How To Launch And Land A Kayak


Kayaking is one of the most attractive water activities. It is fun, it will allow you to meet nature from another perspective, and last, but not least, it has multiple health benefits. Learning how to kayak is not complicated, but learning how to properly get into it or get out of it once the session is over can be challenging. This article will help you learn the best ways to launch your kayak, and it will also show you the easiest ways to get out of it.

Types Of Kayaking Launches

There are two types of kayaking launches shoreline launch and dock launch. They depend on the place and environment where you intend to enter the water. The difference is in the entering technique. While in the shoreline launch you’ll have to straddle the boat before you enter, during the dock launches the key is to stay stable and keep your balance while you slide your feet and your bottom into the cockpit and kayak seat.

Prelaunch Check-up

Before you go, make sure you’ve brought all the needed stuff. Check for your safety kit, make sure your kayak life jacket is working and comfortable, your kayak drysuit or your kayak wetsuit is in a good shape and that your kayak accessories are well stored in their place.

Kayak Launching From The Shore

There are a few steps you have to take to successfully launch your kayak from a shoreline. It is not complicated and you’ll be in the water in no-time.

  1. Take your boat to the specific place where you’d like to enter the water. Place it in shallow water, keeping it vertical to the shoreline. The key is to face the bow away from the shore, while the stern is close to it, but completely in the water.
  2. Place one of the blades of your kayak paddles in front of the cockpit, just under the deck line. Don’t worry about the shaft sticking out sideways; it may serve as an outrigger.
  3. Step over the kayak, with a leg on each side of the cockpit.
  4. While holding the cockpit, enter the seat with your butt first, then pull up your legs and slide your feet inside the cockpit.
  5. Move your bottom back into the seat, and follow by adjusting your feet until you’re feeling comfortable enough.
  6. Move the kayak using the paddle to avoid any possible incoming waves, and then attach your spray skirt, in case your kayak has one.

How To Exit Kayak On The Shore

Same as entering, it is important to learn how to exit the kayak, once the trip is over.

  1. When you reach the shore, go straight into it and stop before your boat reaches the ground. Once you reach the water shallow enough so you can stand in it without a problem, you’re good to go.
  2. Same as when you were entering put one of the paddle blades under the deck line in front of the cockpit, and you can use it as an outrigger.
  3. Remove the spray skirt if you have it on, and place your hands at both sides of the cockpit next to your hips. Then grab the sides.
  4. Pull your feet up to your butt by lifting your knees.
  5. Move one foot outside, and step into the shallow water.
  6. While using that foot to keep balance, slowly pull yourself up and take the second foot outside, this way finishing the exit.

Dock-Entering Differences

Unlike shore launch, where your kayak will be in the height of your knees, for example, when you want to start your ride from the dock, there is a big difference. Here, a kayak will be a bit under your feet, if the dock is low, or it will be way under your feet if the dock is high above the water surface. This also means you’ll have to balance a bit more.

Kayak Launching From The Dock


There are a few steps you’ll have to take to successfully and easily launch from the dock.

  1. Put your kayak in the water so it stays parallel to the dock.
  2. Place the kayak paddle down on the dock, but make sure it is within a hand reach from the cockpit.
  3. Sit at the edge of the dock, and put one leg into the cockpit, and hold it close.
  4. Using both of your hands to keep you stable, lower your bottom onto the kayak seat and rotate your torso and slide your feet into the cockpit as you do it. Or you may use one hand to hold onto the dock, while the other can be placed behind the coaming.
  5. Make yourself comfortable by adjusting your position and settling your feet.
  6. Attach a spray skirt if there is one, and off you go.

Two Dock Kayak Landing Strategies

The time has come to wrap your practice up and do kayak landing, so now you have to exit your kayak at the dock. There are two options on how to do it.

Option Number One – High Dock Option

  1. Paddle until you reach the dock and place your boat parallel to it.
  2. Place your paddle on the dock.
  3. Turn your torso so you face the dock, then place both of your hands on the dock.
  4. Draw your knees near your butt.
  5. Slowly raise using your legs and your arms.
  6. Once your leg is even with the dock, place one knee on the edge of the dock.
  7. While trying to keep your weight low, take the second leg out of the vessel, rotate your body until you’re in a position to sit on the dock. But be careful or your kayak may float away from you.

Option Number Two – Low Dock Option

  1. When you reach the dock, place your paddle shaft so the blade sits behind the cockpit, with the other one on the dock.
  2. With your hand that is further from the dock, grasp the paddle-blade throat and the rear cockpit end simultaneously.
  3. Place your free hand onto the paddle, then use both arms and press up off the shaft to lift your bottom and move it to the dock, followed by your feet.

Globo Surf Overview

Kayak launch and kayak landing are really easy, but it may require some practice before you learn how to do it with your eyes closed. Don’t be afraid to get wet, give it a go and you‘ll be more than thrilled!

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Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!