This subject deals with getting the boat from the car to the river.  On the surface, this doesn't sound that difficult except we are dealing with whitewater.  As you get more experience, you will want to paddle more remote runs.  Some runs require you to carry your boat a mile or more.  Some put-ins have rather steep river banks that need to be negotiated.  Sometimes you need to launch from steep banks.


After unloading your boat from the car, you need to carry your boat to the put-in.  Most of us can do this by ourselves but not all of us.  Most kayaks are in the 40 pound range but some behemoths tip the scales in excess of 50 pounds.  Add some personal gear and you might need someone's assistance - don't be shy.  Most of us carry our boats with the cockpit on our shoulder.  We place our arm on the inside and press against the thigh brace and down on the center wall pillar.  For long carries, you probably want to pad your shoulder.  Simply place your sponge under your shoulder strap for padding.  Always remember to lift the boat with your legs to avoid back injuries.  You can carry your paddle in your other hand.  Here is a good video on carrying your kayak: Carrying the Kayak.  Here is a good article on this topic with more detail: Boat Carry.  Here is an example of a two person carry (using a canoe but the technique is the same): Two Person Carry.

Lifting a Kayak Safely - Use Your Legs or Get a Buddy

Kayaks can be heavy at times, even more so if they fill with water.  If you need assistance, please ask for help.  If you see someone struggling, offer a hand.  Boaters are typically a very friendly bunch and will gladly help.  The following article goes into more detail on how to properly lift heavy objects and avoid injuring your back muscles: Kayak Carries


We have several different ways to launch a kayak.  This is important since we don't always have a nice sandy beach put-in.  You need to scout your entry point for possible challenges.  Most of the time, we can find an eddy to put-in at or at least slower moving water.  You may have to go upstream or downstream to improve your launch area.  If the bank is low enough, you can balance the boat with your paddle and get in the boat.  If you have more of a drop off or no good place to set your slippery kayak, start a bit up the bank where you are very stable.  Get in your boat and make certain everything is secure and the spray skirt has the release strap on the outside.  From this point you can push off and slide into the water or seal launch on steeper banks.  Just make certain your landing zone is plenty deep enough and no rocks in the way.  The following video provides a great example on launching your kayak from a nice protected eddy or beach with a low bank: Low Bank Launch.  Here is an example of the Seal Launch technique.


Most of the time, landing the kayak is similar to launching the kayak.  In stable areas with low banks, you can use your paddle to provide some stability while your get out.  Alternatively, you can paddle up on shore (or have someone pull you up).  This makes it very easy to get out of the boat without flipping.  Getting out with a high embankment or dock is a bit more challenging.  First, place your paddle on the dock.  Now undo the spray skirt and carefully pull yourself up on the dock while holding the kayak in place with your feet.  You can now use your paddle to hold the kayak and finish climbing onto shore.  Finally, reach down and lift the boat from one end and pull up on the dock.  Here is a good video on this technique:  Enter & exit from a Dock.