Launching your kayak well gets you off to a good start. You want to avoid injury when lifting or handling the boat, or damage to the kayak. And you don't want to go for an embarrassing swim just as you push off - we've all done it! These tips and techniques can help make launching an enjoyable and safe experience.


Like any other manual handling, lifting and carrying kayaks can cause injury.

  • It's best to avoid carrying a kayak on your own. When in a group, help each other carry kayaks to the water's edge.
  • Bend at the knees and not the hips when lifting the kayak.
  • Stand close to the kayak before picking it up. Don't twist your back.
  • Only carry light or empty boats using the toggles.
  • When carrying a heavier boat, support the kayak under the hull.
  • With an expedition kayak, empty the loads first and carry water and supplies separately.
  • Watch your feet. Be conscious that the person at the back may not see the ground as easily.

Solo lift

If you need to carry a kayak on your own:

  • Stand close to the kayak.
  • Bend your knees and keep your back straight.
  • Pull the kayak up onto your thighs before lifting it onto your shoulder.

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