Carrying a boat
Everytime you go kayaking you will need to carry your boat so its good to learn a safe and effective technique. Todays boats are lighter than ever so with the right technique you will find they are relatively day to carry. However they are still big and heavy so you still need to be careful. Theres no fun having to miss out on some great days boating because you hurt your back by lifting wrong.
How to Carry a Kayak
Heres a quick step by step guide to carrying a kayak.
1. Determine if you are right or left handed.
2. If you are right handed, stand on the left side of the boat facing the bow. Roll the boat on edge with the cockpit facing away from you.
3. Bend down, flexing at the knees. Grab the cockpit rim of the boat with both hands. Right hand on the far side of the cockpit.
4. Lift the boat onto the thigh while bent at the knees.
5. Once the boat is resting on your knees roll it on to your shoulder as you turn towards the bow. The balance point is typically just behind the thigh brace.
6. Stand up.
7. Slide the right arm into the bow above the wall and grasp the wall, rope or foot brace within the boat.
8. Enjoy your walk. If your going a long way stop and switch shoulders reguarly.
9. If your left handed follow steps 2 – 8 but switch the word right for left and left for right.
How to pick up a long kayak
1. First stand the boat up on end without fully lifting it off the ground.
With a longer kayak it is often a good idea to stand it up on its stern as this will be the heavier end of the kayak with your rescue gear and other kit in it.
2. Locate the thigh brace and rest it just in front of your shoulder.
3. Grasp the cockpit rim with the hand that is opposite the boat, and slide your other hand into the bow of the boat.
4. Slowly rotate the boat so that it rolls up onto your shoulder. The bow should be up in front of you. With the boat now balancing on your shoulder use the arm that was in the bow to balance the boat as well as rock it up and down to avoid obstacles. Leaving your other hand free to carry you paddle.
5. Enjoy your walk. If your going a long way stop and switch shoulders regularly.
How to pick up a shorter kayak
1. If you have a shorter boat you will be best to stand it on the bow.
2. Bend down (at the knees) and reach your arm into the bow of the boat.
3. Position your shoulder just behind the thigh brace.
4. Grasp the cockpit with your free arm to stabilize the boat while you stand up.
5. Use your arm in the bow to rock the boat back to a balanced position. Once again your other arm is now free to grab the paddle.
6. Enjoy your walk. If your going a long way stop and switch shoulders regularly.
Look after your back.
A successful carry is a comfy carry. Carrying a kayak should not hurt or be overly uncomfortable. You should be able to carry the kayak for 2 to 5 minutes with little discomfort.
On longer journeys it often helps to regularly switch shoulders.
If you have tried all this and still find carrying a kayak awkward or difficult. Ask for help. There is nothing wrong with pairing up with a friend and taking one end of the boat each and sharing the carry.
Remember to bend and use your knees when lifting the kayak so as to protect your back.