What to do if you have bad knee while kayaking

How to Get Out of a Kayak with Bad Knees

Whether you are in perfect shape or you have a problem with your knees, getting out of the kayak is not an easy task. Some people tend to roll forward into a squat or scooch back onto the back of the kayak and stand up. It will be almost impossible to get out of the kayak without falling over or getting bruised with bad knees. In this article, we will be looking at ways to get off your kayak with bad knees.

The type of kayak recommended for a person with bad knees

For a person with bad knees, it is recommended that you get a sit-on-top kayak. They sit on top kayaks, have more room, and do not restrict your legs. On this kayak, you can move your legs and even stretch them. This makes it easier to get in and out of the kayak.

Exit methods recommended for people with bad knees

  1. Shallow Water Exit Method:  The shallow water exit method involves using your paddle to test how deep your waters are. The paddle allows you to check whether you are in about 6 to 12 inches of water. You must ensure that you are within the given range before trying out this technique. After this, swing your feet to one side of the kayak and turn your body to face perpendicular angle from your kayak, and scoot to the edge until you touch the ground, and then you can let go of your paddle. This exit method will help you stand up from a more seated position than the deep squat.
  2. The ‘Go for a swim on a Hot Day’ Exit: This exit method is recommended for a hot day when you are ready to get wet. To achieve this method, paddle until you are close to the shore. Ensure the water is waist-deep. You will use your paddle to check the depth of the water. The water depth should be about half the length of the paddle shaft. Also, check if there are large rocks or tree stumps on the sides of your kayak. If the waters are clear, you can easily check, but if the waters are murky, you will use the paddle to feel the bottom. After this step, flip over your kayak and prepare to go for a swim. This way, you will be able to stand easily without putting any strain on your knees.
  3. The ‘Phone a Friend Exit’: This method is one of the easiest exit methods. If you were kayaking with a friend or partner and have better knees than you, you could ask for assistance when getting out of the kayak. This method is better since it does not involve getting wet, so it is perfect, especially for cold weather seasons. As you are approaching the shore, give your kayak some strong paddle strokes to ensure you land on the beach. You will exit the kayak just like in the shallow water exit. You turn your body so that it is perpendicular and your feet touch the ground on one side of the kayak. You can phone a friend and ask them to maintain a stable position and ensure their feet are wide and the knees are bent. From here, take hold of each other’s forearms so that there will be no unnecessary pressure on your hands and wrists. From there, your friend is going to help you up once you are ready.
  4. The ‘Crawl Out, Exit: Another exit method for a person who has problems with their knees is the crawl-out exit. You can try out this method if the other methods fail. Once you have reached the beach with your kayak, toss your paddle on the beach, turn your body perpendicular to your kayak, and put your legs out on the ground like you are preparing for the ‘phone a friend’ exit. Then, roll towards the shore, so you end up on top of the kayak with your belly. From there, back up onto your hands and knees on the shoreline. Then crawl up onto the shore and flip over again so that you are in a sitting down position. When you are on the ground in this position, you can get up slowly. With this method, most onlookers might find it funny and stare at you. If you are shy, go to a less crowded shore or beach.

Things to avoid when you have bad knees

When you have bad knees, you need to seek your doctor’s advice before going kayaking. The doctor might limit the distance and time on the kayak. Secondly, you should avoid purchasing kayaks online. If you have bad knees, get a kayak from a store to try the kayaks out and see which most comfortable. You can also get an instructor to guide you in kayaking when you have bad knees. There are people trained to deal with all forms of needs and disabilities. An instructor will understand your problem better and guide you into better kayaking.

Tips for easier kayak exit

Other than using these methods, you can also use some other tips to exit your kayak easily. Some of these tips involve engaging in healthy practices and buying kayak accessories. Some of these tips include:

  1. Stretching Daily:  If you have problems with your knees stretching daily will help loosen up the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. You will have positive results on your knees, and you will be able to kayak more easily. Daily stretching will make you more limber, so it will be easier for your body to move. Other than perfect kayaking, stretching will result in other positive changes in your body.
  2. Elevate your Legs when paddling: While kayaking, there is a high possibility you will have discomfort on your knees and stiffening muscles due to the sitting position. If you sit in a flat-legged position, blood can pool around your knees, making them uncomfortable and painful when getting out of the kayak. That is why you should elevate your leg when kayaking by placing a backpack, dry bag or any other soft item under your knee. This will help to lessen the stiffness and reduce the pooling of blood around the knees.
  3. Wearing Knee pads: This method is perfect for people who use the ‘crawl out’ exit method. Climbing out of the kayak onto the shore can be uncomfortable since the beach is not always nice and sandy. Knee pads will help avoid instances of getting bruised and hurt.


Ensuring your comfort getting in and out of your kayak will ensure you have fun and enjoy your kayaking experience better. People with knee problems will shy away from engaging in boating and kayaking activities. This should not be the case; everyone should have a chance to enjoy their hobbies and likes despite their age and health conditions. That’s why people are finding easier ways of ensuring that people with knee problems are not limited to kayaking so they can easily get in and out of the kayaks.

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