If you've ever tried getting in or out of a canoe or kayak that's floating alongside a dock... well, it's actually not that hard if you've got some practice, but a quick viewing of just about any funny home videos program will show that mishaps do indeed happen. That moment of transferring your weight between a stable dock and a less-stable boat can sometimes end up in an unintended dunking, and plenty of laughs at the paddler's expense. A new product, the EZ Launch, is a floating ramp system that eases boat and paddler in and out of the water, and is intended to keep such impromptu baptisms to a minimum.

The business end of the EZ Launch consists of a floating plastic platform, that is level in the middle but sloped down into the water at either end. The ramp has oversized rollers along its bottom, and hand rails along both sides. Using these features, paddlers can get into their boat on the flat middle section, then pull/slide themselves and their boat into the water. They can also pull themselves back out when they're done. Because the overall system is modular, it can be adapted to different set-ups.

EZ Dock, the makers of EZ Launch, claim that it is maintenance-free, non-toxic, sets up with basic tools, and will outlast a wooden dock. They also claim it would be ideal for disabled paddlers. It looks like a good idea, although owners of wooden or fiberglass boats might wince at the thought of their crafts' fragile hulls being pressed down against those hard rollers.

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