anybody make your own cockpit cover.

If so, I’d love to hear about how. I’m not exactly handy with a needle and thread but there’s an outdoor fabric store nearby and they idea of saving money has me interested.

Plus, my boat has an ocean cockpit (15 x 22) and it’s hard to find covers/skirts that fit.



Cockpit Cover
If you don’t need fancy, just a piece of fabric and a loop of bungee works well. Or use mosquito netting if you need it to breathe. Could probably use cheap blue tarp, as well.

DIY Cockpit Cover
I have friends (paddle buddies) that made their cockpit covers (four different boats) and they turned out GREAT!

One of them (Jodi) visits Pnet so hopefully she’ll chime in with the details. If not, I’ll hunt her down for you


email me for pics
I’ve made several… fairly easy to do. trace the outside edge of your combing onto cardboard, add a 1/2 inch all the way around. Then take a strip of the same fabric about 4 inches wide folded lengthwise. be sure to leave a gap in the back for the bungie. the pics will show more.


My wife made a couple the same way
Be sure to clip them to a deck line when traveling though :frowning:

She made her own spray skirts and cockpit covers, VERY NICE. She says they were easy and inexpensive. I’m sure she’ll notice the thread and chime in. WW

First, make the bungee loop.
Route the bungee stock around the cockpit rim to get a rough measurement, then make your loop with a small, stable knot so that the loop stays on the rim with pretty good tension. Don’t cut off the excess yet; you may want to adjust tension later. Tale the loop off and set it aside.

Now take your fabric, which could be coated Cordura, or even neoprene if you have some which will stand up under UV and sun heat. Cut the fabric generously, more than enough that you can lap back the edges over the bungee cord. Tape it to the boat over the cockpit rather loosely, with the “inside” side of the fabric “up” or outside, using pieces of duct tape. We’re going to “sew” the fabric around the bungee right on the boat, but we have to do it with the cover on the rim “inside out.”

Now force the bungee cord loop down over the fabric and onto the cockpit rim. There’s a good chance the fabric will already be tight enough over the rim, but if not, you can pull fabric out under the bungee cord until you have the right or desired degree of tautness. Too taut can make the result hard to get on the rim without a committee.

Now throw your sewing machine in the river and get out your bottle of Weldwood contact cement, or if you’re using neoprene, then neoprene cement. Using scissors, trim the fabric leaving perhaps a 2" plus flange of fabric around the rim. Cut this flange into petals perhaps no wider than 3" so that they can be glued to the central fabric. Using the brush on the glue bottle, paint each petal and the corresponding area of the fabric within the rim. Don’t sniff the glue, consider a second layer, let it dry THOROUGHLY, and then bring each petal up around the bungee and rim to contact-cement it firmly to the central fabric.

Once this is done, you just pull off the cover, trim any nasty bits, and turn it over to try it on the rim.

I will admit to have used this approach only for a relatively small neoprene cover for a C-1. I think the technique will work better with neoprene than with coated nylon, and a neoprene skirt stays flat without flopping in the wind while traveling. But you have to use really high quality neoprene, and spray the outer surface with 303 occasionally to ward off UV.

i made one
works great. go to joe anns fabrics and buy some naugahyde to match your kayak, email me and ill send you a couple of pic’s of how i did it. Rich

i love it!
especially the part about tossing the sewing machine. those things dont like me. i do like my sewing awl, but your method is beautifully direct and simple. i have several boats that could use cockpit covers- thanks!

Source for materials
I’m planning to try and make my own half-skirt to keep the sun off my legs during summer paddling–can’t find them anywhere in a color I like (the half-skirts, not my legs). I found a website that offers marine and outdoor fabrics, and I’ve just ordered some samples of coated nylon plus some bungee yardage and other miscellaneous stuff:

I figure it can’t be too hard to build a half-skirt, especially since my sewing machine doesn’t seem to harbor any particular hostility toward me ;), but if anyone has any tips or words of wisdom, I’d be very interesting in hearing them.

Also, I’ll report back about the quality of products and services from Seattle Fabrics.

Sounds great!

But could you describe the “petals” in greater detail?

Petals— you have to cut the fabric
so that you can fold it in and glue it in small segments. Each small segment is what I call a petal.

made mine…
with help from my mother when I was in college. Taped a few sheets of newspaper together…enough to cover the cockpit, laid it over the rim and traced with a magic marker. Then, cut about two to three inches outside of the outline, depending on how tight you want it to fit. Use this as a template for your fabric–I got some black vinyl at a fabric store. Fold the outside over about an inch and a half or so, and sew this edge down, leaving a slot at the back (or front) to tie off at. Now the fun part…get some braided poly line and figure out how to thread it through the cover. I left enough slack line outside of mine that I could put the cover on and loop the line all the way under the rim again so when I tied off, I didn’t put any extra stress on a seam. Like was previously mentioned, either remove it or clip it to something sturdy in transport. Probably spent less than $10 and 3 hours on mine. Works pretty good.

I made one last night
I took some canvas and traced the outside of the coaming on it, then cut it adding about 4" to the outside. I then put the canvas over the coaming and tightened it down with the bungee. I pinned the seam with it on the boat, took it off and sewed it. It took about one hour.

Waterproof ripstop nylon.
Has anyone tried to make a skirt out of ripstop nylon?

The lady at the fabric center said it was the toughest and lightest waterproof material that she was aware of.

Also, does anyone know where to buy the bungie cords that would be used on the sprayskirts?



where’s the bungee???
I’m having a hard time finding long pieces of bungee…i don’t like the idea of connecting multiple strips, where can i get a big ‘ole hunk o’ bungee???

bungee cord

Found bungee cord locally at Agri-Supply store. They have catalog & do mail order. Also good place to get cart wheels & pulleys for hoist etc…

homemade covers (and half skirt)
Hi there,

I was away on vacation or I would have piped in sooner on this! I made both covers and half skirts. I bought the skirt fabric from a regular fabric store, but the heavier cockpit cover fabric I found at an army/navy surplus store. The heavy duty bungee cord cut to any length I also found at an army/nave store. Here’s photos of my finished products:

Note that I did use a sewing maching for this, but I don’t sew at all and it was do-able. If anyone wants, I can email more detailed instructions that I wrote up for someone else a while ago (or search for them - I think I might have posted them in an earlier thread).

Anyway - it’s cheap yet effective! More money to spend on other things that I know I can’t make!



Why bungee cord?
Thanks, all, for this thread. I’m gonna try it!

But one question: everyone seems to want to use bungee cord - why? Why not small-diameter cord of some sort, closed with a toggle? Seems like that would be easier to construct, and work just as well if not better. But I have little experience with this, and will defer to the masters. :wink:

Just wondering,