The proper way to enter and exit a sea kayak is essential for having a successful paddling experience. Here are some tips on how to do it safely and efficiently.
Entering the kayak:
1. Choose a safe and stable entry point:
Firstly, look for a stable entry point along the shore or dock, where you’ll find an area with calm and shallow water. Ensure you are not blocking the way for other paddlers, swimmers, or boats. Make sure the kayak is secure and won’t move or float away.
2. Face the kayak and kneel beside it:
Next, position yourself by facing the kayak and kneeling beside it. If the kayak is on the ground, you should keep the hull level by pushing it down/up from its ends. If on a dock, ensure the kayak is level and in position.
3. Place your paddle in the kayak:
Place your paddle inside the kayak, lying parallel to the kayak’s length, and move it up to the cockpit. Always ensure it is secure, and the paddle blades are inside the kayak.
4. Enter the kayak and sit down:
Place one foot inside the cockpit, followed by the other foot. Slowly lower yourself into the kayak, buttocks first, and then bring your legs inside the cockpit. Once inside the kayak, it is essential to adjust your position so that your back is straight and your legs are comfortably positioned. If you have bulkheads or footrests, adjust them so that your feet are snug against them.
Exiting the kayak:
1. Approach a stable and safe exit point:
As you approach the shore or dock, ensure it’s safe and stable to avoid tipping the kayak as you disembark.
2. Turn the kayak towards the exit point:
Turn the kayak towards the shoreline/dock, so the nose of the kayak is pointing at the exit point.
3. Place your paddle on the kayak:
Place your paddle on top of the kayak, parallel to its length.
4. Move to the end of the cockpit:
Slowly move forward towards the end of the cockpit, and position one foot outside the kayak. While holding the shore/dock, slowly shift your balance and move the other foot outside the kayak.
5. Stand up and exit the kayak:
Stand up slowly, keeping your body upright, and step out of the kayak to steady the kayak while the person behind exits.
Properly entering and exiting a sea kayak improves your safety on the water, ensures a comfortable paddling experience, and minimizes wear and tear on the kayak. Exercise caution and always be aware of environmental factors such as waves and currents. Most importantly, always have a lifejacket on while boating. Happy paddling!