How to Get Out of a Kayak with Bad Knees

How to Get Out of a Kayak with Bad Knees for Seniors – KayakWave

Despite the healthiest of joints, getting into and out of a boat may be difficult. But if the knees are tight, sore, or wounded in any way, getting into and out of the kayak will be a nightmare.

Yes, damaged knees are unfortunate for kayakers, but you don’t have to permanently give up your beloved water sport: All you need are the techniques provided in this article “how to get out of a kayak with bad knees for seniors“.

The Following Are 7 Rules for Paddling with Bad Knees

Going out on the water and having a good time while paddling shouldn’t be a problem as long as you keep in mind the “rules” listed below.

Rule #1: Do You Have a Medical Clearance to Kayak? Consult Your Physician

The entire body is stressed out during the intense exercise of paddling. It is critical to determine whether you are medically suited for this form of water activity.

Therefore, consult your doctor before starting kayaking in the first place, especially if you have poor knees or knee discomfort from a previous accident.

Your doctor is aware of your current health state and medical history and may provide you with important information on the subject.

Rule #2: Select a Kayak That Will Help You, Not Hinder You

Sit-in kayaks have their advantages, but why would you choose one that works against you and makes things even more difficult on your knees?

In general, having the appropriate kayak may make a huge difference in your experience on the water – even if you don’t have tight knees or chronic knee discomfort. Sit-on-top kayaks, however, are a far better option for those with poor knees:

An open kayak is simpler to get into and out of, and you can move your legs around more freely than with a closed-deck model.

It depends on what’s causing your knee trouble, but a sit-on-top kayak is hard to beat.

Are inflatable kayaks suitable for those with bad knees? In theory, inflatable kayaks seem like a fantastic option for those with creaky joints since they are so sturdy.

However, in practice, unless they have a drop-stitched floor, they are quite difficult to get into & even more difficult to get out of. We have written a dedicated article on the best kayak for seniors.

Rule #3: Invest in Quality Gear

Buying good quality kayaking gear, such as the proper paddle, the kayaking seat with a comfortable backrest, and knee pads, as well as learning how to put it all up correctly, is critical.

However, investing in high-quality kayaking equipment is a lot better financial decision than you would realize.

When you’re kayaking with poor knees, even a little bit of prevention may make a big difference:

Footrest – Put the feet on the footrests with the balls of the feet pointed outward and your heels inclined to the middle. The knees should ideally be bent outward, with the legs delivering consistent pressure to the thigh braces.

Go from there to discover the ideal posture for bad knees.

Knee Pads -If the cockpit’s less-than-comfortable edges are causing discomfort, installing knee pads might make the setup more comfortable and help limit the potential of aggravating knee problems. Owners of enclosed sit-inside kayaks are more likely to suffer this problem; sit-top kayak owners often don’t.

Better still, you may use knee pads, which give additional support and prevent joint strain.

Maintain Leg Support and Elevation – Place a dry sack under the knees to help support the legs. Changing the angle and lifting your legs may relieve pressure, which is a cause of knee discomfort, and give some relief on long paddles.

Rule #4: Stretch It Out – Kayak Entry and Exit Exercises

These exercises can help to improve flexibility, strength, and stability in the knees, making it easier and safer to get in and out of a kayak.

One exercise that can be helpful for kayak entry is the knee lift. To perform this exercise, stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly lift one knee up towards your chest. Hold for a few seconds and then lower your leg back down. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times on each leg.

Another exercise that can be helpful for kayak entry is the leg press. To perform this exercise, sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Slowly press down on one foot, lifting the other foot off the floor. Hold for a few seconds and then lower your foot back down. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times on each leg.

For kayak exit, exercises such as leg extensions and leg curls can help to strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings, which are important muscles for kayak exit. You can perform these exercises with resistance bands or weight machines at a gym.

It’s important to remember that always consult with a doctor or physical therapist before starting any exercise program, especially if you have any pre-existing knee issues. And always start with low-impact exercises and gradually increase the intensity and duration as your strength and flexibility improve.

Recommended reading: How to train for kayaking – Top 6 Kayaking Exercises 101

Rule #5: Pick Your Launch and Exit Points Wisely

Begin with low-impact kayaking in flat-water ponds and somewhat narrow lakes. Why put further strain on your poor knees?

There are more ways to enjoy kayaking than taming raging rivers.

Now for the suggested locations for kayakers with sore and problematic knees to launch and exit:

Choose an accessible spot close to your kayak, ideally in plain sight, in case you want assistance. Choosing a sandy beach over one with rocks or an uneven shoreline can also help you run the kayak up onto the bank safely.

