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How Do I Get Back Into My Inflatable Boat?

How Do I Get Back Into My Inflatable Boat?

Are you wondering how to get back into an inflatable boat?

Getting into an inflatable boat or raft can be difficult unless you know what you’re doing. Fortunately, there are a lot of easy ways to get back into a boat.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to get back into your inflatable boat if you ever fall out or decide to take a swim.

Why Does Knowing How to Get Back Into an Inflatable Boat Matter?

Falling out of an inflatable boat

Some people find getting back into an inflatable boat harder than they first assumed it would be.

If you find this out after you fall into the water, it can create a dangerous situation. Even after you get back into your boat, it can leave you scared and nervous about falling out or jumping out again.

If you have a plan for how you will get back into your inflatable boat and you practice your plan, then you’ll never have to worry again. You’ll know that you can get back into your boat.

Whether you choose to get out of your boat on purpose or you fall out accidentally, knowing how to get back in will keep you safe and help you feel secure out on the water. This will make your time on your boat better than it has ever been before.

How to Get Back Into Your Inflatable Boat

There are many ways to safely get back into an inflatable boat.

Climb Up the Outboard Engine

Outboard Motor Boat Engine for Kayak Fishing Boat

If you are using an inflatable boat with an outboard engine, you can use the cavitation plate on the motor as a step.

Stand on this plate, then climb up and over the transom (back) of the boat.

If you need more space, turn the outboard motor to one side or the other.

Use a Rope to Pull Yourself On Board

Pull the rope on a boat

Tie two loops into a piece of rope. One will be a foothold and should sit about 2 ½ feet under the water. The other will be a handhold and should be at about the waterline.

Anchor the rope inside the boat, then throw the foothold loop into the water whenever you use the boat.

If you want to get back on, put one foot in the foothold, one hand on a handhold, and use the other hand to grab the part of the rope that is thrown over the side of the boat.

Leverage yourself up and over the side of the boat. It may not be graceful, but it will help you get in.

Push Down on One Side or the Back

Depending on the type of inflatable boat that you have, you may be able to get enough leverage to push one side of the boat, or the back of the boat, down so it is at or near the water level.

Once the side or back is down, you can usually belly flop over the side and land in the bottom of the boat.

If you choose this method, keep the boat on the softer side of “fully inflated” so it’s easier to push down.

Inflatable boat tender - getting back in made easy!

Keep a Ladder On Board

An old diving or boarding ladder is a great way to get back into a boat, though you may need a second person to help you use it under certain circumstances.

These ladders are specially designed for use on boats. They will not move away from you and provide a more elegant way to get back into your boat if you ever fall out.

However, they are also heavier than some of the other methods here. Thus, they may not be appropriate on some boats.

The Perfect Ladder for an inflatable boat

Approach From the Side

To get over the side of an inflatable boat without help, start by making your body horizontal in the water. You don’t want to be on your back, though, because you will need to see where you’re going to make this work.

Get out a little way from your boat, then swim as fast as you can toward the side of it. Keep yourself as horizontal as possible in the water and approach the boat perpendicularly.

As you near the boat, give one last, big kick to get as much of your body as possible on top of the side of the boat. Keep using strong kicks until you have the momentum to heave yourself up and over the side of the boat.

If this isn’t working for you, try getting the side of the boat wet before you try to go over it. This makes it easier to slide up and over.

Back Flip in Using Dinghy Handles

If your dinghy has handles, you can get back in your boat and do a fun trick, too.

With your back to the boat, grab one side handle in each hand. Take a deep breath, because your head is about to go under the water.

Pull your knees to your chest while tucking the back of your head down and slightly under the side of the boat. If it helps, think about kissing the boat with your face upside down.

Use your arms and the momentum from your legs to flip yourself backward into your inflatable boat. It may sound silly, but it is a great way to get back into a boat safely.

Push the Boat to Shore

Push an inflatable boat to shore

If you absolutely cannot get back into your boat, you are a strong swimmer, or you are close to shore when you come out of your boat, you can simply pull the boat back to shore and get in there.

This is not a good option if your boat is heavy, if you are far from shore, or if you are in choppy water or another potentially dangerous situation. It is, however, sometimes the best option available.


Make sure you have a plan in place for how to get back onto your inflatable boat. Practice the plan so you feel secure and know you can get back on if you accidentally fall off.

Once you have this plan in place, you’ll feel more confident and secure than ever when you take your boat out on the water.