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How to Launch a Kayak from a Dock (VIDEO)

Posted by on September 12, 2012

Launching from a dock can sometimes be a daunting but necessary task when kayaking. Often times a shore launch is not possible, therefore, it is important to understand how to properly and safely launch from a dock. This video post demonstrates the proper way to launch from a dock.

Photo Recap:

How to safely launch your kayak from a dock…

Step #1: Place your kayak paddle behind the cockpit rim. Sit on the dock next to your kayak with feet facing the bow.

Step #2: Secure both hands on top of the paddle shaft such that one hand is over the kayak and the other is over the dock. Grip the cockpit rim with the hand over the kayak. (Note: Do not place your fingers under the paddle shaft.)

Step #3: With both hands secured to the paddle shaft, place both legs inside of the cockpit rim.

Step #4: Begin to lift and shift you body into the kayak.

Step #5: While keeping your hands on the paddle shaft, move the rest of your weight into the kayak and securely sit in the seat.

Key Points:

  • Keep both hands on the paddle shaft throughout the entry to secure the kayak to the dock.
  • Sit on the dock before attempting entry in order to maintain a low center of gravity. Stepping directly into the kayak is dangerous as the kayak can slip away and you can easily fall into the water or (worse) back onto the dock. If the dock is too high to perform the seated entry described above then I recommend scouting for a safer area to launch from first.


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