Ideally, your launch and departure point should be in shallow water, no deeper than knee deep, and away from any boat traffic, as this will assist to keep things as low-impact as possible, allowing you to get into your ‘yak, and a considerably simpler maneuver when departing the boat to return to the shore side. especially if the knee movement is restricted, such as when you have tight knees from arthritis.

If you must walk a considerable distance from the vehicle to the water, I recommend investing in a nice kayak cart.

Rule #6: Think About Taking Private Lessons

If you’re still unsure about paddling with bad knees and doubt that you can do it, taking individual lessons may give you the confidence boost you need.

Numerous kayaking instructors have trained clients with significant impairments in how to adapt to their situations. As a result, they’re likely to be able to assist you as well.

You may figure out the best kayak entry & exit ways to minimize impact, get help on coping with knee issues from expert kayakers, and select a kayak setup that works for you.

Along with that, whether or not you have bad knees, it’s a good idea to review the fundamentals of kayaking or paddling with an expert.

Rule #7: There’s No Shame in Requesting Help

It might be frustrating to realize that you’re not tough, nothing can stop you anymore, and that you can’t do tasks that others do so easily.

But, before you succumb to shame, let me ask you:

Are you willing to give up paddling because you’re embarrassed to ask for help?

It’s commendable that you didn’t allow your poor knees to prevent you from doing the things you like.

Anyone would gladly aid you in getting into and out of the kayak if you have knee difficulties. It is considerably simpler to seek assistance than it is to give up your favorite hobby – swallow your pride.

How to Enter a Kayak: Two Techniques for Paddling With Stiff Knees

All kayak owners must learn how to enter and exit their kayak; yet, this is a skill that comes more naturally to those with full mobility. The first stage in kayaking with tight knees is getting into the kayak itself, which can be difficult when your knees aren’t cooperating.

The two kayak entrance methods listed below may be the secret to a more relaxing and straightforward launch!

Before we proceed, we’ll assume you followed our advice and chose a sit-on-top kayak, which is simpler to get into and out of with poor knees.

Method #1 of Kayak Entry

  1. Find a launch location in shallow water, ideally knee-deep or probably half the length of the paddle.
  1. Place the kayak parallel to the coastline or bank.
  1. Standing a few steps in front of the seats on the port and starboard side of the kayak.
  1. Straddle your kayak with one leg over each side, and feet firmly on the ground.
  1. Put your hands on the hull’s sides to keep it stable, or have someone else do it for you. You can keep your equilibrium as you proceed to the next stage by pushing against the kayak.
  1. Slide forward if you’re seated on the cockpit rim, or lower yourself into the kayak seat behind you.
  1. When you’re in the kayak, elevate each leg with the arms before using the paddle to propel yourself away from the beach.

Method #2 for Kayak Entry

  1. Push the kayak out into knee-deep shallow water. You can leave one-fourth of the hull on the bank if you have someone to help you when you’re ready to take off.
  1. Place yourself next to the boat, with your back to either the port or starboard side.
  1. Allow someone to support the kayak or put a hand on either side for support before lowering yourself as if sitting in a chair.
  1. Swing the legs in or raise each one individually once you’ve taken a seat.

Kayak Exit for Seniors

Kayaking can be a fun and enjoyable activity for seniors, however, getting in and out of a kayak can be difficult for those with limited mobility or bad knees. One option for seniors is to use a kayak seat with a high backrest that provides support for the knees, making it easier to get in and out of the kayak.

Additionally, using a kayak cart or wheeled dolly to move the kayak to a more stable location before getting in or out can also be helpful. It’s also important to take it slow and use their arms to lift and pivot their body when exiting the kayak, avoiding putting pressure on the knees. Remember to always listen to your body and stop if you experience any discomfort or pain.

3 Techniques to Try While Exiting a Kayak with Bad Knees

The hardest aspect of paddling is stepping out since it puts a lot of weight on your knees and increases the likelihood that the kayak may flip. However, using one of the 3 kayak exit techniques below might make it easier.

In most circumstances, you will use the identical strategy for getting in but in the reserve order. As previously assumed, they chose a sit-on-top kayak since they are simpler to get out of with poor knees.

Technique #1 for Kayak Exit

Paddle the kayak to a shallow water region as near to the shore as possible, aiming for a depth of around two feet.

If you’re aiming toward sandy beaches, paddle until the bow of the kayak hits the shore. If part of the boat is already on dry land, you’ll be able to exit it with better steadiness.

