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Getting in and out of a boat

Every paddle location will look slightly different and every boat will react to movement in a slightly different way.

However, there are universal rules that apply to any boat, anywhere. Use these rules as a foundation to

figure out how to get in and out no matter where your adventures may take you

The rules

RULE #1

Put your weight evenly in the boat and the lowest possible point.

If uneven weight is applied to the boat, it will cause the boat to lean. Lean too far, and the boat will move away from you; or tip over. The lower your center of mass is in the boat, the more stable the boat will be. Place your weight on a cross piece and the boat will lean easier than if it is on the floor. 

RULE #2

Leave your weight on your balance point until...
Your weight is evenly in the boat and at the lowest possible point.

Problems happen when you move your weight to fast or too early. If you lift your feet up when doing a wet entry you will naturally lean back . Without your balance point, your weight continues backwards falling over the other side. If you reach for the boat with one hand while entering from a dock, the boat will start to move away potentially cause you to fall between them. If you maintain your weight on your balance point, you remain in control as you are shifting your center of mass to the boat.

Where is the
Balance point

The boat is ABOVE
your feet

beach, boat ramp, shallow shoreline

YOUR FEET

are the balance point

The boat is BELOW
your feet

dock, deep shoreline, river embankment

YOUR HANDS

are the balance point

The Hornbeck Technique

There are of course a number of different ways to get in and out of any boat. However, we recommend the following techniques. In our experience, these are the easiest ways to enter and exit; while also being the best ways to eliminate the ware and tear of  repeatedly running your boat into shore. There are always times when you won't have a choice where or how you get on or off the water. But with a bit of practice, you will be able to get out easily and efficiently most of the time while maintaining the beauty of your boat

 

" If you can get in and out of a chair, you can get in and out of your Hornbeck"

-Andrew Rasmus

Key Points

(exiting from water)

  • Place your paddle across the boat on the opposite side of the backrest and you.

  • One foot at a time bring your legs over the side of the boat returning to the position you entered with.

  • Return the boat to a water level where your feet can get underneath the boat

  • align your big toes underneath your knees, and your knees under your nose.

  • Put your hand in front of you NOT BEHIND YOU

  • Lean forward as much as you can shifting your weight to your feet

Problems happen when you push too much with your arms. this will shift your head backwards, making you and the boat move backward

  • it should feel like you are getting out of a chair. The placement of your body will determine the difficulty of the maneuver

  • Check that you have enough water underneath you and get your nose over your toes. 

Practice in a chair on land get get used to the best body position

Key Points

(entering from water)

  • Place your paddle across the boat on the opposite side of the backrest.

  • Enter the water until the wood of the boat (gunwales) floats at the level of the back of your knees.

  • Face away from boat (imagine you are sitting in a chair)

  • Place your hands along the center line of the boat on either side of you (think of the backrest and the paddle as your handrails)

  • LEAVING YOUR FEET ON THE GROUND, Lower your weight into the seat. DON’T FLOP 

Problems happen when people lift up their feet and lean backward

  • Leave one foot on the ground as an anchor as you rotate yourself to bring one foot into the center of the  boat

  • Bring the remaining foot into the boat

  • Adjust yourself by evenly pushing with both hands on the gunwales

Key Points

(entering from dock)

  • Place your paddle where it will be accessible from the boat

  • Get on your hands (or forearms) and knees, parallel to the boat, facing the backrest.

Your Hands (both hands) should be the LAST thing to enter the boat. They are your anchor!

  • Bring your boat side foot into the center line of the boat on the floor.

You are going to be tempted to move a hand at this point. DON’T

  • With that same leg, put weight on your knee into the center line of the boat on the floor.

  • Use this leg to rotate your body placing your weight into the seat.

  • After your weight is securely in the seat, release your hands from the dock

  • Adjust yourself by evenly pushing with both hands on the gunwales

Key Points

(exiting from dock)

  • Place your paddle where it will be accessible from the boat

  • Place your hands (or forearms) on the dock. the taller the dock, the more upper body strength this maneuver will take.

  • Stretch you legs straight out putting your weight on your feet in the center of the boat

Problems happen if you shift your weight towards the dock with your knee. this will cause the boat to tip.

  • Bring the away leg across the boat and onto the dock.

  • Rotate your weight onto that leg.

  • Optional: leave your other foot in the boat to prevent it from floating away

This is not always a graceful exit. If you need to flop on your belly to accomplish it, go for it!

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