How to Launch a Kayak from A High Dock


For beginners, getting in and out of the kayak is very tricky. Whether you’re launching from a gravel or sand beach, a rocky shoreline, or a low or high dock, there could be several techniques to safely launch your kayak. While this is something that you can definitely do on your own, it would be best if you have someone assist you when you launch your boat from a dock.

An ideal situation is that you launch your kayak from a dock’s lowest spot. But what do you do when you’re coming from a higher dock? In this post, we will be discussing everything that you need to know about how to launch your kayak from a high dock. Hopefully, you get to apply what you will learn on this post when the time comes. Keep on reading if you want to know more.

What to Do When You’re Launching and Landing from A Dock

If you’re launching from a dock, the easiest way to get into your kayak is to ask a buddy to stabilize the boat while you’re in the process of getting in and out of it. However, if you’re alone, you may want to try this technique:

  • Make sure that your kayak is parallel to the dock, regardless if it’s high or low. However, if you can pick the spot that is low or closest to the water, the task will be a lot easier for you.
  • Take a seat on the dock right next to your kayak and begin placing your feet inside the cockpit.
  • While still sitting on the dock, slightly turn your body towards the kayak’s bow.
  • Lower yourself as quickly and calmly as possible while you keep your weight at its lowest as you can.
  • Lastly, ensure that you’re holding onto the dock firmly and securely before you attempt to get into your kayak.

Meanwhile, if you’re landing at a dock, you only need to reverse the above instructions. Here’s what you should do:

  • Pull up next to the dock, preferably at the lowest point or the closest to the water.
  • Then, hold onto the dock and make sure that you use your hands to stabilize your balance.
  • Use the dock for balance and then quickly stand up and get out of the boat.
  • An alternative would be pulling yourself with your butt first while you keep your weight at its lowest. You may do this step by sitting on the dock even with your feet still in the cockpit.

How to Launch a Kayak from A High Dock

We admit that launching from a high dock is one of the most challenging tasks you need to deal with. However, you just need a little practice to be able to do this job as confidently and safely as possible. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Even when you’re launching from a high dock, take the time to check where the lowest spot of the high dock is. Doing so allows you to enter your kayak without getting wet.
  • Turn your kayak, making it exactly parallel to the high dock. While you’re facing your boat, sit down on the dock and gently place your feet inside the kayak’s cockpit.
  • Once you feel that you’re secure, slightly twist your body and reposition your feet in the forward position.
  • You may place both of your hands securely on the high dock while quickly lowering your butt into the kayak’s seat. Here’s a tip: try staying at the center and move a lot quicker yet smoother when you’re about to sit inside the cockpit.
  • You may try doing this task with a friend assisting you. We do suggest this, as it helps to make launching from a higher dock a lot easier for you. In addition, your buddy can be of great help so that the kayak doesn’t drift away from you.

How to Sit Properly in Your Kayak

Since we’ve been talking about launching and landing from a high dock, we think it’s also important that we address proper posture while you’re sitting in the kayak. Most kayaks come with adjustable back supports, allowing you to lean back as you paddle, like when you’re sitting in a recliner at home while you watch TV. While the comfort it advertises is tempting, we don’t recommend this, as it could be very damaging to your back and this posture alone makes you vulnerable to injuries. In addition, it could be very difficult for you to paddle when you’re reclining like that.

To keep sitting comfortably in your kayak, you’re going to want to practice proper posture. What you can do is to position the back support upright, as it allows you to sit straight. If you’re in the proper sitting position, you’re likely to utilize your abdominal muscles, with the backrest acting as additional support. You would also want to sit with a lifted chest and a balanced head. Meanwhile, the balls on your feet should be firmly pressed against the pedals, with your legs rotated externally. If you sit in this position, you’ll realize that it’s the most comfortable one and it’s easiest, especially on your lower back.

If you’re feeling a bit of discomfort and pain in your lower back, maybe after or during kayaking, maybe the reason is that your hamstrings and hips are tight. What you can do to prevent this is to get introduced to some paddling stretches before you go on a kayaking trip. This surely will help in increasing your flexibility while making the activity a lot tolerable for your pain.


As a kayaker, learning how to launch from a high dock is a skill that you need to master, especially because you could be introduced to a variety of launching situations – a low dock, a high dock, or even a rocky shore. You just need to remember to find the lowest spot to be able to launch and land successfully, regardless of how high or low the dock is.

We believe that with this guide, you would be able to do this task right the first time. And if not, a trick would be to have a friend or two to assist you. If you’re not confident enough, then try doing this task with a friend so that your boat wouldn’t drift from you. Hopefully, you get to make use of this new learning when you get presented of the opportunity of launching from a high dock.

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