This may seem to be the easiest aspect of kayaking, but it is also one of the most frequent points of failure. The first stroke into the open ocean marks the beginning of your kayaking adventure.
A kayak in motion is a beautiful sight to see. However, demonstrating grace while climbing into and out of your boat for a launch and a landing is more challenging. Both of these situations are frequent while launching a kayak. To launch a kayak is a thrilling experience since it signifies the culmination of all of your preparation efforts, including studying, reading, and practicing.
Just because it's your first time out there doesn't mean you have to have a disastrous experience. You don't want to conclude a fun day on the water that you've spent dry and safe by capsizing.
How to Kayak. Let's take a look at how we enter and exit the kayak before we get too deep into the factors that impact us. The most popular methods of launching are from an underwater beach, a floating pontoon, or the bank of a river.
Beach Kayak Launching Procedures
It is normal practice to launch a kayak into placid, flat water from a beach.
Float your kayak out from the beach so that it is pointed straight out, then wade into the water until you are about ankle deep.
When entering a narrow river, it's best to orient your boat parallel to the bank, but be wary of any hazards there.
You may be able to float your sit-on-top kayak, get into the cockpit, and begin paddling right away.
When paddling a kayak with a closed cockpit, you should position your feet on the deck just in front of the cockpit.
Make advantage of the deck lines of your kayak to tether your paddle. If you don't have it, you may use your legs to keep it near for the time being; just remember to grab it when you get your legs inside the boat.
Place your hands on the cockpit's side and crouch down until you're comfortably seated. Raise your thighs into the kayak. If you end up needing a paddle, don't leave home without it.
To ensure a secure connection, settle your legs and reposition yourself in your seat. Pull your spray skirt around the cockpit so that the tag is facing outward.
Techniques for Beach Launching and Landing a Kayak
Repeat the steps in reverse order.
- You should stop paddling when your hands can touch the ground on the beach. Put away the spray skirt and fasten the paddle.
- Raise your feet over the edge of the kayak one at a time by bringing your knees up to your chest.
- Grab the cockpit's side rails and pull yourself up to a standing position.
- Return to shore by strolling your kayak.
Getting Your Kayak Off the Dock, Riverbank, or Pontoon
Whether you're launching from a pontoon or a higher river bank into deep water, you'll want to ease your kayak into the water parallel to the jet or bank before you dive in.
Put one foot out from the dock and into the kayak to prevent it from leaving without you. Keep your kayak's paddle within easy reach.
Place your hands on the dock and lower yourself slowly until you are seated comfortably in your kayak with both feet inside.
Put your feet on the footpegs and move about until you find a comfortable position. If you want more stability, you may put one foot on the dock and one foot on the kayak.
If you're going to use a spray deck, make sure you're still within easy walking distance of the dock. Now is the time to grab your canoe paddle and set off on your journey.
Kayak Docking, Riverbanking, or Pontooning
Get as close as you can to the dock, then stop and pop your paddle up next to you. Keep it close, however, in case you lose your bearings and have to paddle your way back.
Keep one hand on the dock, let go of the spray skirt with the other, and pull your knees up to your chest so that your feet are within reach of the seat in front of you.
Flip around so that your back is against the pier and put both hands down. To get out of the kayak, you should use both your legs and arms to help you up. Kneel on the dock with your leading leg while keeping one foot inside the boat to stop it from moving.
Turn around and sit down on your boat so you can easily grip it and raise it out of the water. Recruit your companion for assistance.
Seal Launching a Kayak
This method, sometimes known as shuffling, allows you to get from land to water without getting your feet wet. When launching into rivers or into choppier seas, where you won't have time for a gradual launch before having to paddle into the waves or around the river's currents, this approach comes in handy.
It will be easier to launch your boat and have less of an influence on the surrounding area if you park it as near to the sea as possible.
Make yourself at home in your kayak by settling down and hooking up your electronics before donning your spray skirt.
Get in the water with a hip push and a paddle. Having a slanted entryway makes this a lot less of a hassle.
Don't forget to gauge the depth of the water. Seal launching down a steep slope is a great way to get speed and dive fairly far!
There are environmental factors to think about as well, such as whether or not seal launching causes harm to the earth or leaves plastic behind.
