How to Get Into and Out Of a Kayak Smoothly
Getting into and out of your kayak can be really easy if you have a good spot to launch and land. The best spots are nice sandy beaches where you hop into your boat as it rests at the edge of the water and then just push yourself out with your hands when you're ready. If you have a composite or thermo-formed kayak that you don't want to slide along the sand, you can get in while your boat floats in a few inches of water. The trick is to straddle your floating kayak with a foot on either side and then drop your butt quickly into the seat to sit down. You then just pull your legs in and you're ready to go.
If you need to get into your boat from a dock, you'll want to use its lowest point because the higher the dock is, the more difficult getting in will be. Start by positioning your kayak parallel to the dock and then sit down on the dock beside the kayak seat. With your feet in the kayak, turn your body towards the bow, get a good grip with both hands on the dock,and then lower yourself decisively into the seat. The key is to get your butt into the seat as quickly as possible. Of course you'll want to make sure you've kept your paddle close enough so that it's within easy reach once you're in. To get out at the dock, you can simply reverse these steps.
Of course getting in and out at a dock will be a lot easier if you have a friend who can hold your kayak still while you do it. This can be done from the dock or from the water. If you're the last person to get in, you can have someone pull up alongside your kayak and hold it steady as you get in.
Another situation you could encounter is having to launch or land your kayak on rocky shore lines. This is difficult because you can't get into your kayak and just sliding into the water. In this case, the best way to get in involves floating your kayak in the water, parallel to the shore and then using your paddle as an outrigger 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 in your kayak with one hand behind your back. Squat down beside the kayak, and slip onto or into your boat, while keeping a little weight on your outrigger.
You can get out of your kayak on uneven or rocky shorelines using the same technique in reverse. Although, it will be difficult if you have any waves to contend with. You're always best to find a completely sheltered spot for landing.
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