How To Get In a Sit On Top Kayak?

You have bought your first sit-on-top kayak, taken it to the spot and now you are wondering how to get in the kayak. The process seems intuitive: you just have to sit in the vessel. But as you try to do so, you find that it’s not that simple. 

You are not alone. For inexperienced kayakers, getting into a sit-on-top kayak can be a bit tricky. The good news is, it gets pretty easy once you have learned the right trick. 

In this post, we are going to show you two easy and simple ways to get into your kayak. Hopefully, you will find these tips useful. Here we will also answer some frequently asked questions about getting in and out of sit-on-top kayaks. Keep reading!

2 Ways to Get In a Sit-On-Top Kayak

When it comes to get in a sit-on-top kayak, there are two possible scenarios: you have to get into the vessel either from the shore or from a dock.

If you are entering the kayak from the shore, you are likely to get wet, so prepare for it. Entering your kayak from a dock is another viable option, if you have access to a dock. 

From Shore or Shallow Water

In most cases, you will have to get into your kayak from the shore, where the water is shallow. Here’s what the process should look like: 

Step 1: First, take your boat to shallow waters and stabilize it. 

Step 2: Place the paddle close to the cockpit. 

Step 3: Position one of your feet in the cockpit of your kayak. 

Step 4: Quickly transfer your body onto the seat of your kayak. 

Step 5: Put your other foot in the kayak. 

Alternatively, just place a foot on either side of the kayak and then sit down and place your feet into the cockpit. 

Here is another easy way to get into your kayak: 

This method applies when you are in shallow waters. Sit perpendicular in the cockpit and use your paddle as a support or fulcrum, the way you use a walking stick. Lift both of your feet and place them in the cockpit as you sit comfortably. Then pickup the paddle and start paddling.

From a Dock

You can pretty easily enter your kayak from a dock. Here’s how: 

Step 1: Choose a position of the dock where the level of water is close to the pier. 

Step 2: Place the kayak in a position that is parallel with the dock. 

Step 3: If you are alone and there is nobody to help you stabilize the kayak, use a piece of rope to secure the kayak to the pier. 

Step 4: Place your feet in the cockpit, one at a time. To keep the landing smooth, lean your upper body against the dock. 

Step 5: Then leave the dock, sit in the cockpit, and start paddling. 

How To Get Back In a Sit-On-Top Kayak After Falling Out

If you have fallen off your kayak, and want to re-enter, first of all you have to flip the kayak upright. While it depends on your physical strength and kayaking skills, a little bit of strategy can make the process easier.

Grab the hull and forcefully pull the edge of the cockpit. Hopefully you will be able to flip the vessel upright. 

Then secure the paddle to your kayak. If there are paddle clips, secure them properly while keeping the paddle in an advantageous position. 

Before you re-enter your kayak, be sure to stabilize the vessel and position your body. To stabilize the kayak, push at its center by hand. And as you get into the kayak, make sure you are in a stable seating position. 

You will find it pretty convenient to get into the kayak from the side. To pull yourself up, you can grab the edge of the kayak with both hands. 

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How To Get Out of a Sit-On-Top Kayak

Getting out of a sit-on-top kayak is relatively easy. Paddle the kayak and go to a shallow part of the water. Make sure the spot is sandy or grassy, because shells or rocks may make your landing a bit difficult. .

Just roll out of the vessel and stand up quickly. Watch out for waves so that you do not get wet or the boat does not return to the sea. 

The key is to get the kayak in shallow waters or on land. You will find it easier to get out of the kayak if there is land under the vessel. 

The process is easier if you are kayaking in a lake. In this situation, you can boost the boat onto shore by putting a bit extra power into the last few paddles.

A boy is getting out a kayak sit-on
A boy is getting out a kayak sit-on


Is a sit-on-top kayak better for a beginner?

Yes, sit-on-top kayaks are great for beginners. This is because it’s super easy to get in and out of a sit-on-top kayak.

It’s optimal for surfing and touring, and offers enough space to sit back. If you are just getting started, consider getting a sit-on-top kayak. 

Can you get stuck in a kayak?

Getting stuck in a capsized kayak is very unlikely because the cockpit is not restrictive: it’s snug. Whether it is a sit-inside kayak or sit-on-top kayak, you can easily get out in case of an emergency. 

Do kayaks flip easily?

Kayaks do not flip easily. The likelihood depends on the type of waters, and the type of kayak. When you are on a calm river, it is extremely unlikely that your kayak will tip over. However, it can happen you happen to lose balance in very windy conditions. 

How do you get out of a kayak if it flips?

Before your kayak is upside down, you will be already out of the vessel. In the cockpit, there is a lot of space around your torso, so you are very unlikely to get stuck.

However, if you find yourself in a situation where your kayak has flipped over but you have not come out, don’t panic. Just swim underneath the kayak. In a smooth motion, try to push the vessel up. 

Final Sentences

Whether you are launching from the shore or from a dock, getting into a sit-on-top kayak is pretty easy. With a little bit of practice, you will get the hang of it and get into your kayak without much effort. 

We have discussed multiple ways to get in and out of your kayak, and tried to clarify what needs to be done in case of an emergency. As you gain experience and get better at kayaking, you will enjoy it more.