One day a friend and I were planning to fish in an isolated creek that could only be accessed by launching from a neighbor’s dock. We dragged our boats down the dock and dropped them into the water, but then my buddy stood at the edge of the dock, looking nervously at his kayak. I could see it was time for a lesson on how to get into a fishing kayak from a dock.
Launching a Fishing Kayak is a Fine Balance
Launching from a dock is an exercise in weight distribution. Floating docks, a ladder launch or high tide places the paddler in a position to step off the dock and into the kayak. Properly shifting weight from a solid surface to the wobbly boat takes balance and timing.
3 Steps to Launch Your Fishing Kayak from a Dock
1 Put your best foot forward
If the boat is below the dock, sit or lay on the dock with both feet in the cockpit. If the boat is level with the dock, first step onto the far side of the kayak while holding onto the dock. Hold the kayak paddle vertically with your free hand. Prepare to transfer weight from terra firma to wavy gravy.
2 Hold on, steady does it
Continue to hold the dock with one hand. Use the paddle like a walking staff to steady the kayak and support your weight while transferring the dockside foot to the boat.
The boat will try to slide away from the dock. Use the dockside hand to keep the boat directly below your center of gravity.
3 Take a seat
Center weight over the keel. Continue to use the paddle to steady the kayak. At once, sit down and let go of the dock while dropping into the seat in a controlled fall. Make the move easier by clearing the deck and seat of gear and accessories. A buddy can assist by pulling parallel to your kayak and steadying the boat. The maneuver doesn’t have to be graceful as long as you stay dry.
Be careful, but you got this. | Feature photo: Kevin Whitley