How To Get Out Of A Kayak With Bad Knees

If you suffer from stiff or weak joints, you can find it hard getting in and out of your kayak.

While you may be tempted to give up on the sport because of these issues, there are some simple things you can do to make it easier on yourself.

All you need to do is run through this guide. You can learn all you need about how getting into a kayak can be just as easy as how to get out of a chair with bad knees. (Read How Many Calories Does Kayaking Burn)

Kayak with feet

How to Get into A Kayak with Stiff Knees

It may appear strange, yet before exiting the kayak with knee pain, you need to learn how to get into a kayak.

Here are two ways you can get into a kayak when your knee is stiff.

Method 1

  1. Find a launch spot in shallow water that comes up to just below your knees.
  2. Head to the port or starboard side of your kayak and standing several inches in front of your seat.
  3. Step over your yak, so you’re straddling it. You will have your feet planted on both sides of your kayak.
  4. Place your hands on either side of the hull to keep it steady if there’s no one to hold it for you.
  5. Once you push against your kayak, it’ll help you maintain balance.
  6. Carefully start to lower your weight onto the kayak seat.
  7. Using your arms, lift your legs in turn onto your kayak one at a time. Once both are on, you can push away from the shore using your paddle.

Method 2

  1. Push your kayak to knee-deep shallow water. If there’s someone to assist, you can leave a quarter of the yak’s hull on dry land.
  2. Step alongside your kayak. Make sure your back is to the port or starboard side.
  3. With someone holding your kayak or placing a hand for balance. Carefully lower yourself like you are sitting in a chair.
  4. Once you sit inside the seat, swing your legs one at a time onto your kayak.
  5. Push off with your paddle when the time is right.

How to Get Out of a Kayak with Bad Knees

While it may be easier to get in your kayak, here are three ways you can use to get out when kayaking with bad knees.

Exiting Kayak Method 1

  1. Make sure to paddle to shallow water in your kayak and as close to the shore as you can. The water should be around 2-feet deep.
  2. If you head to a sandy shore, you can paddle until the kayak’s bow reaches the shoreline. It offers more stability once part of your yak is on dry land.
  3. Swing one leg from the side of the kayak and place a foot firmly on the ground. Repeat on the opposite side.
  4. Grab the kayak sides with both hands, and slowly push yourself up so you can help relieve the pressure on your knees.

Exiting Kayak Method 2

  1. As you head to the shore, gather speed so you can run your kayak up the bank. Doing this will leave a section of your yak’s on dry land.
  2. Lift both legs over the side and onto the ground. Lean over if you can’t reach.
  3. Place your hands to the side of the hull for support and ease yourself out of the kayak.

Exiting a Kayak Method 3

  1. Paddle to where you know the water is quite shallow. Knee deep to waist-high is ideal.
  2. Before commencing, ensure your life jacket is on the right.
  3. Roll your body out of the kayak into the water.
  4. Once out of your kayak, stand up in the water. The water can help ease pressure as you stand. You can push with your paddle shaft for extra support.
  5. Finally, push your kayak to shore.

All the above methods to enter and exit a kayak are assuming you are using the right kayak, a sit-on-top kayak rather than a sit-inside kayak.

Rules for Kayaking with Bad Knees

It would help if you considered some considerations before setting off kayaking when you have stiff knee issues.

Here’s some of the more common.

Select the Right Kayak

You may want to use a sit-inside kayak, yet these can make it more challenging and impossible to use if your knees are really bad. Much can be the same if conditions are tough compared to low impact kayaking.

The right kayak will make entry and exit far more comfortable.

Using the Right Equipment

You could find you have the wrong equipment, or you don’t have the right gear in the first place.

Kayak in the middle of the ocean

The right sized paddle and a seat that supports your back are two of the most vital pieces of gear. A good footrest makes a difference, and then you will find knee pads help alleviate some of the pressure.

However, using a knee pad for stiff knees isn’t so much of a thing with a sit on top kayak. When you are out, try and raise your legs and keep them elevated. (Read Health Benefits of Kayaking)


When heading off kayaking, you’ll need to carry out some stretches to keep yourself supple.

Like any sport, it is best to stretch, and it’s particularly true with bad knees. The bottom half of your body and legs will be motionless most of the time when kayaking.

Pick Your Spots

You may have the methods above to getting in and step out of your kayak, yet these do depend on the right spot on the water. Low impact kayaking can help as your knees won’t bang.

Lakes and large ponds are often the best as you can have areas of calm shallow water for when you are getting onto your kayak or exit your kayak, and you step to the shore with stiff legs.

How To Get Out Of A Kayak With Bad Knees