How to Launch a Kayak from Shore: A Beginner’s Guide

How To Launch A Kayak From Shore

If you’re looking for a fun and exciting outdoor activity, kayaking is a great option. Kayaking allows you to explore nature while also getting a great workout. However, before you can start paddling, you need to know how to launch your kayak from shore.

Launching a kayak from shore may seem like a simple task, but it’s important to do it correctly to ensure your safety and the safety of others. Knowing how to launch a kayak from shore is also essential if you plan to kayak on your own.

In this beginner’s guide, we’ll go over the basics of launching a kayak from shore and provide you with all the information you need to get started. So, let’s dive in and learn how to launch a kayak from shore!

Choosing the Right Location

When it comes to launching your kayak from shore, choosing the right location is crucial. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a launch site:

Water Depth

The depth of the water is an important factor to consider when choosing a launch site. You’ll want to make sure the water is deep enough to accommodate your kayak and paddle without hitting the bottom. At the same time, the water shouldn’t be too deep, making it difficult to launch your kayak from shore.


Accessibility is another crucial factor to consider when selecting a launch site. You’ll want to choose a location that is easy to access, especially if you’re carrying a lot of gear. Look for a launch site that has a nearby parking area and a clear path to the water.


Safety is always a top priority when it comes to kayaking. Look for a launch site that is safe and free from hazards such as rocks, logs, and other obstacles. It’s also important to consider the weather conditions and the current of the water when selecting a launch site.

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Best Types of Shorelines for Launching a Kayak

The best types of shorelines for launching a kayak are sandy beaches, gravel shores, or gentle slopes. These types of shorelines make it easy to launch your kayak and provide a stable surface to step into your kayak. Avoid launching your kayak from rocky or steep shorelines, as they can be dangerous and unstable.

Preparing Your Kayak

Before launching your kayak from shore, it’s important to ensure that you have all the necessary gear and equipment. This includes a life jacket, paddle, whistle, and any other items that you may need for your kayaking adventure.

Essential Items to Bring When Launching a Kayak

One of the most important items to bring when launching a kayak from shore is a life jacket. A life jacket will keep you afloat in case you fall into the water. It’s also important to wear a properly fitting life jacket, as one that is too big or too small will not provide adequate protection.

In addition to a life jacket, you’ll also need a paddle. Make sure to choose a paddle that is the right size for you and your kayak. A paddle that is too long or too short can make paddling difficult and cause unnecessary strain on your arms.

Lastly, bring a whistle with you. A whistle can be used to signal for help if you get into trouble while out on the water.

Properly Securing Gear on Your Kayak

When launching a kayak from shore, it’s important to make sure that all of your gear is properly secured. This includes your paddle, life jacket, and any other items that you bring with you.

One way to secure your gear is to use bungee cords. These cords can be attached to the kayak and used to hold your gear in place. You can also use dry bags to keep your gear dry and protected from the elements.

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Checking Your Kayak for Any Damages or Defects

Before launching your kayak from shore, it’s important to inspect it for any damages or defects. Check the hull, deck, and cockpit for any cracks or holes. Make sure the seat is secure and the footrests are adjusted to your liking.

If you notice any damages or defects, it’s best to address them before heading out on the water. This will help ensure your safety while kayaking.

Proper Technique for Launching

Launching a kayak from shore can be challenging, especially if you’re a beginner. However, with the right technique, launching your kayak can be a breeze. Here’s a step-by-step guide to launching a kayak from shore:

Positioning the Kayak

The first step to launching a kayak from shore is to position the kayak correctly. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Place the kayak parallel to the shore, with the bow (front) facing the water.
  2. Make sure the kayak is in a shallow area, where the water is knee-deep or shallower.
  3. If possible, have someone hold the kayak steady while you get in.

Getting in and out of the Kayak

Getting in and out of the kayak can be tricky if you’re not used to it. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand next to the kayak, facing the bow.
  2. Place your paddle across the kayak, with the blade in the water.
  3. Lower yourself onto the seat, keeping your weight centered over the kayak.
  4. Slide your feet into the footrests, making sure they are snug.
  5. To get out, reverse the process.

Pushing off from Shore

Once you’re in the kayak, you’re ready to push off from shore. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Hold your paddle with both hands, with your arms straight and the blade in the water.
  2. Push off from shore with your paddle, using a sweeping motion.
  3. Once you’re in deeper water, start paddling.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Launching a kayak from shore can be tricky, and there are some common mistakes that beginners make. Here are a few things to avoid:

  1. Don’t push off from shore too hard, as this can cause the kayak to tip.
  2. Don’t stand up in the kayak while pushing off from shore.
  3. Don’t forget to secure your gear before launching the kayak.
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By following these steps and avoiding common mistakes, you’ll be able to launch your kayak from shore with ease.

Safety Tips

When it comes to kayaking, safety should always be your top priority. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind when launching your kayak from shore:

Importance of Wearing a Life Jacket

Wearing a life jacket is crucial when kayaking, especially when launching from shore. Even if you’re a strong swimmer, unexpected accidents can happen, and a life jacket can keep you afloat until help arrives. Make sure your life jacket fits properly and is approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Knowing How to Swim and Staying Close to Shore

While wearing a life jacket is important, knowing how to swim is equally essential. Before launching your kayak, make sure you’re comfortable swimming in the water you’ll be kayaking in. It’s also a good idea to stay close to shore, especially if you’re a beginner. This way, you can quickly swim to safety if necessary.

Keeping an Eye on Weather Conditions and Tide Changes

Weather conditions and tide changes can greatly affect your kayaking experience. Before launching your kayak, check the weather forecast and tide schedule for the area. If there are strong winds or rough waters, it’s best to postpone your kayaking adventure. Always be aware of changing weather conditions and tide changes while you’re kayaking, and be prepared to adjust your plans accordingly.

By following these safety tips, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable kayaking experience. Remember, safety always comes first!


Launching a kayak from shore is an essential skill for any kayaker. By following the steps outlined in this beginner’s guide, you’ll be able to safely launch your kayak from shore and start paddling in no time.

Remember to choose the right location, prepare your kayak properly, and use the correct technique when launching. Always prioritize safety and be aware of weather conditions and tide changes.

At East Coast Paddle Sports, we believe that kayaking is a fantastic way to explore the outdoors and stay active. We hope this guide has been helpful in getting you started with this exciting activity.

If you’re looking for more information on kayaking or any other paddle sport, be sure to check out our website. We offer a wide range of resources and guides to help you get the most out of your time on the water.

So, grab your paddle, hop in your kayak, and get ready to explore the beauty of nature from a whole new perspective. Happy paddling!

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