How to Get Out of a Kayak

how to get out of a kayak

Landing or exiting a kayak can be challenging for beginner paddlers. Someone with a physical injury or disability can also struggle to get themselves out of a cockpit.

There is more than one factor in play here.

How to Get Out of a Kayak – The Basics

First, you need to get your body out of the cockpit. Then, make sure the kayak is retrieved from the water, unscathed. In this post, I have shared the correct way to get out of a kayak.

How to Get Out of a Kayak on the Shore

Getting out of a kayak on a flat and beachy shore is not a big deal. You can get out of the cockpit by jamming one end of the paddle in the sand for support.

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However, getting out of a kayak or canoe on a shore with uneven land is challenging. To ensure your safety, use the tried and true method discussed below.

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Step 1:

As you get close to the shoreline, look for an area with evenly distributed sand.

If you see pebbles or medium-sized rocks on the shoreline (as in most cases), put a halt to the kayak before grinding it into the substrate.

Step 2:

Next, place the paddle behind you on the rear side of the cockpit rim. Grip the paddle handle tightly.

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Step 3:

Transfer the weight of your upper body on one side till the paddle blade touches the ground.

Step 4:

Now the kayak is fixated in one position.

You can raise your body and step into the water without taking your hands off the cockpit rim. Once you find your balance on the shoreline, lift your paddle, and subsequently, the kayak.

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How to Get Out of a Kayak Onto a Dock

Getting out of the kayak on a dock can be challenging, notably when the distance between the edge of the marina and the kayak is higher than three feet.

Otherwise, you can toss the paddle on the dock and roll your body onto the dock floor. Below, I have discussed a technique that will help you exit a kayak from a high dock.

Step 1:

To exit a kayak on a high dock, you must have a rope somewhere in the cockpit area.

The length of the rope must be equal to the distance between the cleat’s location and the surface of the water. Kindly refer to the image below so you won’t have trouble identifying a cleat.

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Source: Wikipedia

Step 2:

As you reach the dock, position your kayak parallel to the wall of the pier. Also, get as close to the cleat as possible.

Step 3:

Raise your upper body or get on your knees and tie a bowline knot with the rope. Now you have secured the kayak in one place.

Step 4:

Finally, use the rope as support to climb out of the water onto the dock. Lift the kayak on the dock floor by pulling the cord. You have safely exited from a kayak on a high dock.

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How to Get Out of a Kayak With Bad Knees

A person with bad knees can somehow manage to get in a kayak without external assistance. However, they have a torrid time getting out of the cockpit.


After reaching a shoreline, they struggle to hop out of the cockpit and stand up on their feet. If this sounds like you, make sure you follow the steps discussed further in this section.

How to Get Out of a Kayak Step 1:

Get to the shoreline. Once the boat comes to a halt in shallow water, place the paddle behind you on the backside of the cockpit rim. Press the handle hard onto the edge.

Step 2:

Next, swing both the legs over the cockpit and out in the water. Keeping your hands pressed on the cockpit rim, try to stand up very slowly.

Step 3 – How to Get Out of a Kayak:

If your knee joint aches, shift your body weight to the injured knee’s side and stick the blade into the water.

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Use the paddle as support and stand up on your feet.

How to Get Out of a Kayak Step 4:

Lastly, lift one leg over the cockpit and get to one side of the kayak. This technique works best for those with average body weight.

A bigger person should seek help from a fellow kayaker to get out of the cockpit safely.

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How to Get Out of a Kayak Summary

Getting out of a kayak can take a little longer for those with physical injuries or bigger than average bodies.

Although, things will get better once you get the hang of it. Once you get out of a kayak unharmed, you also want to carry the kayak to a safe location. The art of carrying a kayak over land is known as portaging.

If you have liked this guide, then you may also like to read our guide on How To Tie Down A Kayak.

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