Seven Design Features of an AODA Accessible Kayak/Canoe Launch

  1. Gangway slope: If a ramp drops down to the launch site, it needs to have a modest slope to meet ADA guidelines. The ramp should have 1 foot of length for every inch it drops. Water levels often fluctuate, and gangways allow the system to accommodate the water level change.
  2. Handrails: To assist users, handrails down the gangway need to be 36 inches high.
  3. Ample room: The deck of the launch site should be big enough to accommodate wheelchairs, watercraft, and other equipment.
  4. Step-down bench: In the middle of the floating launch structure is a bench with transition steps so users can work their way down to the kayak. The transfer bench is often made out of aluminum, which allows the user to slide along each step. Each step is a small drop down.
  5. At the end of the bench, an overhead rail over the top of the kayak to provide additional support and allow the user to ease straight down into the kayak.
  6. Moving the vessel: Launch decks are made of aluminum decking materials for low maintenance and scratch resistance. In the loading area, the kayak or canoe is supported by slide guides that hold the vessel steady while the user is getting situated into the vessel.
  7. More handrails: Additional handrails on the ramp allow users to work their way down the launch to open water.

Diagrams for AODA Spec/Kayak Launch Option #1

  • Gangway has 42” high rails and continuous curb rails plus 36” high grab bars.
  • “Cool touch” aluminum panels on all surfaces
  • Drawing not to scale

Diagrams for AODA Spec/Kayak Launch Option #2

  • Gangway has 42” high rails and continuous curb rails plus 36” high grab bars
  • “Cool touch” aluminum panels on all surfaces


Option 2

  • This option allows an able persons to use overhead grab bars/adjustable heights
  • Each arm can be adjusted to required height
  • Drawing not to scale

Side view of launch from water (reverse)

4’ wide x 16’ long Gangway AODA kayak launch project


  • 2’x4’ sub frame vertical posts 60” or 5/4” x 6” cool touch decking.
  • 1” x 3” rub rail bolted to verticals
  • Vertical posts to 42” high rail
  • Diagonals welded to framework.
  • Intermediate rail 36” high
  • HD 4 bolt galvanized hinges both ends
  • Hinged transition plates both ends
  • Float on dock end for flotation and assembly

Life Time Warranty



docktool-1 (1)


decking 2 - on deck