How To Build A Homemade Kayak Launch? Three Steps To Take

Did you have a hard time launching your kayak? Some practice will help you with this task. However, there’s another way to solve this problem, and that is making your own launch. 

The question is: How to build a homemade kayak launch? This project sounds hard. Yet, if you choose the ramp-style launch, things will be much easier. 

This post will give you the ultimate guide to making a DIY ramp-style launch. Let’s dig into the details! 

how to build a homemade kayak launch

How To Build A Homemade Kayak Launch? 

The key to this project is to measure the wood pieces and use them to form a secure frame. You may be able to picture how the process goes. 

Now, please check the steps carefully to make your kayak launch. 

Step 1: Prepare the tools and materials.

The materials needed for this project vary depending on your needs. We aim to use easy-to-access tools for this project. 

The launch wouldn’t be continuously submerged in water. Hence, use 2×4 lumber for the structure because replacing any damaged wood would be simple and affordable.

To offer the two lengths for the launch, a suitable length of 2×4 timber is necessary. You need a third lumber length to give the framework lateral support.

how to build a homemade kayak launch
2×4 timber is the best choice.

Aside from wood as the primary material, this process also calls for other tools as follows: 

  • PVC pipes: You can utilize appropriate size PVC pipes in the spots where you earlier used lumber.
  • Galvanized pipe: Galvanized pipe for the rollers should fit inside the electrical PVC pipe. 
  • U-shaped brackets: You will need two of these brackets for two rollers on the launch. 
  • Fasteners: Rust-resistant fasteners are necessary for securing the brackets to the framework and screwing the framework together. 
  • Eyebolts: You will attach the eyebolts on the launch to tighten the framework and prevent the structure from sliding with the kayak. 
  • Rope: You need the rope to tie eyebolts and secure the framework or a stake in the ground. 

Step 2: Build the frame

Start by cutting the wood to the correct size for the ramp. You can calculate the length of the kayak launch by first cutting the two long lengths. 

Please do not cut them last and then realize the timber is not long enough. 

Next, cut the third 2×4 lumber into different pieces. They can support the lateral construction between the two side pieces. 

The lateral pieces should have the same length but longer than the kayak’s width. 

There should be two lateral braces, one at the bottom of the launch and one on the top. Remember to place other braces one foot apart between those ends. 

After cutting the wood, lay them on a surface. You need to screw the bottom and top lateral pieces to the side pieces to create a sturdy, box-like framework before attaching other lateral pieces. 

Once the structure has formed, secure your lateral pieces and drill holes in the exterior of the side pieces. The holes should be the position for lateral struts. 

Secure the strut in place and screw it from the outside of the structure. 

how to build a homemade kayak launch
Measure the wood pieces and build a frame with them.

Step 3: Build the rollers

Cut the galvanized pipe that serves as the foundation for the rollers to a length equal to the outer width of the frame you have built.

Cut the PVC pipe surrounding each galvanized pipe to the length of the launch frame’s inner width.

Then, the galvanized pipe’s additional length can hold the roller in place, while the PVC pipe can rotate freely without any restriction caused by the frame. 

Spacing is also crucial. If you place the rollers too far from each other, there will be too much tension in one spot of the kayak hull. The excess stress will crack the hull. 

It’s advisable to place the rollers 0.65 feet apart for the best launch structure. 

This setup allows for a proper weight distribution of the kayak. Hence, the kayak hull won’t have to bear excess pressure unequally. 

Next, attach the galvanized pipe to the PVC pipe and secure each pipe end to the frame with U-shaped brackets. 

Check that each roller on the galvanized pipe rotates smoothly. If your estimates were wrong, you might need to cut a tiny bit off the ends of the PVC pipes.

To keep the eyebolts in position on a steep entrance, fasten them to the upper end of the kayak launch. Your DIY kayak launch is now complete.

How To Launch A Kayak? 

Now you have the kayak launch, but how to launch your kayak effortlessly? 

From a shoreline

Learning how to embark on your kayak from the shoreline is one of the fundamentals of kayaking. Once you grasp all the basics, they will become your reflex. 

It’s crucial to keep the following in mind when navigating your kayak out on your own from the shoreline:

  • First, drop your kayak into the water. Put the kayak in a shallow zone to make it simpler for you to sail out. 
  • Move to the kayak’s top. It would be great if you could straddle the kayak’s cockpit while sitting stably on top of it.
  • Bend down to the cockpit. Make sure to place your legs safely and properly. Also, check if you have adjusted the backseat appropriately. 
  • Move into the cockpit and modify the footpegs to fit the length of your legs.
  • When you get into the cockpit, prepare the paddles. Paddle outward into deeper water after pushing off the shoreline.

You can push off into the water easier if you have somebody’s help, although the methods for launching a kayak remain the same. 

Bring the kayak down to the water’s edge. Then, when you climb in the kayak, have your friend keep hold of it.

You are ready to go once you have fixed your position and adjusted the spray skirt. Then, ask your friend to push you and the kayak into the water. 

From a dock 

Launching a kayak from a dock is not the same as doing it from the shoreline. Please follow these steps to deal with the dock: 

  • Check if the floating dock is sturdy enough. 
  • Make sure to have all personal flotation tools on. 
  • Untie the kayak. 
  • If you are not ready, brace the kayak against the dock. 
  • Check the kayak for any possible leak-causing cracks. 
  • Gently push off the dock and paddle into the water. 
how to build a homemade kayak launch
Launching from a dock is easier.

Read more: How to Transport 3 Kayaks? (7 Methods Explained!)

Do’s And Don’ts Of Launching A Kayak 

Here are some final tips to make sure that you have a proper and safe launching:


  • Stretch before getting into the kayak

Keep in mind that you will paddle a lot. You will also need to balance the kayak consistently, which might be tiring over time.

You should therefore ensure that you are as flexible as possible. Stretching before kayaking will prevent muscle cramps in your limbs.

  • Try the kayak on land.

Make sure to test the kayak on land. You can spend some time sitting on the kayak and get used to the kayak’s swinging motion.

Also, inspect your kayak for cracks and holes that can be damaging. Although this task may seem tedious, you’ll be glad you spent time thoroughly checking your kayak once you are on the water. 

  • Put your legs in the right position.

Adjust the footpegs to fit your leg length before getting into the kayak. 

You should position your legs so that you can sit upright with your legs placed nicely on the footpeg.  


  • Do not ignore the currents and tides.

Learn as much as possible about the water you will be kayaking on. 

Each body of water has a distinctive tide and current; thus, sailing without first learning about it would be dangerous. 

  • Do not be confident about weather changes.

Currents in rivers and the sea change depending on the weather. 

You could encounter dangerous situations without understanding the weather forecast before reaching open waters.

Read more: Complete Guide to Kayak Fishing for Crappie – Be An Expert Today!


Building a kayak launch sounds tricky at first, but if you follow our guide correctly, you won’t go wrong with anything. 

There are also many things to learn about launching a kayak. The rule of thumb is to check everything beforehand and stay calm during the launch.

If something is still bothering you, please let us know.

We will be glad to help you. Thanks for reading!

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