Kayaks are GREAT for boating – as a tender, for exploring and for getting some exercise. Find out what to look for when choosing a kayak for your boat.
Kayaks and boating go together like vegemite and toast – they complement each other so well!
A kayak is such a quick and easy way to get to and from shore, going for a paddle is great exercise and a kayak will give you the opportunity to explore waterways that may be too shallow or too narrow for your boat.
So what features are important when choosing a kayak for your boat?
You will have to step on to the kayak from your boat, and then step back onto your boat from the kayak.
Standing up in a kayak is hard enough for most people in calm water, imagine doing it with a bit of swell!
A stable kayak will be forgiving of where you step to and from when you are transferring to and from your boat.
How do you know if a kayak is stable? Look for a wide, flat hull.
Wide Open Cockpit
Getting in and out of a narrow cockpit can be a challenge.
To get in, you sit into the kayak first, then tuck your legs in. To get out, you have to tuck your legs in and then swing them out of the cockpit onto the shore and then try to get enough leverage to stand up. So how does it work when there is no shore? Or when there is too big of a drop from your boat to the kayak to safely drop into it bum first?
When you are choosing a kayak for your boat, look for a wide open cockpit or a sit-on-top.
Having a wide open cockpit gives you room to manoeuvre … you can stand up to get out of the kayak and step into the kayak from your boat. Even better is a sit-on-top kayak where you can step to and from almost any area of the kayak.
Keeps You Dry
Although sit-on-top kayaks are very stable and open, making them ideal for transferring to and from a boat, they are usually wet.
You might be fine with getting wet if you are going for a paddle for fun, but if you are going to shore to pick up some supplies or get a coffee, you don’t want to be walking around with a wet bum.
You also might be in Tasmania and you don’t want to be cold!
You either need a sit-in kayak with a wide open cockpit, or an inflatable sit-on-top kayak that can be set up with closed ports so that you and your gear can stay dry when you want to.
Easy and Enjoyable to Paddle
There is nothing worse than trying to get somewhere in a kayak and going in circles.
Except maybe paddling like crazy and not going anywhere!
When you are choosing a kayak for your boat, it MUST be easy and enjoyable to paddle.
If you are trying to get to or from shore, you want to get there quickly and easily, so you are not exhausted.
The other huge benefit of having a kayak as a tender that is easy and enjoyable to paddle, is that you can go for a casual paddle for fun. If you come across a lovely looking creek that is too small to take your boat up, for example, imagine being able to explore it in a kayak!
Being able to throw the kayak in the back of the car when you get back to shore is ideal.
You don’t want to be faffing around with roof racks and straps every time.
This is also important once you are on your boat – if you can fold your inflatable kayak up and pack it away on your boat, you don’t have to find precious deck space for it or worry about leaving it tied up and checking that it is still there and still afloat!
When you go out on your boat, it’s not just you, is it?
There is all the gear and supplies that you take with you to consider.
It’s important to get a kayak that has plenty of storage space and a large weight capacity, so you can easily load up and tie down your cargo.
What do I need to watch out for?
There is a temptation to leave inflatable kayaks inflated on the deck of boats.
Although there is nothing wrong with leaving our kayaks inflated, heat is a problem because it increases the air pressure inside the chambers. The deck of a boat is just about the hottest place on earth…
So it’s important to let some pressure out of the chambers if you want to keep the kayak inflated, look for kayaks with pressure release valves and try to avoid leaving it in direct sunlight for extended periods.
So what's the BEST kayak for boating?
They are both very stable and firm to step on and off, they have a wide, open cockpit, they are huge, and best of all, they have pressure release valves, so even if they are left inflated on the deck of your boat, they won’t get over-inflation damage from the heat.