I’m just getting into kayaking and since my storage space is limited, was wondering if there’s such a thing as a “kayak marina” where people can store their kayaks near a launch point? I live in Sarasota, Florida, and would want someplace on the Sarasota Bay. I live only a mile from the place where the bay meets downtown Sarasota.
Are there other ideas people have found to avoid having to put their kayaks on a car rack and drive to launch points?
One idea proposed to me by a kayak rental place was for me to “donate” my kayak to them and they would rent it out, but reserve it for me anytime I gave them 24 hours notice. They would, of course, not charge me any rent. Any thoughts on this plan?
Thanks for any advice!
I would NOT lend your yak to a rental place. They can be abused beyond belief. No way.
They do have boathouses where you can store kayaks, you’ll just have to search around. Here in my neck of the woods it’s $50 a month. I decided to just buy a rack and keep it at home, but many people do keep their boats in the boathouse next to the launch.
Get a folder
Willowleaf can recommend some good ones.
If you buy a rugged, rotomolded boat for $1000 or less, keeping it at the rental place might not be so bad. Yes, it's going to get heavy use by novices and won't last as long. But the boat is not that expensive to begin with, and *any* solution will involve costs and compromises. For example, if a kayak marina charges you $50 per month, that's $600 per year right there, exceeding the cost of the hypothetical boat in less than 2 years. It'd be cheaper to replace the boat every few years.
On the store-at-home option, you can get racks to store the boat on an inside wall or ceiling (garage or otherwise), as well as outside racks to keep it off the ground in a small piece of backyard; and there are carts with bicycle-like wheels to walk it to the water in reasonable comfort...
Damage is one thing.. Sometimes renters LOSE the kayak.
and if someone claims injury from your kayak does the rental place cover this?
Have you met the kayakers locally? There probably are more clubs. They may have space/ideas
Take a couple of steps back
1. What kind of vehicle do you have?
2. Could you tow a small kayak with a bike/
3. What kind of storage space do you have?
think a bit creatively. I hang my kayaks on fences,
stick them under decks, hang them from the garage wall, I have storage racks. Some people hang them from the ceiling inside apartments.
4. It might pay to try kayaking with a small kayak and not worrying about carrying expensive cameras etc etc for a while to see if it’s something you really want to invest in.
5. Think a little outside of the box for the kayak you would buy. Take a look at the Wave Witch - very light SOT and fast paddler, very seaworthy. http://huntjohnsendesigns.com/
6:Car topping a small kayak only takes a few minutes to load and unload the boat. Once you get it worked out with a rack or a pad system (strap surf board pads) and it’s routine - you can get ready and go in five minutes
folders and inflatables
There are lots of folding and inflatable kayak options that are great for folks with limited or non-existent storage. They range from cheap short and rather clunky boats that are more like rafts (and slow and not safe for coastal conditions) to top of the line craft that are just as fast and functional as hard shell boats.
Prices run from $500 to $5000 but many are in the $800 to $1500 range that are competitive with decent quality hard shell touring boats. Besides the obvious storage advantages, it's great to have a kayak that you can check as baggage on the airlines and take with you anywhere on vacation.
Most newcomers to the sport are not familiar with these types of boats, but folders (with wood or metal frames and fabric "skins" were actually the first kinds of kayaks to become popular with Westerners in the early 20th century. To some extent they replicate the original Arctic Peoples' kayak designs that were made of wood, bone and sealskin.
Here are some links so you can get an idea of what is available and how convenient and portable they can be (also much lighter than plastic and fiberglass boats).
There are also numerous YouTube videos of people using folding kayaks, including showing how they are set up and broken down. Most take 20 minutes to half an hour but some inflatables only take 5 minutes or so.
If this sounds like it might be an option that would simplify your storage and boat access issues, fire me any questions you have about them either by posting on the forum or by the private email below my post. Most of my experience kayaking has been with folders and I have owned 5 of them since 2002.
ADDED: Just saw your earlier post about kayak selections. I'm also a 60 something female so I appreciate some of the challenges of wrestling heavy kayaks. I have owned (and still own) plastic kayaks in addition to my folders -- I less and less feel like hauling and lifting them when I have folder options that weigh less than 35 pounds.