Difficult entry & exit of kayak

Why spend money for a guess?

– Last Updated: Dec-07-12 5:05 PM EST –

I admit I was in a grumpy mood. I was also put off by the concept that any older person of the female type - like myself albeit I don't have this issue - would not consider something just because of concerns voiced on a discussion board. I am guessing she is at least my age, and at past 60 I wouldn't care.

My problem with it is that it requires an investment in equipment that might not even be apt for the OPer's boat, and could still leave her with the same problem.

There suggestions that do not involve money first that might work. Unless and until the OPer lets folks know where her problem is - upper body strength, knees or other joints that won't bend well or basic balance - the no-cost options could work just as well and be easier to implement. In fact I am curious about why anyone would jump right on advising a device rather than start with the more basic steps that often work.

And yes, Ingvar's knees bend a hell of a lot better than the post-surgical knees of a few women in our local paddling group. And not just older ladies - also better than the right knee of my 20-yrs-younger yoga instructor after a fall walking her enthusiastic but large puppy.

How I do it is
Getting in, straddle the kayak and sit in, then pull my legs in. Getting out, I raise my bum to sit on the back deck, pull my legs out, then grab the cock pit combing at the front to pull myself up to a standing position, straddling the kayak. It does help with upper body strength to get the bum onto the back deck though.

Don’t spend money
Please understand, I am not suggesting against all other advice given by you and other posters. It is all good advice. The more the merrier. All I am saying is that this is another option that may or may not help depending on the circumstances. Since the OP is not new to paddling, chances are that she has already tried many of the previously mentioned advice.

Born in a kayak shop and having paddled all his life, I’m sure Ingvar already knew of and considered all other options that has already been mentioned in this thread. Still he realized that he could use an extra handle to help with entry and exit. If he found it helpful, chances are others (not everyone) might also find it helpful.

I should also point out that I’m not suggesting to order a simple product like this from across the world. (Given the fact that it might not fit her kayak.) But if the idea seems helpful to the OP she may consider it an inspiration for a low cost DIY project.

Kayak dock launch help
I came across this item and it solved all our problems getting and out.



What’s That Smell?

– Last Updated: Dec-08-12 10:55 AM EST –

Smells like...

some stealthy marketing. Anyone else smell it?

(I'd just like a little $$$ for participating in this commercial.)

kayak balance
Maybe you can enter and exit in shallow water with the boat parallel to shore. A sit on top might be easier. The important thing is to keep paddling and do not worry about how you look.

What I do with a dock like that
There’s a place where I paddle sometimes where the dock sits about level with the deck of the boat. I lay the top part of my body on the dock such that I can stick my legs in the boat. This casues the boat to come on edge and move slightly away from the dock, but my legs are in the cockpit and my arms are on the dock, I slide in and and I hip flick up. It feels a little like doing hip flicks on the side of a pool. I like the feel of that control I have. You can kind of do the same thing getting out, but it’s not quite as elegant. I learned this when I launched off the back of my sister’s powerboat once which has one of those ski platforms in the back. Probably not for everyone, but I like it for a low dock situation.


That’s a Truly Embarrassing Ad
Safety’s all about entering and exiting your kayak, with the lads’ jim-dandy little rig to help you, isn’t it? And then off our hero goes, no nothing - PFD, spare paddle, throw bag, zipping right along that scenic concrete wall - a patter line and sound track that’s right up there with fingernails on a blackboard - oh my, oh my…


– Last Updated: Dec-14-12 4:39 PM EST –

I have difficulty lifting myself out of the kayak.
I've found I can exit by using the paddle against the bottom or the bank to stabilize the kayak I can rotate in the cockpit into a hands on the stern deck and knees in the seat, raise to my feet and step out of the kayak quite reliably. This in a ocean cockpit.

Rennyrij, I too am an older paddler.
Depending on the put-in site, I use different methods.

I use a paddle behind the seat method or straddle for shoreline entry. When straddling, at times, I will push the boat forward until clear of my legs then pull it to shore.

I still paddle sit-inside kayaks but with cockpits a bit longer than sea kayaks, especially for longer trips. I have a 14’ Necky Vector SOT that is 24 or 25" wide and it’s a piece of cake (for me) to get out of. I can either exit by straddling or turning my body sideways, with the legs over the side and just stand up.

Check out friends or other paddlers boats and if they’re like most paddlers, they’ll gladly let you try the fit and/or entering and exiting.

I watched the video and though it seems a good concept, it wouldn’t be for me. I didn’t like the way one would have to put a hole into the top of top of the kayak, just forward of the cockpit and also to have part of the aperatus screwed to the floor of said boat. But that’s just me.

