I was wondering what the general feeling is as to launching an inflatable kayak from a boat ramp or dock? I recently purchased a Sea Eagle 330 and the representatives there have instructed that it is best to launch from a ramp - putting the stern and skegs in the water first, and then walking part way in until the rest of the boat is in sufficient water so as to avoid scraping the bottom on the macadam or cement boat ramp.
The lake where I plan to use the kayak does have a boat dock - but it is a bit higher off the water than might be good for launching an inflatable and also is in a severely algae-infested part of the lake.
Why not just launch it the way most
paddlers launch any kayak or canoe, and that is to put it completely in the water where none of it is scraping on the ramp, sand or rocks and then get in ?
Agree with JackL
I like inflatables for what they can do, but they are not an especially dry ride in my experience. They are pretty stable to get into though. Get the clothing you need to be able to drop the boat and walk on into the water a bit.
As to the dock, I can get in and out of a 21.5" wide sea kayak from a dock that comes up to the top of my legs standing in the boat, higher if there is a ladder. It’s not my favorite exit at the end of a long paddle, but I’ve found it to be doable with practice. I suspect that dock would work fine for getting in and out, the bigger issue would be cleaning the algae off a cloth surface.
The area of water a vessel occupies when made fast to a pier, wharf or float.
It’s a confidence issue.
Newer paddlers tend to need the security of launching from a solid base. Once into the sport, they learn to put the kayak into deep enough water to float it (a few inches will do). The same goes for landing the kayak. Exit the craft when it is still floating. Once you try it a few times, it becomes second nature.
Some people never learn this. They are the ones that complain about the fact that stones are jammed in their skeg boxes. (From launching with the stern on shore.)
Launch from walls, ladders, beaches
just watch for sharp things and careful not tolet your boat slip under a dock
IKs are so stable
that I can’t recall ever having an issue getting in. I hate scraping boats on the shore, so I just float the IK and jump in – I think usually butt first, then swing my legs around. I think I’m typically standing in some water when I do this. (However, I can easily imagine keeping my feet dry if desired by standing on the shore, then in one motion pushing the IK out sideways into the water and jumping in butt first.) Crazy stability has its benefits.