How to Get In and Out of an Inflatable Kayak

Inflatable kayaks are a great option for people who want to get into kayaking but don’t want to invest in a hard-shell kayak. They’re also a good option for people who want to travel with their kayak since they can be deflated and easily packed away. 

If you’re new to inflatable kayaks, there are a few things you need to know before you take them out on the water. In this post, we’ll give you some tips on how to get in and out of an inflatable kayak safely and efficiently. 

We have prepared a step-by-step approach to getting out of your kayak either from shallow water or from the pier. There are also guidelines to aid your re-entry on an inflatable kayak. So, this is a must-read for every paddler!

How to Get in an Inflatable Kayak

The first thing you need to do is find a place where you can safely enter the water. Make sure that the area is free of obstacles and debris, then carefully climb into the kayak. You may find it helpful to have someone help you get in, especially if the kayak is inflated properly. 

A man is getting into an inflatable kayak.
A man is getting into an inflatable kayak | Credit: marekuliasz /

Once you’re in, make sure your paddle is within reach and secure yourself in the seat by clipping your life jacket’s safety belt around your waist. 

It may be tricky to get into an inflatable kayak especially when your friends are not there or when you have nothing to hold onto. However, it is possible and achievable. Below are steps to get in your inflatable kayak:

  1. Stabilize your kayak as you lay it parallel to the shore.
  2. Position your feet in water such that you have the kayak in between your legs.
  3. Using your paddle as a means of balance, get your feet and legs inside the cockpit one after the other.
  4. In a quick and intentional motion, transfer your entire weight onto the kayak’s seat.
  5. Then slide, and reposition your legs inside or on top of the kayak. After which you may paddle away.

How to Get Out of an Inflatable Kayak

A man is getting out of an inflatable kayak.
A man is getting out of an inflatable kayak | Credit: iascic /

Getting out of an inflatable is not as difficult as you may think. You just have to reverse the order of getting in. 

A straddle technique will require you to maneuver your legs across the side and use your arms and legs to push yourself into a vertical position.

If you use  a paddle technique, just position your kayak where your paddle can touch the ground. Ensure you are balanced before lifting your butt off the seat and getting yourself to the back deck.

The technique of exiting your inflatable kayak also depends on whether you want to get out while in shallow water or at the pier.

Just mirror the process of getting in depending on the location and technique and always remember to ensure stability. 

From Shallow Water (the Shore)

If you are going to get out of your inflatable kayak from shallow water, then you should follow these steps:

  1. Place your paddle close to the cockpit rim of your kayak’s rear deck to ensure balance.
  2. Push your kayak in a gentle forward movement such that your paddle is in contact with the ground.
  3. Carefully navigate on an irregular rock shore because of moss and algae which may cause slipperiness. Then, withdraw your leg to regain balance. 
  4. During your exit, your kayak may try to escape. Therefore, ensure to secure one foot against the boat or have a boat leash in your hand.

Tbest Kayak Paddle Leash

You can also exit by following these steps too:

  1. Push your kayak in a gentle forward movement
  2. Straddle your kayak so that you can have one leg on either side of your vessel.
  3. Then in an upright manner, stand over your kayak which should be in between your legs, and get out of the cockpit.

From the Pier

Getting out of an inflatable kayak to the pier involves the following techniques:

  1. Choose a position where the water level is at close range to the pier.
  2. Paddle your kayak in a position corresponding to the direction of your dock.
  3. If no one is present with you, take a rope from your kayak and fasten it to a cleat from the pier.
  4. Lean on the dock using both hands and allow your shoulders to carry your weight. While the dock serves as a fulcrum, lift your body and legs with a twirl onto the dock.
  5. Another way is to grab your dock’s cleat and secure one of your legs in the kayak while you pull out the other slowly.
  6. pull yourself up on the pier without fear of leaning on the dock.
  7. While maintaining balance, carefully pull out your other leg and get yourself up on the dock.
  8. It is a different case for senior kayakers though. Having extra hands to help, allows for ease. 
  9. So if you are one, tell one of your family members or friends to hold the kayak while another person pulls you out from the kayak after you must have pulled out one of your legs.

Intex Challenger Kayak, Inflatable Kayak Set

How Do You Get Back On an Inflatable Kayak

Getting back on your inflatable kayak after a flip is possible by following these steps:

  1. Flipping your kayak back over is the first thing to do. 
  2. Doing this requires you to position yourself in the middle of the boat, reach over the back of the kayak and pull it to yourself using your weight.
  3. Secure your paddle to your kayak so that it does not hinder your re-entry
  4. Keep afloat by putting both arms on the boat and by kicking your legs high to the water’s surface, propel yourself belly down to the center of your kayak.
  5. Swivel your body around to get your butt back in your kayak’s seat after which you can pull your legs in and start paddling again.

Onyx MoveVent Curve Paddle Sports Life Vest


How do you gracefully get out of a kayak?

There is no particular way to gracefully get out of a kayak. However, over time it gets easier and looks graceful with consistent practice.

How do you get out of a kayak by yourself?

It is as simple as reversing the process of how you got in based on the technique you used and the location from where you got in. 

How do you get out of a kayak for seniors?

To exit out of a kayak more easily for seniors, friends or family members can act as support. However, in their absence, seniors can find an ADA- accessible dock in your area equipped with accessories to aid their exit from a kayak.

How does a fat person get in a kayak?

A fat person can get into a kayak, however, care must be taken. Find a stable spot in the water to drag your kayak in. Place the paddle across the kayak to ensure balance. Put one leg first in the kayak before the other to avoid falling by the boat’s overturn.

How to get out of a kayak with bad knees?

There are different techniques for achieving this. It’s either you exit by swimming out or calling a friend to help you when you are done paddling and crawling to shore.


Kayaking on the water starts with getting into the vessel and at the end of paddling is exiting the kayak. Thus, it is important for paddlers, especially beginners, to keep practicing the methods of getting in and out of an inflatable kayak.