Sometimes some people with some boats are going to want to wear a thing called a spray skirt or spray deck. It's a great thing, it keeps the water out of the boat, and some extent, keeps you in the boat. You start off by getting a spray skirt that fits you, and the part that fits you is called the tunnel. You can step into it, and you pull the skirt up, higher than intuitive to where it comes up pretty much to your sternum. Right about here. And that would be the proper fit on you for your spray skirt.
Now that we've got the spray skirt on you, let's get the spray skirt on the boat. Again, make sure you've got a skirt that fits the boat that you're paddling, and yes, they do come in sizes. Start by putting the back of the skirt over the back of the cockpit coaming. As it gets to your hips, pull it tight, then slide your hands forward, make sure the grab loop is visible, put it over the front of the boat, and there you are.
Kayak Entry - Shallow Water
More people probably injure themselves getting in and out of kayaks than they ever would paddling. So you want to have a technique that works and gets you in and out safely. One of the best and safest is to put the kayak floating in shallow water, straddle the kayak, put your paddle out of the way, put your lower extremity in the kayak so that you're balanced, put your legs in. All done.
Kayak Entry - Deep Shoreline
Fairly often, you're going to be entering your kayak from a deeper shoreline that makes it impossible to straddle the kayak. So you're going to need to get in from one side. You're going to have the kayak near the dock or near the shoreline, parallel with that shoreline, and you're going to put your paddle across the kayak with the back face of the paddle against the dock or against the ground, and the paddle shaft right behind the cockpit combing.
You'll use your hands to hold the paddle shaft against that cockpit coaming, and that will stabilize the kayak as you slide your butt over the boat, put in one leg, put in another leg. You're safely braced by that paddle shaft against the shore or against the dock, and off you go.
This has been Mike Aronoff with Canoe Kayak and Paddle Company (CKAPCO). I hope we'll be seeing you on the water!
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