A lot of modifications can be done on a kayak for various purposes like improving the fishing experience, increasing the storage capacity, etc. The most recent modification that is trending is the motorization of kayaks. A lot of people are talking about it and a lot of people have modified it already.
Below is a list of material required for this purpose. You may find some of them at your home, but some you may have to get from other sources.
Table of Contents
- Step 1. Attach the Motor with Propeller
- Step 2. Mount the Motor with Kayak
- Step 3. Build the Steering Linkage
- Step 4. Plug wires inside “Minn Kota Plug”
- Step 5. Connect Steer linkage with paddles
- Step 6. Attach the circuit with RPS (Reverse polarity Switch)
- Step 7. Attach reverse polarity switch with the battery
- The drawbacks of motorization
Step 1. Attach the Motor with Propeller
The first step in converting your kayak would be to attach a suitable propeller with your motor. The type of motor and propeller depends purely on your choice.
However, the weight capacity of the kayak should also be considered. In my set up though, I have used a Minn Kota Endura C2 motor that produces a thrust of 30 pounds. I have a kayak that has a weight capacity of 450 lbs and has a length of 13 feet.
The propeller I used is Kipawa 314. This propeller doesn’t improve the speed of the boat but it significantly increases the thrust of the motor. Maneuvering with this propeller is pretty smooth, it turns on a dime.
Step 2. Mount the Motor with Kayak
At the back of kayaks drill four holes to fit a stand. This stand connects the motor with the kayak. You can easily purchase this stand from the local blacksmith and if it is not available you can ask him to take a stand according to the specifications of your kayak.
Don’t go for a stand that is too heavy as it will add an unnecessary burden on the kayak.
Step 3. Build the Steering Linkage
After connecting the propeller with the motor, now you need something to steer this system. For this purpose, you would need to make two quarter-inch holes at the back of the kayak.
Each hole should be one and a half-inch away from the depression at the back of the kayak. Put a plastic tube in these holes. The tube’s size depends on the size of the kayak. If the material is thick you may need a larger size but if it is thin a quarter-inch plastic tube would work.
Step 4. Plug wires inside “Minn Kota Plug”
Remove the head of the motor and expose off all the wires coming off from there. Cut the red and yellow wire from the terminal and tape them to avoid a short circuit. Only white and black wires are enough for our purpose.
Drill a hole at the back of the boat just two or three inches away from the lid of the rear storage compartment. Make the hole big enough to fit a “Minn Kota Plug”. Add a receptacle to make it waterproof. Plug the white and black wires in and insulate them with a pipe.
Remove the rudder system but don’t dismount the rail that is attached to the kayak. Purchase a set of new paddles and drill the holes in each paddle. One at the top of it and the other at the front side of it. Pass the wire through the front hole and put a detain pin in the other hole. Attach the detain pins with wires.
Step 6. Attach the circuit with RPS (Reverse polarity Switch)
This might be a tricky part. Attaching the circuit directly with the battery with just a single button would make your kayak move in just a single direction. To move your kayak in both forward and backward direction you would need a reverse polarity switch.
A 12 volt DC 30 Amp RF remote control switch works best for our purpose. This will relieve you from turning the motor button on and off again and again. It operates with remote control and the direction you want to move is just a click away from you.
The Remote has two buttons on its one for forward and the other one for reverse movement. To move forward just push the forward button and to make the reverse button press the forward button again and then press the reverse button and vice versa.
Step 7. Attach reverse polarity switch with the battery
Choosing the battery of the right size is important. A heavier battery would lower your kayak in the water so before purchasing the kayak always consider the weight capacity of your kayak. In my case, I have used 12 volts, Deep cycle marine battery. The battery weighs about 44 pounds. Put this battery in the rear storage compartment.
Put the battery on a plastic battery tray and mount the tray on a piece of wood and lay down a piece of foam underneath the wood piece. This setup will keep your battery from sliding on each side. The battery is too heavy and big to flip therefore, you don’t have to worry about its flipping over the side.
This setup also helps in distributing the weight evenly which is very important. If the weight is greater at one side of the boat the kayak will tend to go in the direction opposite to it. This will make the kayak unbalanced and hard to control. Therefore, always place the battery in the middle of the rear storage compartment to balance the weight evenly.
Attach the wires coming from the reverse polarity switch with the battery. Attach the red wire with the positive terminal and the black wire with the negative terminal. I would advise you to use wing nuts to connect the wires as they can be easily removed and fitted.
The wingnuts allow you to remove the wires whenever you want and then attach them back. The battery is heavy and makes transportation difficult. To avoid this discomfort remove the battery when you are not using the kayak and put it in the back of a car. When you reach your destination again attach the battery and boom you are ready to go. Easy peezy.
The drawbacks of motorization
Making your kayak motorize would surely cut down a lot of stress, but at the same time, it does have some drawbacks. Let’s take a quick look at them.
Decreased Storage Capacity
Because of a gigantic battery that would be present in your rear storage box the space to store your other goods would decrease a lot. If you think you would be able to carry the stuff with the help of a bungee network you are wrong.
The battery and the motor increase the weight of the kayak and decrease its weight capacity. So the only thing this kayak would be able to carry is you and some snacks to feed your hunger.
Limited time on the water
You would have to remove your rudder system and that means you can’t paddle. This makes you totally dependent on the battery. As long as the battery works you can stay on the water once it runs down you have to go back to the shore.
A good battery lasts for three hours on average so it only gives you three hours for kayaking which won’t be enough for some people.
Difficulty in transportation
Because of the motor and propeller that are attached to the kayak, it would be difficult to transport. The setup is too delicate and all it would take is one strong jerk to break this setup. This is why a motorized kayak needs a truck with a spacious back where it can be put or a transporting trolley in case you own an SUV or car.
The above guide explains how to put a trolling motor on a kayak. Motorization of the kayak will reduce the stress you need to paddle, but it will cut down your space, storage, and time on the water.
For the people who like to kayak occasionally, motorization would be good but for the people who like to go on the kayak for exercise and want to enjoy the calamity of nature, this might not be such a good idea. If you have anything to add or want to ask something, feel free to comment in the section given below.