After getting kitted out with your new sit on kayak toys, you will no doubt have in mind a spot for your maiden voyage. Unfortunately there are certain by-laws and access rights linked to certain patches of water in the UK. Just because you live next to a reservoir doesn’t mean you automatically have the right to launch your siton here. There are, however, still a plethora of options available to you…

The sea

Generally speaking, most beaches are fair game for launching and going for a paddle on your siton. Ocean facing sea front is mostly open to the general public.There are though a few exceptions.

Whitesands Bay on Wales’ Pembrokeshire coast is siton kayak friendly –

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In certain parts of the world residential buildings are erected right on the shore, meaning that access to the water becomes tricky. The water is not private but the way in which you get to it is. In many instances there can be a way to get to the put in – but this is not always the case.
Other limitations can occur if there happens to be a private club built on private land. There is nothing an owner can do if you happen to make it to the water, but launch fees and other rules can be in place if you are accessing the water via the land.

It’s also worth taking into consideration that although many beaches are free to launch, you may be expected to pay the car parking charges.


Harbours and inlets can be very different with many launching and landing rules.If the harbour ij question is a particularly busy shipping area then chances are the authorities will not take kindly to you merrily paddling your sit-on kayak here.

Quieter harbours are usually fine for a spot of sit on top kayaking but you may be expected to purchase and display relevant certification acknowledging you have paid launching and landing fees.

Putting in close to Sitons HQ, just off Emsworth which makes up part of Chichester Harbour is a good example of a harbour location that’s great for sitons –

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If you are contemplating going for a float in a harbour location then it may be worth checking out if any enforcements are in place. All information is usually available online.


Most inland water locations, suitable for siton kayaking are heavily governed by local authorities, who enforce access fees and make sure that strict laws and guidelines are adhered to. These fees pay for maintenance and the upkeep of these spots.

A good example of a sit-on kayak friendly inland put in is Oxofrd’s Circuit Canoe Trail –

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Some canals and rivers are no go areas full stop, for various reasons. It could be the spot in question is a haven for fishing; the powers that be won’t take kindly to you turning up and spoiling the ambience.

As with open sea paddling, all information on access rights for canals and rivers should be available online – it’s worth checking this out before you head off for a float with your sit-on.


Most reservoirs and lakes also fall under some form of by-law where launching is either completely prohibited or you have to pay.

Often these spots have some form of watersports facility onsite – in many cases this is a club where all forms of getting wet are encouraged, but you will usually be required to join.

Examples of these put in types are –

Roadford Lake (Devon) –
Sibleyback Lake (Cornwall) –
Tamar Lakes (Cornwall) –

When contemplating your next paddle mission somewhere new, double check if any restrictions are in place. Most launch spots are feasible: it just may mean you have to pay for the privilege.