A ? for users of Cockpit Covers

I kayak with people who slap cockpit covers on their boats as soon as they come off the water. My cockpit is always wet. Isn’t everybody’s? So what goes on inside a wet, covered cockpit? Seems like mold and algae would be growing.

Those who use cockpit covers, please advise.

I also wonder if the floor of the kayak (CD, composite) is treated to delay UV degradation. Gel coat keeps UV at bay on the outside. What about the inside?


You can get vented ones

– Last Updated: Sep-14-16 2:19 PM EST –

Though I have no memory of where Jim found them, maybe Seals?

Personally the cockpit cover usually comes off the next morning when I offload the boat. I usually use neo cockpit covers and I have never had mold issues as long as I don't leave it on there for days.

I am unclear about how the interior of a boat would suffer much from UV degradation. When the boat is stored in the yard or otherwise stowed for more than a lunch stop it is upside down. Except for when it is on supports at water's edge on vacation, where I usually put on cockpit covers after the inside has had a chance to dry out in the sun after a paddle. They need to be on overnight because it is tidal. If I misgauge the tide or the supports fail, the boat is a lot less likely to be taken away if it is not full of water.

I replace the mooring line(s) if anything more frequently than needed and they are probably thicker than needed. So the lines are the least likely to fail.

We don’t use them anymore
We used to use them on multiday transports deck side up

Now its deck side down

Once the cover flew off and wound up plastered against the cop’s windshield. He was behind us.

They are also handy for keeping overnight spiders mice snakes out at a campsite.

Not needed at home.

We don’t get enough sun for me to ever worry about UV especially with an upside down boat.

Sometimes we use ours
and sometimes we don’t

-We use them when they are in the boat barn to keep the spiders out

-We use them when they are on the vehicle roof if we are doing overnight traveling or on long trips

-We never put them on after we take the boats out of the water, so the cockpits can dry out, (unless they are predicting rain)

-When we are down the Keys for six months and they are lying on the ground on gray foam cradles we use them between paddles to keep the ants and other critters out.

Ours get used a lot !

Jack L

One thing with cockpit covers
ALWAYS secure the loop to the forward bungies with a basic carbineer before driving away with them on the car. We have had ours blow off once in a long while, though with the neo covers it is usually due to user error. But since adding the carbineer they have never ended up in traffic.

This does mean that you should not have stuff loose inside underneath the cockpit cover.

Rinse cockpit
dry and store simple. Then cover. UV in the cockpit is no problem never gets enough sun and I have 3 CD boats. Feel better wipe with 303 inside and out. Seals cover have a mid point loop and they give you a strap to go around the boat. Also a Loop Clip as stated above to clip bungee to. Then you can’t loose it. I can’t see them flying off and any speed up to 70. I never had a problem.

Transport deck up
so the cockpit is covered, secured with a bungee cord.

I always wash down my boat when I come home, then it’s wiped out. Don’t like sandy cockpits or sandy seats. Midweek the kayak sits on my dock and is stored hull up but covered with a Sunbrella type fabric for UV protection (dock is in full sun). Still use a cockpit cover to keep the frogs and toads out of my boat.

Friday-Sunday, kayak is stored in a screened porch as I paddle Lake Michigan or elsewhere on weekends. No need to cover the cockpit inside the porch.


– Last Updated: Sep-14-16 4:36 PM EST –

Sometimes I put it on before loading the boat after a trip, to keep things out of the cockpit during the trip (if it's a long trip) and to keep wind resistance down. But I always take the cover off to let things dry out once I'm home. So I transport it to the next spot covered. When stored outside it stays on to keep bugs out.

Winter storage (inside), all my covers and hatches come off.

…that should be one happy boat! :wink:

That’s something I’ve wondered about.
Removing hatch covers during winter storage. Is there a specific reason it should be done?

My boats are stored at the pool, where it’s heated (and humid). So far I’ve left the hatch covers on because they have swim meets there and the bleachers are just in front of the kayak storage area. That allows access to the kayaks.

we are getting better mileage
from our drying out prone Valley covers by removing them in the winter. They are in a garage that normally hovers around freezing and the boat in a barn that is unheated and hence sometimes zero

But removing them reminds us to 303 them. I’d expect big stink in sealed bulkheads in humid environs…or mold but I don’t know.

breathable covers

– Last Updated: Sep-14-16 5:59 PM EST –

I make my own breathable cockpit covers using the canvas fabric for outdoor furniture, stitched to a nylon tunnel with marine grade bungee cord threaded through and a nylon loop on the bow end that can be clipped to deck rigging with a micro-carabiner to keep it from flying off. Takes about $5 worth of material and less than an hour of work. My covers keep out the spiders, centipedes, mice and cats but allow moisture to evaporate.

My gaudy color selection assures I don't lose track of them -- plus I just like colorful things. Most commercial covers are black nylon and I've gotten them mixed up with the sprayskirts and dry wear. Here's one of my faves (the colors match every one of my boats):


My wife and I have heavy duty nylon covers for our Current Designs composites. We basically only use them when traveling (deck up) in poor weather, although we just spent two weeks on vacation with the kayaks outside and we were glad we had the covers as several times it rained overnight.

We store the boats in our garage at home so once they are washed out and dried off we don’t need the covers. I do put them on for winter storage though to keep any mice or spiders out.

I generally let the kayaks dry (covers off) while we fire up the grill and refuel.

Compared to the kayaks without covers the maintenance usually goes much faster, less stains (leaves blowing in and seeping), fewer bugs, dust and debris only on the outside. They’ve never taken on any smells, however the ones without covers may smell of blown in debris that sat over winter. Hmm, got to love spring cleaning!!!

Maybe thermoform is different?
This will be the third winter I’ll be storing both Eddylines at the pool, Wow - time sure flies when you’re having fun.

Hatches on my touring boat still smell like the stuff they were sealed with. Haven’t sniffed the Skylark hatches. Maybe I should as that kayak was used just twice this summer by friends.

Your comment about hatch smell. I bought my current boat “new” (first owner) and it still had a fiberglass resin smell in the hatches, it filled up my living room with the wonderful aroma when the boat was hung from the ceiling. When it diminished, I used to stick my head in the rear hatch just to get a big whiff.

I just pull my covers in winter because I store in an unheated space, and my hatches seem to crumble after a few years in the elements. So I 303 them and stuff them in a trash bag inside the cockpit.

Got a 404 error
on that link so couldn’t see your colorful work.


– Last Updated: Sep-15-16 12:55 PM EST –

Surprised that Flickr album link wouldn't load. I've posted the same links to other kayak-related albums on it. Can you click to this one?


Try cutting and pasting the link into a Google or Bing search page.

I've seen some inquiries on the Flickr "help" forums that they may be blocking anyone who doesn't have a Yahoo account from opening links to Flickr. I may need to find a less persnickety photo sharing site.

For transportation when it rains
I have also used one on camping trips, to keep creepy crawlies out. But I wait till nighttime so that the moisture can at least partly dry.

Otherwise, no,

No love.
Google told me: “Your search - http://www.flickr.com/photos/snapdoodlekid/albums/72157670575802984 - did not match any documents”

Still getting a 404 on my Windows machine and iPad.

But the Saguenay Fjord link opened. All I can say is Wow! Beautiful photos of what looks like a fabulous trip. Did see one of your black fabric covers on the red kayak.