Kayaking is an incredibly satisfying experience, but there are few things more unfortunate than trying to kayak with feet wet from a shore entry, especially on a chilly day. Most of the tip-overs that happen occur on or near the dock—much more than during any other part of the journey. The easiest places to get in and out of a kayak (while remaining dry) are beaches, since you can keep the stern resting on the sand and just step into your kayak and push off with the paddle. Getting into and out of a kayak from a dock can be more challenging. Taking the time to learn the proper steps can keep you completely dry and make your kayaking experience much more pleasant.
Getting In From the Dock
Since docks that are higher from the water’s surface make it more difficult to get in and out of your boat, make sure to use the lowest point of the dock. From here, slide your kayak into the water and position it so that it is parallel to the dock. If your kayak was already tied up, now is the easiest time to untie it.
You can now begin to enter the boat. Start by sitting down on the dock beside the seat. Make sure that you place your paddle within a short distance, so that you can easily grab it once you are seated in the kayak.
Remain seated on the dock. Keeping all of your weight on the dock, place your feet inside the cockpit as close to the center as possible. Once you are ready to enter, turn your body towards the bow of the boat, making sure your hands are still holding a strong grip on the edge of the dock.
Next, shift your body weight onto your feet, trying to keep your weight in the center of the boat to avoid tipping. Lower yourself onto the seat as gracefully yet confidently as possible. Do not let go of the dock yet; you do not want to drift away before you are completely ready. Adjust your feet so that they are comfortable and in position below deck. Next, adjust your foot pegs and grab your paddle. Now you are ready to gently push away from the dock!
Getting Out Onto the Dock
Now that you are ready to return to land, the most important thing to keep in mind is to avoid reaching out for the dock straight away. If you rely on your arms to pull yourself in, you run the risk of tipping yourself over. Instead of rushing it and potentially getting drenched (and embarrassed), only grab the dock after you have worked your way over to it.
To pull yourself out, start by putting your paddle back on the dock; it’ll only get in your way otherwise, and you’ll need both hands free. Pull the leg farthest from the dock out and up, and brings yourself up, over, and onto the dock.