Put one foot firmly on the ground and stretch one leg out to the side of the boat before doing the same with the other.

As you carefully get up with both legs on the ground, hold onto the kayak’s sides with your hands. As you stand up, you may release some of the strain by pushing the kayak off with your hands.

Technique #2 for Kayak Exit

  1. Increase your pace as you get closer to the coast. You must be able to run your boat far enough up the bank to plant a section of the hull on dry land.
  1. Lift your legs over the edge of the kayak, lean over if necessary, & place them on the ground.
  1. Step out of the boat while keeping your hands steady and supported on the side of the hull.

Technique #3 for Kayak Exit

  1. Locate a spot where the water is just around knee-deep to waist-deep and paddle there.
  1. Before you begin, make sure the life jacket is properly fastened. No of how near the beach you are, you should not remove your PFD at this time.
  1. Roll yourself out of the boat and into the water.
  1. Once you’re out of the kayak and in the water, you may stand up; your body’s natural buoyancy should assist relieve some of the pressure on your poor knees. The paddle head can also be pressed into the bottom of the beach while using the paddle shaft as a little more support.
  1. Push your boat to the beach.

Tips for a Smooth Kayak Entrance and Exit

The best part is that you can take several steps to make getting in and out of your kayak simpler. Some require kayak gear that you can purchase, while others entail healthy behaviors that you may perform on land before ever attempting to enter and exit your kayak.

Stretch Every Day

If you suffer from serious structural injury to your knees, you may not believe in the importance of frequent stretching, but freeing up the muscles, ligaments, & tendons surrounding your knees can have a big beneficial influence on your capacity to get out of a boat.

In reality, regular stretching has a variety of health benefits for your body that are unrelated to kayaking. However, the more flexible you are, the simpler it will be for your body to move. For this reason, our #1 recommendation for simpler kayak entry and departure is to become more limber.

Put on Knee Pads

If you frequently use our ‘crawl out’ exit approach, this is a terrific idea for simpler access and escape. Climbing out of your kayak and onto the land for the first time is likely to be uncomfortable.

This is especially true if you don’t constantly get out onto a good, soft, sandy beach. Therefore, knee pads are undoubtedly a simple and inexpensive method to make getting in and out of your kayak simpler.

Paddle with Your Legs Up

Even young people complain about their knees stiffening when paddling, not to mention the tightness of many other muscles above & below the knees.

When you’re ready to exit the kayak, blood might collect around your knees if you’re sitting in a flat position. This can be quite painful.

That is why we advise elevating your legs when kayaking by placing a dry bag, backpack, and another soft object under your knees. This can help you decrease blood pooling and feel less stiff while getting out of your kayak.


Q1: What is the best way to get out of a kayak with bad knees?

The best way to get out of a kayak with bad knees is to use a kayak seat with a high backrest that provides support for your knees. Additionally, you can use a kayak cart or a wheeled dolly to help you move the kayak to a more stable location before getting out.

Q2: Can you kayak with bad knees?

Kayaking with bad knees can be challenging, but it is possible with the right equipment and preparation. A kayak seat with a high backrest and a foot brace can provide support for your knees, and you should always be mindful of your knee position and movement while kayaking.

Q3: How do you get out of a kayak without hurting your knees?

To get out of a kayak without hurting your knees, you should use a kayak seat with a high backrest that provides support for your knees. Additionally, you can use a kayak cart or a wheeled dolly to help you move the kayak to a more stable location before getting out. Also, you can use your arms to lift and pivot your body, avoiding putting pressure on your knees.

Q4: Is it possible to kayak with a knee injury?

Kayaking with a knee injury can be challenging, and it is important to consult with a physician before attempting to kayak. Depending on the type and severity of your injury, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or other treatments to help you regain strength and stability in your knee before attempting to kayak.

Conclusion – How to Get Out of a Kayak with Bad Knees

Paddling is a relaxing and enjoyable activity, whether you want to paddle on seas, lakes, bays, and in whitewater. But you can’t have any enjoyment unless you can get in and out of the kayak comfortably.

Many skilled kayakers simply quit enjoying their favorite sport due to the discomfort they feel when entering and exiting their kayaks. However, we hope that the ideas we’ve offered will equip you with the information to continue enjoying kayaking for many years to come.

Contrary to the widespread belief, we can always learn something new at any age.

And we hope that you’ve learned anything today that will help you comprehend how to exit a kayak with bad knees better so that you can go on with more pleasant kayaking adventures!

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