Kayak with kid

Does anyone have any suggestions or comments about putting a small child in the kayak with you? Would there ba any problem fashioning a seat into one of the ports?

Are you asking if you can put a “seat” in a dryhatch? Your profile says your skill level is “advanced”, and you want to put a child in a dryhatch???

Anyway, NO, I would’nt put a seat in a “port”. For one thing water will add up in the “port” and cause control problems with the extra weight of the child & water. Second, I see a serious safety risk for the child if you flip. He is likely to be stuck in the “port” if secured in there. Get a tandem, or at least put them on your lap instead.



– Last Updated: May-14-08 10:55 AM EST –

Confused... your profile says advanced but it seems that you are talking about a hatch cover over a bulkhead when you talk about a "port". There is also the issue of having an open bulkhead that could do the Cleopatra's needle thing with a kid in it...

This is not adding up to me.

Any reason that looking around for a used tandem, close or open, isn't a first choice? And how old is said kid?

Search the archives…
You could’ve gotten your ego whipping privately that way. Instead you put your ignorance in writing.


Paddle easy,


youre confused??
I’m really confused—how can someone be an advanced paddler (whatever that is) and not have at least one favorite paddling spot?

As for the port v. hatch—well maybe she has a really really large kayak with ports and portholes—kind of like the one that was paddled from Austraila to New Zealand recently. :slight_smile:

Anyway my adivce on taking the child is to buy a small tandem, but with bulk heads and fore and aft hatches, that you can paddle solo if you have to and put him or her in the front seat.

Sit on Top is the best for small kids
Check out a sit on top kayak like a Ocean Kayak Sidekick or a tandem like the Malibu II or Hobie Oddysey (highly recommeded, but a bit heavy).

Go to the forum at www.sit-on-topkayaking.com

I would not put a child in a hatch in a kayk, if you capsize they could have difficulty getting free from the boat.

thank you
Some of you people are rather mean. How arrogant some of you are when a person is asking for advice. And advanced paddler means I paddle quite a lot and am advanced in my skills with the kayak. Thank you for the advice.

I guess I was

– Last Updated: May-14-08 1:41 PM EST –

some kind of mean.
Edited - I see from lower post that someone who primarily races kayaks had the original idea.

Believe me…

– Last Updated: May-14-08 1:28 PM EST –

Some of the people here have been alot meaner in the past. If you do ever use the "search" funtion, you will see.

Search back about 5-8 years & you will see the kind of "beatings" people got for asking the same question back then.

You got lucky!

Paddle easy,


BTW- I have been kayaking for about 8 years & canoeing for over 20. I have alot of waterborn experience, but still do not consider myself advanced. I would say more like "pushing intermediate".

You must be a "waterlord" or something? And in that case you wouldn't be on these boards...

Thanks again

– Last Updated: May-14-08 1:34 PM EST –

A friend who races kayaks suggested it to me so I figured I would ask other like minded people their thoughts and suggestions. Thank you for your time and coffee2, I just reviewed my profile and that was a key stroke error, I am an intermediate paddler who enjoys what I do! Thank you for point out the error.

Agreed, or a rec. boat…
I’ve got a Dirigo 140 that’s got a giant (4’ literally) cockpit. They come with a “jump” seat for the kid.

Keep in mind, with a rec. boat - you’re limited in what it can do and what water/conditions it can go in. But, for what I want it for (kayaking w/ my 4 year old), it works for me.

For what it is worth;
When my wife and I bought our first little 9 foot long Keowee rec kayaks, they came with a childs seat directly in front of the larger seat.

We took them out, and a year or so ago, someone here on p-net was looking for one to install in a rec. kayak that they had, and I sent them one of them.

With the large size cockpits in the rec kayaks, I see no reason not to install a smaller seat in front of the main one.

In my travels I have seen youngsters and pets in the front compartments of kayaks, but I would be hesitant to do it unless you had confidence that you could immediately get the child out in case of a misshap.



Kid in a Keowee
Seen someone up in Friendship do that, and upon talking with the parent it turned out that they had practiced capsizing with the kid in there and both of them swimming out. In some respects it seemed as though it’d be fairly easy to control the situation in an emergency, since the kid was pretty much in their lap.

But this was also a rec boat with none of the stability issues of having a kid that could move around up there sitting well ahead of the cockpit and, in anything I’ve paddled, out of arm reach. The gear I load up there can’t decide to turn around and wave at me or reach over the side to grab something out of the water.

I used to take my then 5 year old out with me in a rec boat. We stayed on flat water always in reach of shore. She sat in front of me with no special seat.

I recall seeing a photo in a kayaking book of a very young child riding in an open hatch. (I think it was Sea Kayaking/ A Woman’s Guide…but I might be wrong about that) They presented the picture as a reasonable option, and I recall being shocked that anyone would promote such an idea.

Is your child old enough to swim?
Here’s the problem as I see it. Everything is fine and hunky dory so long as you don’t capsize. If you do, three bad things can happen. 1) Your child can panic or get stuck. 2) Your child can’t swim (only you know about that). 3) Your front hatch can fill with water and now you have a boat that is 2/3 full of water–exponentially harder to bail out. I wouldn’t take my kid in my hatch. You decide.

kids in rec boats
My first kayak was an America 13.5. It’s got a huge cockpit opening that I figured would be great for sitting my then four year old in with me. I bought one of those ugly safety-orange boat cushions with the big grab loops for her to sit on. This was partly for comfort and also to keep her rear out of the water that she dip netted into the boat. She learned to paddle in front of me, and yes, we had a few spills on flat water through the years. Lots of swim lessons, a top of the line PFD, practice getting out and back into the boat have really paid off. At eight years old, she is quite safety conscious and knows she’s not bulletproof on the water. Have fun with your kid(s) on the water, but be prepared to be in the water too.

if they start acting up in a tandem
you could always smack em with the paddle:) but then that does seem a little extreme

There needs to be a LAW
If there’s not a LAW, there should be one.

With your claim to be an advanced paddler you should know better than to even ask. I would have hoped in that stage you would already know that answer.

The poor child IS wearing a life jacket, knows how to swim and of course you have a bilage pump and are paddling in about 1 feet of calm water RIGHT??

I’ve seen it out there and just don’t understand where your coming from??

Dumb moves give all kayakers a bad impression but risking the safety of a child is just not worth what ever it is you plan on doing. THINK you shouldn’t even have to ask.

Is the LIFE of your child worth the Risk?

I think the danger words were…
small child (conjures image of toddler waving bye-bye as he/she sinks beneath the water)

and port (use of inappropriate part name conjures image of inexperienced newbie waving bye-bye as he/she sinks beneath the water)

I actually shuddered a little as I read the original post!

More info needed fer sher!

How ‘small’ is the child? Age? Height? Weight? Any swimming ability? PFD fit issues? Can the child say PFD yet?

What kind of kayak? Narrow racing/speed kayak? Fat party barge kayak?

What kind of paddling? Calm, bathtub warm shore paddling? Epic, arctic adventure tour wherein you and small child must harpoon your own food?