A kayak in motion is a beautiful and sleek sight. However, getting into and out of your kayak can be quite challenging and often lacks the same grace. When you’re launching your tandem kayak, you’ll likely encounter one of two common scenarios:
- Shoreline launches are a great way to get into your boat without having to worry about getting wet. Simply straddle the boat and sit down, and you’ll be good to go.
- The dock launch, where you have to stay steady as you inch your feet and backside into the vessel, can be one of the most difficult things to master when you’re a beginner kayaker.
Always check your boat and gear before any launch to ensure a safe and smooth journey. Inspect your vessel for any damage that may have occurred since the last time it was used and make sure to fix anything that could potentially become a problem later on. Your life jacket should fit snugly and all other essentials should be stored in an easily accessible location. Foot pegs should be adjusted properly and rudder/skeg, if applicable, should be raised.
Shoreline Put-In Points
- To launch your kayak from shore, carry it to your put-in point and set it down perpendicular to the shoreline. (If you’re launching into a river or have a long kayak, a parallel launch may be preferable.) For a perpendicular launch, the bow should face away from the shore and the stern should be close to the shore (but fully afloat).
- Place one of your paddle blades under the deck line in front of the cockpit, with the shaft sticking out to the side like an outrigger.
- Stand over the kayak, straddling the cockpit.
- Sit in the cockpit and buckle yourself in, then lift your legs and slide your feet into the cockpit.
- Sit on the seat with your back straight and both feet on the foot pegs.
- Use your paddle to move your kayak forward, avoiding any waves or boat wakes that may come your way. If you have a spray skirt, be sure to attach it before continuing.
- You can also buy best kayak rack for cars to make things more hassle-free for you.
Dock Put-in Points
Depending on the height of the dock in relation to the water, you’ll need to adjust your hand and body placement for the best balance while entering and exiting your kayak. Practice different techniques until you find the ones that work best for you.
Launching from a Dock
- Pick up your kayak and carry it to the dock. Place the kayak in the water parallel to the dock.
- Make sure to set the paddle down on the dock within arm’s reach of the cockpit, so you don’t have to go far to grab it when you need it.
- When you’re sitting on the dock, you can hold your kayak close by dangling a leg down into the cockpit.
- For your hand placement, you have a few options: With both hands on the dock, lower your butt onto the kayak seat, rotating your torso and sliding your feet forward into the cockpit as you do so. Alternately, You can also keep one hand on the dock and one hand carefully centred just behind the boat’s coaming.
- Make sure you’re sitting all the way back in your seat and that your feet are firmly on the foot pegs.
- Make sure you’re geared up for success by attaching a spray skirt to your kayak before you set off on your journey. Grab your paddle and go explore the open waters!