The gentleman that was the model in the video was tall and quite slim, which some of us older folks are not.

As one who has experience working with older citizens, as noted in her replies, Celia made some good observations for folks to consider.

Thanks to all for your input. May Rennyrij find what she’s looking for and BTW–Welcome back!

painter line…
Attach a nylon rope to your bow that easily reaches you in the cockpit and grab hold of the the line to help pull yourself up with one foot outside the boat. It helps to have someone holding onto the boat that will tend to slide backwards. Using this method allows some steadying and an elevated pull point from the normal combing height. Does take a bit of getting used to but handy in shallow water.

I have to agree with Celia on this
I watched the video and that looks like just about the most difficult way I can imagine to get in and out a kayak for an older person. The guy in the video appears to have both upper and lower body strength and good balance and he’s on the slim side. Many people over age 60 have problems in all three of those categories—strength, balance, and body weight. Some people have trouble getting out of a chair, let alone standing up in a kayak from a seated position.

This method is foolproof
. . . except when there are strong waves arriving perpendicular to shore. So let’s assume fairly calm conditions.

This method requires the least strength and flexibility. It relies on gravity rather than strength.


Place kayak parallel to shore.

Hold paddle parallel to kayak.(Paddle will not be used to assist. You just want to protect it.)

Grasp coaming with both hands at front of cockpit.


Drop rear end gently into seat, using hands on coaming and foot in center to steady and support you.

You are now in a balanced position with one foot still on the bottom of the lake for stability and you can stay like that as long as you like.

Bring in other foot

SIDESADDLE EXIT (described for left-side exit)

Pull up parallel to shore in water about 12-14" deep. Shore is on your left.

Take out left foot and place on bottom. Use that foot for balance.

Left hand grasps coaming on left side of left knee. Right hand grasps coaming at front right of cockpit.

Swivel body so your chest is facing the shore.

Bring out right foot and place on bottom.

You are now sitting sidesaddle in a balanced position with both feet on the bottom (of the lake). You can sit like that as long as you like.

Now comes the only tricky part. Bend forward slightly and stand up. Do NOT push down with your left (forward) hand) as that will swamp you. DO push down with your right hand, which by now is behind you. That provides a counterforce for your body to push against and keep the kayak steady. Your body is putting pressure on the shore side of the kayak. You want to put equal counterpressure on the water side.

This is a lot easier than it sounds. It just takes practice. I’ve only been dumped when hit from the side by a strong wave. That situation requires more rapid exit perpendicular to shore.

Why does my method exit parallel to shore? So both feet are standing at the same depth in shallow water.

tktoo suggested trying a canoe and I
suggest that MAY be a solution. It seem that trying to sit on or get up from a position that places your butt at or near floor level is difficult. Sitting or kneeling in a canoe is generally an easier position to attain or recover from.

Yes, canoes can be tricky for someone with balance or other age related issues but the idea is worth trying. There are numerous variations to get into and out of the canoe as well, so some experimenting is likely to be worthwhile. I’d suggest beginning with a canoe on soft grass, sand or even indoors on a rug. A Royalex or similar plastic boat would be virtually immune from any damage in such a scenario. If after some experimentation, perhaps with some assistance, the idea shows promise, I’d move the boat to the water and try again. If done with a borrowed boat, it’s a no cost experiment. How can you loose?

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom Paddles and Woodstrip Canoes

Single blading
Well, if I were an “elderly” female, single blading a canoe would not be my first choice, especially if the poster’s resources are limited and the canoe is likely to be heavy.

If you get out of a SOT a little
ways away from the shore, then “your butt at or near floor level” is no longer a problem. Just turn to the side, with your feet in the water, standing on the bottom. Stand up. I’ve got bad knees and leg strength issues and this has always worked well for me.

Canoe is likely to be heavy?
Heavier than a kayak? I believe we’re talking solo canoe.

Canoe heavy?

– Last Updated: Dec-24-12 9:44 AM EST –

A solo canoe (I assume we were referring to a solo kayak) made of similar materials to the kayak in question will undoubtedly be lighter in weight than the kayak.

Come to the Florida Canoe Symposium and try out a few. Better yet, sign up for classes. New this year is "Canoeing for Kayakers". The new class is expressly designed for kayakers who wish to add to their repertoire.

See the website: www.freestylecanoeing.com

Marc Ornstein

Exactly right
As described in the sidesaddle method above. Getting the right water depth is important. I like about 14", or a few inches below the knees.

Example of a light CHEAP solo canoe?
My intuition tells me that the OP is not going to be looking at kevlar etc. I tried an Old Town 12’ Pack canoe and wow, was it ever slow.