. While you’re still leaning back, put both hands on the paddle shaft and pull it towards you. The best way to do this is by holding the paddle like a spear and pushing down on one side of the shaft, then repeating on the other side. This should move you into a kneeling position in the kayak. The rest of the way in is pretty simple; just slide the rest of your legs into the boat.

The other common exit is called a paddle float re-entry, which means that instead of climbing over the side, you’re using your paddle as a float to maintain buoyancy and slowly climb out of the kayak. To do this, grab onto either side of the kayak with your hands. Lean forward and put one foot on each side of the boat and use them to push yourself up so that you can straddle the boat. Once you’re up, rest your paddle shaft on top of the kayak. Then use one hand to grip the shaft where it meets the blade and use the other hand to grab onto the kayak. Lean forward and twist your body so that you’re facing away from the boat, then push up to a standing position. You should now be out of the boat, and it will remain afloat until you’ve attached your paddle as afloat.

Places of Get In & Get Out:

Kayaks can be launched from a few different areas, but the most common is to carry your kayak down to the water and then attach it to a dock or other piece of sturdy structure that is at about the same level as the water. Then you should climb into your boat and paddle away in a safe direction. If there’s no dock, pier or launch ramp available to easily get in, you can try to get into your kayak by pulling it up onto the closest shore or mudflats at low tide.

Especially when you are reaching out to those unfamiliar shores, you should make sure that the area is dry before you move your kayak onto land because in case you skid and hit bottom, it could damage your kayak’s hull. Still, if you don’t find yourself comfortable, you can prepare yourself and put the kayak on the water and take it a little further where you don’t get any rocky obstacles and then start paddling. If you find even that could be challenging due to deep/rough water conditions, you will have to embark from the rocky shore itself. Finally, you will have to follow the same kind of solutions if you are already paddling by the shore and trying to reach out land to get out of the kayak.

Steps to Follow:

Steps to Follow

Shore:

It’s easy to get in and out of a kayak at the shore, but it depends on the type of kayak you have. If you have a sit-in kayak, then getting in and out is a little more difficult because you have to climb over the cockpit. But if you have a sit-on-top kayak, then getting in and out is much easier because you can just step or jump on top of it. So it really depends on what type of kayak you have. But either way, it’s not too difficult to get in and out of a kayak at the shore.

  • Sandy Shore:

Get-in Steps

– Start off in shallow water about angle depth.

– Place your paddle just after the cockpit room on the rear deck of your kayak at the right balance.

– One step in front of the paddle squat down.

– Grip the paddle shaft in the rear of the cockpit with both hands tipping the kayak towards the side you are getting in.

– The paddle is now acting as an outrigger and stabilizing the kayak.

– Keep the pressure down, so the blade stays in contact with the bottom.

– Use the paddle shaft and rear of the cockpit to support your weight.

– Take the other leg into the cockpit and settle into the seat.

– Shift the weight off the paddle blades and centre yourself in the boat.

– Finally, push off to the water with the help of your hands.

Video Guide: (00:21) | (01:16)

Get-out Steps

– Use the same above get-in technique in reverse.

– Start by placing your paddle behind you on the back of the cockpit rim.

– Firmly grip the paddle shaft and the cockpit rim.

– Shift your weight slightly until the end of the paddle shaft is resting on the bottom.

– Slowly raise off the seat bringing one leg out and with having the same wait balance the other leg as well.

– Finally, slowly stand up with tipping the boat.

Video Guide: (01:44) | (02:10)

  • Rocky Shore:

Get-in Steps

– Floating your kayak in the water parallel to the shore.

– Just like in the sandy shore example, use your paddle as an outrigger for support.

– Place your paddle at 90 degrees to the kayak with the shaft resting on the boat just behind your cockpit rim.

– Then, one of the blades supported it on the rocky shore.

– Grab the paddle shaft with the cockpit rim using one hand behind your back and the other hand on the paddle bar beside the kayak.

– Put one leg into the cockpit followed by the other, and slowly slip on into the cockpit seat.

– Shift the weight off the paddle blades and centre yourself in the boat.

– All set! Now gently move away from the shore bit of paddling.

Video Guide: (01:53)

Get-out Steps

– Use the same above get-in technique in reverse.

– Place your paddle at 90 degrees to the kayak with the shaft resting on the boat just behind your cockpit rim.

– Then, one of the blades supported it on the rocky shore.

– Grab the paddle shaft with the cockpit rim using one hand behind your back and the other hand on the paddle bar beside the kayak.

– Put one leg out of the cockpit followed by the other and slowly rise up, keeping the body weight on the paddles.

– All set! You are safely out of the kayak.

