Thursday 15 April 2021
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Launching and Landing

A safe launch and landing is essential and personal safety is always the primary concern. An empty touring kayak can way between 35-65 pounds and can cause numerous bumps and bruises if it is allowed to wash around in the surf. A loaded kayak can way a lot more.

How to Launch a Kayak

Ideally, you should enter your boat while it is floating.

1. Stand with both feet on the same side of the boat

2. Enter the kayak with your butt first. This will allow you to lower the center of gravity of the kayak and help you balance.

3. Rotate your feet around and slide them into the cockpit.

Try to avoid stepping feet first into the kayak or straddling the kayak when attempting to get in. If needed, have another paddler stabilize the boat while you climbs in.


How to Land a kayak

When landing, the primary concerns are your ability to get out of the surf zone and get protection from the elements. Keep in mind that landings change with the tides, a perfect beach for landing during low tide may disappear completely during high tide. Ideally you are looking for a calm, stable, sheltered section of beach, bay or lake to get out of your kayak.

1. Approach the shore one at a time to avoid a pile-up in the surf zone or a collision with another kayak.

2. Raise you rudders and skegs before entering shallow water

3. Approach the shore straight on.

4. Exit your boat in the same way you got into your kayak just in reverse.

5. Pull your legs out of the cockpit and plant both feet firmly on the same side of the kayak

6. Lift your butt from the seat.


7. Stand up and guide your kayak into the shore.

In calm water landing parallel to shore may make this easier. In rough water, the landing may need to be timed in between sets of waves.

Top tips

Once you’ve landed look after and care for your equipment immediately. Anything left on the beach is likely to be carried away by winds or tides. Paddles should never be stuck in the sand or left lying on the ground where they can be stepped on and broken.

Be aware of the environmental around you and consider your effect on the environment when selecting a landing and launching point. Animal nesting sites, rookeries, or beaches with a high level of dangerous wildlife activity should always be avoided.

Be careful if you are getting out of your boat on the shore side of the boat in a tidal flow or waves as your boat may be pushed into you with force.