deep water launches

Hi all …anyone have any battle tested advice on deep water launches?( not the “seal” kind ) the kind of launches where u can’t put your feet down to steady yourself while u get in or out. I have tried separting my paddle and using the 2 halves as cruches of sort to steady myself while i get in/out …but that only works up to a point depending on depth. had a occassion, a couple of times where i almost ended up taking a swim. i have a tight cockpit opening …i can only slide 1 leg ata time when getting in/out. just wondering how everyone else manages it . thanx


– Last Updated: Jan-31-08 6:33 PM EST –

I am having some trouble visualizing what you are trying to do. Also, 'zactly how deep is the water and where are you trying to get in from? A dock, a rocky shoreline?

Take a look at the descriptions of how to enter here - from the pnet archives. Is any of this what you are doing?

Just from a boat or a dock?
Look under the guidelines section over at the left for getting in from a dock.

Believe it or not a seal launch really is the easiest way to enter deep water


– Last Updated: Jan-31-08 8:14 PM EST –

hi defintion of deep water as applied here is any water deep enuf to where yu cannot stand on bottom and steady yourself while u exit or enter the may be a dock or a creek side bank...or rocky shoreline..any place the bottom drops off quickly enuf to where u can't stand on bottom. I familiar with the "bridge " method of getting in. this works most of the time. I have a Solstice GT , and in order for me to get in and vice versa to get out ...i have to sit on the seat back or rear cockpit coaming and slide 1 leg in/out , slide my butt down/up a bit, grab my other leg , swing that in/out and down/up partway, then i can slide my whole body and legs downward/upward into/outta the boat. all easily accomplished in shallow ankle deep water and the bow or stern resting on shore. it's getting in/ out from docks/or other areas where i can,t rest part of the boat on shore for support while i get in/out ,is where i have a prob,where the water under me maybe deeper than my legs are long and the boat gets tippy and i need both hands to hold the boat while i slide in.
BTW: i'm curious ..if ya have to seal launch into deep water r yu gonna get out if the shore is that steep or high and the water deep?

One paddle blade behind cockpit,
with paddle extending out 90 degrees to one side of kayak, sit on paddle blade/rear deck, lean very slightly toward extended blade side so the extended paddle will give you some support, with hands under butt holding paddle in place lift you butt slightly and shimmy legs in, then sit butt down on seat. Reverse to exit. Also, good balance helps.


Can be a challenge for a beginner
It was for me. Getting in from a dock is not hard, but takes a bit of confidence/commitment and a bit of upper body strength that you might not have yet. If you are heavy, it is even harder. I took a lesson on mostly this, and it was worthwhile. Practice off a dock.

Here is something that is not graceful, but has worked for me and I still use if I am really tired or the situation is awkward. I don’t know anybody who would recommend it, but it has worked for me.

You can enter is a manner similar to what you would do in a typical rescue situation. Get the kayak parallel to you and face the stern. Slide your legs in and get one knee and then the other on the seat as you hold onto shore or a paddle outrigger. Keep your weight low as you transfer the weight to the boat. Keep your face on the rear deck of the boat as you slide into the cockpit. Now you have to turn yourself 180 into a layback position [keep your balance by staying low] You can exit by doing this in reverse. You will be bracing at times on the edge of the deck, but this is pretty instinctual.

I have never seen anybody else do or teach this, but it works for me. Be sure that your skirt is tucked up or you will be sitting on it. If anybody laughs, tell them you are practicing rescue re-entrys.

self rescue?
I’m at the point were I need to be learning self rescue and this sounds like exactly what you would have to do. Deep water can’t touch bottom reentry. I know there are various method, but the only one I’ve seen done is a Cowboy scramble.


One thing to remember
on the deep water launches is that you do not want any part of the kayak grounded. A little bit of the bow or the stern still on solid ground makes the kayak very unstable once you get in it. It is sometimes tempting to keep the kayak slightly grounded to keep it from slipping away, but it will make it very difficult to get in or out without tipping over.

In shallow water you can get enough of the hull grounded so that it does stabilize the kayak. Even if you do not get enough base in shallow water, the paddle out to the side method works well because you can put the blade on the bottom.

If you are in a really difficult situation you could always put your paddle float on the paddle and brace against the float in the water.


deep water entrance/exit
Start by having a buddy extend his bow or stern and placing yourself at the mid point of your K and pushing down and raising yourself to get into the K. It takes practice first then easy. Second way is using the bow or stern move yourself up toward the seating area and try to get into it. Using you paddle to balance the boat in a three point manner will assist in being steady. There is just the wet entrance and roll up right then pump out the water.

good points NM

You get out somewhere else.
Or you swim.

climb up the steep bank and rope your boat up.

if you are swimming next to the kayak and can’t seal launch, cowboy in, or climb in using standard assisted recovery techniques (an intentional “rescue”), the the reentry and roll is a reliable way to get into your kayak. From the sounds of it, it would be good to get some help on getting in your kayak starting from a beach. Way more convoluted than usually necessary. Most folks that can’t get in seat first, including me, sit on the back deck using the paddle for stability, and then slide both legs in with the butt following in one smooth motion.

Halfway point
And I know that the Solstice GT isn’t going to make this as easy as a boat like my Explorer. If it’s any comfort, the Solstice’s behavior here is probably closer to my Vela. That boat gives me a swim about once a year when I get careless exiting or entering in deeper water.

The only sure thing that I can think of which will help here would be to practice getting balanced on the deck behind the seat so that you can sit there longer without needing your hands on the boat. Also, instead of putting one leg in almost all the way, don’t slide down until both legs are started into the cockpit and slide into position as you slide your butt down into the seat.

I suspect that your biggest moment of inbalance is when you have one leg in. You could balance the boat there by pressing that foot against the footpegs and dropping a little weight onto that butt cheek. This will help counter the weight of the other leg being out from the boat.

However, I am unsure from your description about whether you have the fit to do this. Shooting both legs in at once from behind the cockpit might be a surer bet.