How To Launch And Land A Kayak

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Christina Bishop


a group of orange kayaks on a body of water with mountains in the background

In this post, we’ll let you know the proper way to launch and land your sit-on-top or sit-inside kayak!

How To Launch And Land A Kayak For Beginners

Have you ever wanted to go kayaking but didn’t know how to get started? Don’t worry, we’re here to help! In this blog post, we’ll show you how to launch a kayak so you can start enjoying the water. If you haven’t read our blog yet about kayaking for beginners, we highly recommend that you go read it first. Once you have read it, come back to this blog to learn more.

First, let’s go over some basics. Kayaks are small, narrow boats that are designed for one or two people. They are usually propelled with a paddle, foot pedals or even a motor! They’re a great way to explore rivers, lakes, and even the ocean.

How To Launch Your Sit-On-Top Kayak


Now that you know a little about kayaks, let’s get started on how to launch a sit-on-top kayak! The first step is to find a suitable body of water.

Depending on where you are, you may want to head towards a small, calm lake. Many reservoirs only allow electric-powered motors or kayaks. This makes it safer for you to test the waters. Once you’ve found your spot, it’s time to get your kayak in the water.

If you’re launching from a dock, position your kayak perpendicular to the edge of the dock. Then secure the kayak with a rope.

Be sure you have everything loaded into the kayak that you will need. Please, do not forget your paddle and a lifejacket! Next, sit down on the edge of the dock and then take your leg that is closest to the kayak and move it over the seat of the kayak. Your leg should be over to the other side of the seat.

You will then use your hands to grab a hold of each side of the kayak. Move your body into the kayak seat, and then swing your other leg over. Both legs should be comfortably in front of you. Once you have seated yourself, untie the rope and push off the dock.

If you are launching from a shore. place your kayak in the water parallel to the shoreline. You usually have to move the kayak away from the short by about 1 to 2 feet so that the kayak can float and avoid scraping dirt and rocks.

This means you should dress appropriately for wading into waters up to your knees. Follow the same steps as above to enter the kayak. Once you’re in the kayak, sit down and grab your paddle and gently paddle your way towards deeper water.

How To Launch Your Sit-Inside Kayak


If you’re using a sit-inside kayak, the steps are similar to launching a sit-on-top kayak. Be sure you put on your life jacket, and don’t forget your paddle!

Remember that sit-inside-kayaks can tip over more easily than sit-on-top kayaks, so it’s important to be safe.

Next, open the hatch cover that’s located on top of the kayak so you can access the inside storage area. Then, place your paddle inside the kayak so it’s within reach. If your kayak is equipped with a way to securely fasten the paddle to the side of the kayak then that is even better. Now it’s time to get in the kayak!

To enter a sit-inside kayak, put one knee on the edge of the kayak and then grab a hold of each side of the cockpit. Carefully lower yourself into the seat and then swing your other leg over so both legs are in the kayak. Use your hands to pull the cockpit towards you so that you’re securely in the kayak.

You may also want to use a spray skirt to keep water out of the cockpit area. To do this, simply pull the skirt up and over the cockpit area so it’s snug against your waist.

How To Land Your Sit-On-Top Kayak

If you are landing your sit-on-top kayak at a dock, you will simply approach the dock when there are no obstacles nearby and when the dock is clear.

Approach the dock and use your paddle in the water to control your position until your kayak is perpendicular to the dock. Have your rope ready, and secure the kayak to an available cleat.

To exit, you will then grab both sides of the kayak and step up onto the dock using your leg closest to the dock. Bring your other leg up onto the dock while holding on to a secure rail or edge of the dock.

If you are landing your sit-on-top-kayak on the shore or a bank, approach the shoreline carefully when you are clear of any obstacles.

Watch for rocks or logs as you approach the shallow waters, and position the kayak so it’s parallel to the shoreline by gently paddling until you are in position.

Once you are close enough, you can step out of the kayak by holding on to both sides as you step out of the kayak. Lift the bow of the kayak onto the shore carefully without dragging the kayak to avoid scraping it across rocks or other objects.

Once you exit, be sure the bow of the kayak is far enough over the shore so that the kayak does not float away You can also use a rope to tie the kayak to a tree or other object if the water is not shallow enough.


How To Land Your Sit-Inside Kayak

To land a sit-inside-kayak, you will need to follow the same steps as landing a sit-on-top kayak at a dock or a shoreline. A sit-inside-kayak has a spray skirt that needs to be adjusted or removed before you can exit the kayak.

Be sure that when you try to exit the kayak, you hold your body weight is stable and that your paddle is inside the hatch or securely fastened to the side as you hold both sides of the kayak when exiting.

Now that you know how to launch and land a kayak, it’s time to get out there and enjoy the water! I highly recommend that you go with a friend or family member.

If they don’t want to go out in the water with you, just have them hang out by the shore in case you run into unexpected trouble. Most lakes have a picnic table, so they can enjoy being at the lake too! Bring a whistle or an airhorn in case you need to get someone’s attention.

Cell phones don’t always work well when you are outdoors. Remember to always dress appropriately, be aware of your surroundings, and follow all safety guidelines.

I hope this blog was helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

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Christina Bishop, an ardent hiker and kayaker, distills years of outdoor adventures into expert guidance for fellow nature lovers. Her extensive experience is the foundation of trustworthy and professional advice on navigating the great outdoors. Christina’s dedication to the wilderness shines through her insightful tips, inspiring confidence and a deeper appreciation for nature’s wonders.