Kayak Beaching in the Surf
Catching a ride on the crest of a wave may be just as challenging as landing on solid ground. If the beach is jagged and rocky or you're in a fiberglass kayak, try to time your approach with a smaller set of waves and regulate your speed so you don't plow too far up the beach. If you have to, paddle backward, against the waves.
- Quickly disembark after your boat has made touch with the shore, and don't let go of your paddle or boat!
- Once again, having a companion on hand to assist may make the process much less daunting.
- Launching and Landing a Kayak: Things to Be Aware of
Weather and Waves
As we’ve mentioned before, these things can wreak havoc with even the best-laid plans. Plan your launch according to the prevailing conditions. If possible, launch into a more sheltered bay, or in the lee of an obstacle that gives you some shelter.
Equally, flow can be lumped in with these things. Watch out for downstream objects, as well as the flow affecting your launch.
Your Hull Shape
Some boats are more stable than others, that’s just a fact of kayaking. A flat-hulled boat is usually more stable and much easier to launch in. If your boat has a v-shaped hull, watch out for it tipping as you sit into it, especially if you plan to seal launch from a beach.
Seal launches catch people out in boats with flat hulls around the seating area, but sharp v-shapes at the bow and stern when these become the only part in contact with the water.
Launching and Landing a Kayak: Things to Be Aware of
Climate and Ocean Waves
We've already discussed how they may derail even the most meticulous preparations. Take into account the weather forecast and other factors before you launch. Launch in a more protected harbor or in the shadow of an obstruction to reduce wind and spray.
You may also include flow in this group. Keep an eye out for obstacles downstream and the flow's effect on your launch.
The Form of Your Boat's Hull
That certain kayaks are more stable than others is a matter of empirical truth. A boat with a flat hull is significantly simpler to launch and provides superior stability. Avoid avoiding launching from a beach if your boat has a v-shaped hull, and be careful every time you sit in it.
Boats with acute v-shapes in the bow and stern are vulnerable to seal launches because these areas become the only ones in touch with the water while the boat is being launched.
Don’t Sit on Your Spray Skirt
Even though it's easy to do, you shouldn't sit on the back of your spray skirt as you take off. Launch speed will be reduced, and you risk capsizing if you have to shuffle about to get out.
Skegs and Rudders
They are often stored out of the way when you launch your boat from your vehicle. If you want to land safely, without damaging your equipment, you should lift them up out of the water before you step into shallow water.
Keep your Paddle Handy
If you're attempting to launch or land and end up being swept away from the beach or coast, you should probably have your paddle handy.
Hold off on taking off until you're prepared to go.
Last but not least, before you begin the launching procedure, double-check that everything is locked and loaded. Put on and securely attach your personal flotation device (PFD) and ensure you have all the necessary equipment. Once you get out on the sea, you shouldn't plan on returning.
If you need more information, check out the video I've included below.
FAQs How to Launch and Land a Kayak
Q. What are the three golden rules of kayaking?
The three golden rules are a set of rules that, when followed, will let you paddle the most efficiently and help keep you safe on the water: You need to use the power of torso rotation for all your strokes. You need to choose an appropriate paddling location. You need to have a plan in case you capsize.
Q. What should you do first before you launch your kayak?
Before you do any launch, set your boat down in a safe place to do a prelaunch check. Be sure you have all your safety gear, that your PFD is snug, that your other essentials are stowed where you want them, that your foot pegs are adjusted correctly and that your rudder or skeg if you have either one, is up.
Q. What is the 120 rule for kayaking?
A good rule of thumb to follow is the "120° rule." This means you should wear a wetsuit or dry suit whenever the sum of the air temperature and water temperature is equal to or less than 120°F. Warm weather does not cancel out the danger of cold water, wearing lighter clothing on a warm day increases risk.
Q. Should you lean forward when kayaking?
Sit upright and slightly forwards. This should feel relatively natural so if it feels like you're too far forward, drop it back a little, you may have overdone it. Your backband is there to support you, not to take your weight. So don't lean forwards and then crank your backrest up behind you!
Q. What should you not do while kayaking?
Never use alcohol or mind-altering drugs before or during a paddle. Do not paddle in flood conditions. Be aware of appropriate river water levels, tidal changes, dangerous currents, and weather changes.