Kayaking is a great physical activity you can do outdoors to boost your health and strengthen your bond with family and friends. It is an excellent way to relax and be healthier and happier in life.
This water sport is beginner-friendly and easily accessible to everyone. However, it may still pose some risks as it is done in open water like lakes, rivers, and the ocean, wherein animal life thrives and where you are likely to encounter huge waves, tides, and other elements.
Getting in and out of your kayak without getting wet is a skill that most people want to acquire, and it may seem impossible because a kayak is unstable and can tip over if you step into or out of it the wrong way. There are some other reasons why you get wet when getting into a kayak, but there are also a few techniques to stay dry.
Finding the perfect equipment can be quite challenging sometimes. If you want to have a good experience with the activity that you want to try, you need to have good equipment. When it comes to kayaking, you have two choices when it comes to the kayak that you want to ride. Whether you’re looking for the best inflatable kayak or the best hard-shell kayak, we’ve got you covered.
Why do you get wet when kayaking?
You get wet when kayaking because of how unstable a kayak can be when in the water or because of your paddling technique. If it’s neither of these two, it can be because of the many other reasons listed below:
- You’re getting splashed by choppy waters
- Your kayak is sitting very low
- There is water running down your paddle shaft
- Improper paddling technique
- Falling out or capsizing
- You don’t have proper balance
- You struggle to get in and out of your kayak while in the water
- The type of kayak you use
- Your paddle length and design
- You’re not covering your body with water-resistant clothing
How to get into a kayak without getting wet
To get into the kayak without getting wet, you need to pull your vessel parallel to the shore and carefully enter it by balancing your weight at the center. You can use your paddle as a brace to prevent the boat from capsizing as you enter. Use the same technique in reverse when getting out of it.
Inflatable kayaks are becoming more and more popular because they are lighter and they are really easy to transport compared to non-inflatable ones. If you just bought a brand new kayak, it is important that you know how it works to save time when you arrive at the launch site. Read our article to know how to properly inflate a kayak.
Tips to Stay Dry When Kayaking
Here are tips to help you get in and out of your kayak without getting wet, plus tips on how to stay dry while kayaking.
1. Practice entering at the shore
To get in without getting wet, practice the technique mentioned above. Pull your vessel parallel to the shore and carefully enter it by balancing your weight at the center. Use your paddle as a brace to prevent the boat from capsizing as you enter. Use the same technique in reverse when getting out of it.
2. Practice the “dock start technique”
This is one of the best ways to get in a kayak without getting wet, but you have to do it correctly. Some EZ launch docks are designed to make the activity more accessible for persons with disabilities.
When entering your vessel from a dock, you should first pick the lowest point possible and set up your kayak parallel to the dock. Make sure your paddle is within reach, and then, sit on the edge of the dock facing the bow of the kayak. Put your feet into the cockpit and lower your hips into the kayak. Balance your weight before losing hold of the dock.
3. Proper drip guards placement
You must ensure that your kayak paddle has proper drip guard placement. Make sure they are positioned properly as their purpose is to prevent water from running down the shaft and into your hands and the kayak’s cockpit. You need to have a paddle that has two drip guards and should not slide out and away from the center of the shaft.
4. Use a spray skirt
Paddle with a spray skirt to avoid getting wet while kayaking. They come in different designs and usually include a neoprene seal that goes around your waist, as well as a bungee cord to secure it around the lip of the cockpit. These spray skirts can be easily used if you attach them to your body before entering the kayak and secure them at the bottom edge around the lip of the cockpit.
5. Wear a drysuit
If there is a high chance of rain or splashing water, you can wear a drysuit. This can help you stay warm and dry in harsh conditions and allow you to wear layers of clothing underneath for extra warmth. Drysuits seal around your ankles, wrists, and neck to keep water from entering. However, the disadvantage of drysuits is that they have minimal breathability in warmer climates.
6. Check the weather
Be sure to check the weather before heading out as it can help you stay as dry as possible. Check for chance of precipitation, wind speed, gusts, and direction to avoid capsizing.
7. Wisely choose a time and location
It is also important to choose the right location and time for kayaking. In this way, you’ll avoid motorized boat traffic and the possibility of encountering irresponsible boaters. It is best to head out early in the morning as the waters at this time are at their calmest. Plus, it helps you avoid the crowd during the busiest times of the day.
8. Choose a sit-inside kayak
It is best to choose a sit-in kayak if your top priority is to stay dry since sit-on-top kayaks have scupper holes that allow water to drain out of the cockpit but also allow a small amount of water to get in it from underneath. Though it lets in a minimal amount of water, it can increase in unfavorable weather conditions.
On the other hand, sit-in kayaks have completely sealed hulls with a covered cockpit to keep you dry. Additionally, they give you the option to attach a spray skirt to keep the water out and keep you warm.
9. Check for the kayak’s depth
Although many of us do not discuss this feature, it plays a role in keeping you dry while kayaking. A deeper sit-in kayak will provide you with more protection from splashes and water entering the cockpit thanks to the larger barriers that keep the choppy waters from splashing inside.
10. Check for the cockpit’s dimensions
This is another aspect that goes unchecked when buying a kayak. A sit-in kayak with a smaller cockpit provides less opening and prevents rain or water from entering. Be sure to check your kayak’s cockpit dimensions so you can pick a compatible spray skirt for it.
Staying dry while kayaking may not be important to you, especially if the weather is always warm where you typically paddle. However, for anyone who lives in or travels to cooler climates to go kayaking, staying dry can make a huge difference in their comfort level and the amount of time they spend out on the water.
The dangers of hypothermia can increase dramatically once you are wet, which is why kayakers should have proper knowledge regarding air and water temperature formulas to be able to paddle in safe conditions.
The first step to prevent injuries and fatalities while kayaking is to know whether or not it is safe to head out. It is crucial that kayakers, especially those in colder regions, know how the weather can impact the safety of their kayaking adventures.
We hope these tips on how to get in and paddle a kayak without getting wet were useful. Finally, remember that practice is key, take precautions, and end every kayaking session on a good note, regardless of whether you got wet or not.