Video Guide: (02:19)

Dock:

It’s not too hard to get in and out of a kayak at the dock, but there are some things that you can do to make it easier. First of all, try to time your arrival and departure for low tide, when the water is at its lowest. This will give you more room to work with. If it is a floating dock with a slanted surface, then it is easier to get in and out of a kayak. If the dock has stairs or if it is on land, then it might be quite difficult to get in and out of a kayak. Also, If the dock has a gradual slope, then getting in and out of a kayak is easy. However, if the dock has a sharp drop-off or if it’s made of slippery material like wood or concrete, then its challenging to get in and out of a kayak. In whatever the case, it’s important to be careful when getting in and out of a kayak at the dock.

Get-in Steps

– Untie the kayak from the dock.

– Take the paddle and lay it alongside the kayak.

– Sit down onto the dock but put both of your legs into the cockpit one after another, and stay facing forward of the kayak.

– Take your outboard hand or far reach hand and grab the side of the cockpit rim.

– Face forward of the kayak while keeping your weight to the dock and pulling the kayak towards the dock, and then slowly reach on the seat.

– Holding the dock, adjust yourself nice and comfortable.

– Finally, Grab your paddle and gently push away from the dock.

Video Guide: (00:22)

Get-out Steps

– Reach the dock only by paddling.

– Keep the paddle alongside the kayak just like at above get-in method.

– Use the same above get-in technique in reverse.

– Put your outboard leg out and up position. Take your outboard hand and grab the side of the cockpit rim.

– Put your body weight on the dock using the other hand and take a quick rise up and sit on the dock.

– Finally, Take both of your legs out on the dock and carefully stand up.

Video Guide: (01:23)

Water:

Some kayaks have a lot of rocker (meaning the bow and stern are curved upwards), which makes it easier to get in and out. Others, like whitewater kayaks, have less rocker and are more difficult to get in and out of. However, the shape of most of the kayaks makes it more stable even in the middle of the deep water; at the right technique, it’s easier to get in and out of. You’ll need to use your arms and your upper body strength to get in and out of the kayak in the deep water. It’s always important to be aware of the conditions around you before trying to get in or out of your kayak. Always be aware of boats or other objects passing by that could cause you to lose your balance.

Get-in Steps

– First, get rid of your paddle. So, put through the bungee strings, go alongside the top of the kayak.

– Go all the way to the end and stop by the thickest place of your kayak because it can easily go down into the water and help you get in.

– Put both of your hands on the kayak and grab from the edge of the other end.

– Kick your legs until the lower part of your body comes upon the water.

– Then quickly push up with your chest on the count of three two one and jump on the kayak.

– Stay relaxed and calm for a few seconds.

– Now, turn on to the front side of your kayak by putting both your legs out from the two sides of the kayak.

– Lay down, relax and be cool for your next move.

– Sit up and spread your legs out to the sides like outriggers.

– Keep moving up until the centre of the cockpit while lowering your body weight to the centre of the kayak.

– Put your hands behind you and grab the rear cockpit rims, and simply sit down.

– Finally, put your legs inside one after another.

Video Guide: (00:10)

Get-out Steps

– Use the same above get-in technique in reverse.

– Put both of your legs outside of the kayak slowly, one after another.

– Hold the two sides of the cockpit rims by your hand.

– Lift yourself up by putting the bodyweight on the cockpit rims.

– Keep moving down until the thickest place at the end of the kayak.

– Lay down on the kayak by spreading your hand and legs like outriggers.

– Turn yourself 90 degrees from the forward side of your kayak.

– Finally, gently slide onto the water with the push from your chest and hands.

Do’s & Don’ts in General:

Do's & Don'ts in General:

Do’s:

  • Always wear safety gear before getting water.
  • Check the kayak hull condition or the air pressure level if it’s an inflatable kayak.
  • Make sure you got all the accessories you need on board before getting in to avoid the hassle of going back and forth.
  • Be aware of the conditions around you before trying to get out of your kayak onto the deep water.
  • Be very careful with body positioning and balance at each step.

Don’ts:

  • Do not keep anything on your hands, and it should be free when you are getting in or out.
  • Never get in or get out of a kayak in a hurry unless you have good practice.
  • Never follow easy or quick methods online to get out of a kayak onto the deepwater unless you have mastered the correct technique.
  • Dot to try to reach out to a dock by outstretching your hand because if you miss the dock by one inch at your maximum stretch, there is a chance you tip over.
  • The practice of getting in and out is something that has to go gradually, so never skip or undervalue any of these steps until you master it.

Practice Makes Perfect:

The first step on your kayaking trip is the most important. It might also be one of the most difficult to accomplish correctly. There’s a good chance you’ll end up getting into the water unintentionally, which is fine; it’s part of the kayaking experience to go belly-flopping in the water.

Practice makes it easy to get in and out of a kayak because it allows you to learn the proper techniques for doing so. Also, it’s also important to be aware of your body positioning at each step of getting in and out of different situations.

When you’re first starting out, it’s important to take your time and go slowly. The good news is that, with a little effort and the skills we’ve described, you’ll be an expert in no time. Once you’ve mastered these steps, getting in and out of a kayak will be a breeze!

How to Get In and Get Out of a Kayak
How to Get In and Get Out of a Kayak

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