Launch Etiquette for Kayakers, SUPers and Packrafters

paddlers launching etiquette

(photo courtesy of @nautoppkajakcentergrebbestad)

Paddlers who use kayaks, SUP boards, canoes and packrafts have the luxury of being able to launch from almost anywhere on many bodies of water.

Motor boats don’t have that option, though. So when you share a launch with motor boats, our friends at Paddle TV suggest four basic etiquette guidelines to follow:

1. Only Use the Boat Launch to Launch

All your unpacking and gearing up—and when you’re through, your packing up—should be done away from the ramp and out of the way of traffic.

This is true whether you bring your vehicle down to the ramp to unload or you walk your watercraft down from the parking area.

Your goal is to spend the least amount of time possible at the launch itself. This ensures others don’t have to wait for you any longer than necessary.

2. Remember How Small You are Compared to Motor Boats

Don’t assume those in bigger boats see you or even know you’re there. Especially on busy days and in busy areas, you’ll want to stay well off to one side as you launch or come back in from your paddle.

You may even decide to choose another area along the shoreline to launch, such as a beach, so you don’t have to maneuver around other larger, faster boats.

3. Move Out of the Launch Area ASAP

Once you’re on the water, paddle away from the immediate launch area as soon as you can. If you’re with a group, move off to the side until everyone in your group has launched, then travel together so you’re easily seen by those in larger boats.

launching a kayak

(photo courtesy of Baja Surf Brigade)

4. Stay Visible to Larger and Faster Boats

When you’re out on the water, don’t paddle behind bigger motor boats or where it’s hard for them to see you. Bigger boats have the right of way, so be watchful and considerate, both for paddle etiquette and for your own safety.

It’s much easier for you to see them than for them to see you when you’re low on the water and smaller than them..

Follow these four basic guidelines, be patient on busy days, and have fun out on the water!

Let our friendly Customer Service team help you find your next paddle today: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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