How to Use a Kayak Dock


A kayak, while on the water, is a graceful and sleek thing. However, grace might just be very challenging to achieve when you are getting in the kayak and when you are getting out of it. When you are launching your kayak, it may either be shoreline or dock launches. Shoreline launches refer to when you straddle the kayak before you get in it. Meanwhile, dock launches are when you need to keep your balance as you slide into the kayak.

In this post, we will be discussing everything that you need to know about how to use a kayak dock. It is important to remember to set your kayak in a safe position, as well as perform some pre-launch checks. In addition, make sure that you have brought your safety gear including your personal floatation device. It would also be vital that all the essentials are within reach and that the foot pegs have been correctly adjusted. Once you have them ready, then let’s proceed to the discussions.

How to Use a Kayak Dock

Whether the dock you are in is sitting high or low off the water, you will realize that you are going to adjust your body placement to achieve the best balance as you enter and exit your kayak. You might want to consider practicing the following techniques to determine which one suits you best.

Launching from a kayak dock

  • First, carry the kayak towards the dock and position it neatly paralleled to the dock in the water.
  • Set your paddle down on the dock. Make sure that the cockpit is within arm’s reach.
  • While you sit on the dock, dangle one leg down in the kayak’s cockpit. Doing so ensures that you are holding the kayak as close to you as possible.
  • In this next step, you have a variety of options as to where you place your hand. You may either have both your hands on the dock while you lower your body onto the kayak’s seat. You may also do this step by rotating your torso slightly while you slide both of your feet forward onto the kayak’s cockpit. Meanwhile, you also have the option to keep your hand on the dock and your other hand centered carefully, right behind the kayak’s coaming.
  • Fully place your body onto the kayak seat and then, get your feet settled comfortably inside the foot pegs.
  • You may also want to try attaching a spray skirt, that is, if you own one.
  • Grab the paddle you placed on the dock and you may now proceed with kayaking.

Exiting at the kayak dock

Option 1 – This would work best when you are exiting at a higher dock.

  • When you are done kayaking, paddle towards the dock and then stop with your kayak parallel to the dock.
  • Place the paddle on top of the dock.
  • Slightly rotate your torso so that it faces the dock. Then, place both of your hands on the dock.
  • Pull both of your knees closer to the rest of your body.
  • Then, you need to use both legs, as well as your arms, to raise yourself up slowly.
  • Once your leg is in an even position with the dock, carefully set that knee onto the dock’s edge.
  • You may also need to keep your weight at its lowest as you lift the other leg out of the kayak. You also need to pivot your body to be able to sit on the dock.
  • Lastly, you might want to keep one eye on your kayak, just to make sure that it wouldn’t drift away.

Option 2 – This would work best when you are exiting at a lower dock.

  • Position the paddle shaft onto the dock, in such a way that one end of the paddle blade rests behind the kayak’s cockpit while the other end rests on top of the dock.
  • Use one hand – preferably the one farther away from the dock, to grasp the paddle blade simultaneously along with the cockpit’s rear edge.
  • Then, place your other hand onto the shaft that has been leaning on the kayak dock.
  • Using both of your arms, press up from the paddle shaft while you lift your body out of the boat and then eventually, to the dock.
  • Lastly, slowly slide both of your feet off the cockpit and then set them both down onto the kayak dock.

Tips on How to Use a Kayak Dock

If you’re a beginner, entering and exiting your kayak would be especially tricky. It wouldn’t matter whether you’re doing it on a rocky shoreline, a dock, sand, or gravel beach. Mastering this skill would be vital if you want to enjoy more of your time in the water. Here are some tips that you may want to keep in mind:

  • An ideal place to launch is a quiet dock, where the waters are still and peaceful.
  • If you’re considering entering your kayak from a dock, we do suggest that you do it at the lowest spot. In case you don’t know, the higher the dock is, the trickier it would be to enter the kayak.
  • Ensure that your paddle is within arm’s reach. This tip would come in handy, so could reach it right away after getting settled on the kayak.
  • If you have successfully entered your kayak from a dock, doing the exact reverse when exiting would do.
  • If you’re doubtful about launching and getting off from your kayak, have someone stabilize the kayak. Doing so would make your maneuvers a lot easier. Your companion may help you either from a boat while in the water or from the dock.
  • You may also opt to purchase a kayak floating dock system to help you.
  • When looking for a kayak dock system, consider getting one that has integrated paddles notches, making the operation effortless and perfectly safe.
  • You may also want to choose one that is slip-resistant, allowing you to walk on a safe dock.


While getting in and out of your kayak from a dock is a challenging task, you should be able to master it when you’re into some serious kayaking. Knowing the basics would keep you safe and it would be a great skill to show off to your friends and family. Just remember that you have all your kayaking essentials, as well as safety gear, with you at all times. This way, you get to enjoy more of your kayaking time without having any worries.

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