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How to Launch a Kayak from a Dock

One of the first things we like to talk about when you're going to learn how to get into a kayak is keep in mind that more people tip over at the dock - getting either in or out - more than any other place on the water itself. We have a tendency to be overconfident about the fact that we should be able to get into a kayak with no problem.

Getting In

Getting In

  • Untie:  First thing I always like to do is look and make sure that I untie the boat, because once you do get into your cockpit, you want to make sure that you can paddle away and not look up and realize that you're still tied to the dock.
  • Paddle Placement:  The second thing is take your paddle and lay it alongside your kayak, so that once you do get in, you'll be able to reach right on over and grab the paddle.
  • Sit Down:  Next thing is sit down onto the dock, put both of your feet into the front of the cockpit, facing forward. I teach people to take their outboard hand (or their far-reach hand) and grab the side of the cockpit. Face forward, keep your weight to the dock, pulling the boat towards the dock, and then reach over and take your seat right down in the cockpit.
  • Adjust & Push Off:  Once you get inside, you can adjust your foot pegs. You can get yourself nice and comfortable. Reach on over, grab your paddle, and then gently push away from the dock, to get ready to start your actual tour of wherever you're going.

Getting Out

When you get ready to come back in, there's a couple of things that you're always going to want to do as well. You never want to try to reach out to grab the dock. You always want to work your way right up to the dock before you reach out, because if you miss that dock by this much, you're going to tip your boat over. You want to be able to reach the dock first.

Put your paddle back down onto the dock. Pull your outboard leg, or your farthest leg, out, up. Then bring yourself up, over, and onto the dock. Nice and easy. 

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