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How to Get In and Out of a Kayak Smoothly

In this video, we're gonna look at the best ways to get into and out of your kayak because this is when you're most vulnerable to capsizing. It goes without saying that having someone on hand to stabilize your kayak will make a big difference. But with the techniques we're going to look at, you can smoothly get into or out of your kayak by yourself in most situations.


Getting into and out of a kayak can be easy if you have a good spot to launch and land. The best spots are sandy beaches where you can hop into your kayak at the edge of the water and then push yourself out with your hands.

From a Dock 

If you're getting into your boat from a dock, you'll want to use the lowest point on the dock. Start by positioning your kayak parallel to the dock and then sit down on the dock beside the kayak's seat. With your feet in the kayak, turn your body towards the bow. Hold onto the dock with both hands and lower yourself decisively into the seat. They key is getting your butt into the seat as quickly as possible. Of course, before doing this, you'll want to make sure your paddle's close enough to reach from the kayak. If you need to get out of your kayak at a dock, you'll simply follow the same steps in reverse. Whether you're getting in or out, it'll be a lot easier if you have a friend who can stabilize your kayak while you do so. But don't expect them to be able to stop you from flipping.

From Rocky Shoreline 

Another situation that you'll encounter is having to launch or land on a rocky or irregular shoreline which doesn't let you slide into the water like you can from the beach. In this case, the best way to get in involves floating your kayak parallel to the shore and then using your paddle as a brace on shore for support. You'll place your paddle at 90 degrees to the kayak, with the shaft resting on the boat, just behind your seat, and one of the blades supported on shore. You'll then grasp the paddle shaft and your kayak with one hand behind your back, squat down beside the kayak, and slip onto or into your boat while keeping a small amount of weight on the paddle. You can get out of your kayak on uneven or rocky shorelines using this same technique in reverse, although it will be difficult if you have any waves to contend with. 

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