"tricks" for getting into kayak...

  • when there is no nice sandy beach
  • when the land is not level with water

    Basically when the condition are not perfect for getting on the water. Anyone willing to share what they learned thru years?


To be very careful and …
always be ready to swim

No info on your boat or the specific conditions but some of this may work…

Find a place where the water is relatively shallow, like a knee deep dirt or rock ledge under the water, and get into the boat either of two ways. Sit up onto the back deck just behind the coaming then either put in one leg at a time or just slide in. Brace the paddle on the water to help with balance, or between between the back of the boat and a solid point on shore to help with stability.

If a sloped bank, get into the boat and the skirt on then either push yourself or get pushed for a seal launch.

Slide onto the back of the boat and paddle out a few feet that way, then get into the cockpit.

Just off the top of my head - and yeah they all require getting more than toes wet. But it’s kayaking…

1 Like

Ins and Outs of Kayaking
To get a “visual” on what Celia said, look at “Ins and Outs of Kayaking” which is a Weekly Article under Features in the left margin of this website. I spent 30 minutes working on this very thing with a new kayaker (a 13 YO) yesterday and he was able to get in and out of his kayak with ease. I also spent some time on self-rescues.

Any day on the water is a great day - and the Carolina water is great today.


Expect to wade
Kayakers always expect to wade in. If you are entering from a high-floating dock – good luck – just don’t hit your head.

thanx guys…
thanx guys but I wasnt asking how to get in the kayak when all is good… I was asking how to get in when its tough and you cant just wade in hehe :slight_smile:

I guess I will always have to look for that one spot where I can stand on the bottom.

Wooosies … tell him how to Seal Launch

– Last Updated: May-28-07 12:30 PM EST –

Google for Kayak Seal Launch ......



I couldn't find the seal launch from the helicopter video.

Using a sea kayak…
… but man… LOL nice videos hehehe :slight_smile:

Remember,…where the butt goes

– Last Updated: May-28-07 1:27 PM EST –

the legs will follow...most of the time.

Works in a sea kayak too.

– Last Updated: May-28-07 5:04 PM EST –

Good reason to buy plastic.


Note on seal launching
When launching down a wooded embankment, hold paddle parallel to boat. The stylish overhead grip works only if the gap between the trees is wider than your paddle.

I’ll let you imagine how I learned this…:wink:

Generic solution?
As a generic solution you can always use a “reentry and roll.” If you are always needing to step down into the boat then you probably need an open boat.

Now that would have been a good video

back deck
What I like to do when in conditions or the ocean bottom is uneven is to simply straddle the boat and launch/land with my butt just sitting on the back edge of the cockpit and feet hanging over the sides. When landing, I can simply stand up when I get to shore and either let the boat go up on shore or lean on it when the ground is uneven until I get my footing.

When launching, I have used this forwards and backwards. This weekend, on a long crossing had to stop on a kelp covered rock that was getting washed by the waves. Landed that way, pulled my boat up and when ready to launch again, just simply straddled the boat and seal launched backwards sitting on the edge of the cockpit.

The tricky part there is to have your paddle ready for bracing if need be. When done right, very graceful, when done wrong, very wet.


back deck
Sitting on the back deck without using a paddle to support yourself is good balance practice anyway. Once you’re used to this, you should be able to slide in pretty easily but I haven’t tried any of this in waves…

There should be a lot of ways to get in your boat depending on the conditions. Be creative and you’ll come up with a few. Dock launches are possible but fairly difficult. If the dock is higher than your arms it will be very difficult but I’ve seen it done.

Get a
SOT!! Much easier to get in and out of!

make sure guinness is in the hatch
I always manage to get in if there’s a guinness in the day hatch

I usually just take a running leap.

I would guess that entering a slender yak (esp ocean cockpit) from a high dock or embankment would be much like chasing a fart through a bucket full of nails…

don’t do it.

I just drop into the water, tip the boat over, and do a re-entry and roll unless someone is in their boat already next to mine holding it for me.