As a specialty kayak retailer, we at Aquabatics Calgary are the first information source for many people who think about purchasing or kayaking for the first time. When we chat with people considering recreational or sea kayaking, one of the most common discussion points is how to get in and out of a kayak.
For those of us who have kayaked before this may seem to be a trivial question, but it is one that causes concern for many potential paddlers. Many are dealing with old injuries and have mobility issues in their knees, shoulders and other joints. There are many different scenarios for entering and exiting rec/touring kayaks. You could be on a rocky beach, a dock or sandy beach. We have chosen a technique that is simple and can easily be adapted to most locations.
Steps for getting in and out of a kayak:
Carry your kayak to the water’s edge or utilize a kayak cart if that is appropriate.
Place your kayak in the water parallel to the shore and just deep enough to float.
Now place your kayak paddle over the deck of the boat behind the cockpit at a 90-degree angle to the boat. This creates stability and improves your balance by bracing the paddle on both the shore and deck of the kayak.
Stand in front of the paddle facing the front of the kayak and put one hand at each end of the paddle shaft.
Using your hands and paddle as support, take your leg closest to the boat and step into the cockpit (all the way to the far side if possible). Make sure to use your paddle and hands to keep the boat balanced.
Once balanced, step your other leg into the boat and lower yourself down into the seat. The first few times this may feel more like a ‘flop’ into the seat. However, as you practice you will find yourself getting into the seat with ease.
You are now ready to set out!
Getting out of a kayak
To get out of the kayak, simply mirror the steps you followed to get in.
Benefits of this technique
- It’s a versatile and easy way to get in and out of most types of kayaks!
- It prevents unnecessary scratching and damage to your boat. Some methods have you get in on shore and slide into the water which can cause needless wear and tear on the boat.
- With practice it is an easy and controlled way to get into your boat.
- It doesn’t require any gear other than what you will have available on any paddling outing.
We hope this short set of instructions is useful and puts your mind at ease about how to get in and out of a kayak.