Spray Skirt Help! Gettin it on the boat

Just got my Seals Extreme Tour Sprayskirt for my Carolina 14.5 and i can not get them thing around the cockpit on the boat… I got the right size… 2.2.

But the thing has a long way to go to streach it on…

Any sudgestions?

some ideas…
These are basics for trying to get skirt on - forgive me if they are too basic, but this way any other readers might also benefit:

  1. you gotta be in the skirt and in the boat - it’s VERY hard to get a neoprene skirt on without you in it.
  2. wet the skirt thoroughly first - this will make it easier to get on.
  3. while in the seat, lean back so you have enough give to hook the skirt on the back of the rim and part way up the sides.
  4. as you prepare to move to hooking on the front sides/front of the skirt, now lean forward so that you use your body to help stretch the skirt tight against the back rim.
  5. if it still can’t go on, it might be the wrong size even if the guide says it’s right!

    I tried a skirt that was labeled for my boat once and with me in the boat and two big guys standing next to me helping to pull, all three of us couldn’t get the thing on. I don’t care what the label said, that skirt was NOT the right size for my boat!

    If you get it on but the fit is super tight, then all the more reason to practice wet exits with a spotter nearby to make sure you can get out. With a tight skirt, you’ll need to push forward and then down (if you’re upside down) in order to pop the skirt off. ALWAYS make sure your grab loop is free after you have your skirt on. Unlike nylon skirts which usually you can pull straight off, the neo skirt often needs the push/pull combo to release it.

    Good luck! I hope it fits after wetting it and you don’t need to get another one, after all!!!

All good advice…
One other thing I noticed when I first started using a skirt was that the muscles in your arms and hands that you use to stretch it forward are not generally well-developed… at least not in me and I run/lift/play lots of sports, etc…

After a season of paddling and putting it on lots of times that’s no longer the case… it gets easier when its wet for sure… but you’ll also find that your strength will grow in relation to the resistance of the skirt.



Wet Skirt
Ok got it on a little easier once it was wet… I left it on the boat to help streatch it… My only concert is it difficult to get on and off once your out on te water… My old rec boat on days i would take photos or fly fish i took it on and off quite alot… Perhaps i should get a Nylon Skirt as well for days i need to get in and out of alot… Any one eles use a Nylon one as well as the Neo…

Thanks for all the tips!


Leave it on
Leave it on the boat for a few days, that’ll help stretch it out. It’s not uncommon to have to do that. But if it seems like it’d be really too tight to pull off in an emergency, hang the official sizing and try another size.

Hard to get on - not hard to get off
My experience is that my skirt that is really hard to get on really comes off with a vengeance when you pull on that handle.

Technique more than strength
I found that putting on and removing a neo skirt from the cockpit rim requires more technique than strength. There are a couple of subtle refinements to the basic technique described earlier that I think make all the difference.

When putting on… after the skirt is hooked over the rim behind you it’s critical to find just the right hand placement on either side of the grab loop. For me it’s right around the 11 and 1 o’clock positions. Too far foward or too far back increase the difficulty a lot. When you grab the skirt use your elbows and forearms to hold down the sides of the skirt and lean your upper body forward to stretch the skirt over the front edge of the cockpit. When the front catches run your hands backwards along the skirt edge tucking it in as you go.

To remove…I think it’s important to be able to do this one handed. Grab the loop and make a fist. Plant your fist down on the deck, lock your arm straight out, and again using your upper body push forward toward the bow so the skirt seal rolls out from under the cockpit lip. Keeping your fist in contact with the deck as you do this adds significant mechanical advantage to the move. After the push forward maintain tension and do something like a weightlifting curl with your forearm to peel the skirt away from the cockpit.

I always put on, remove, and put on again, before a launch as kind of a reminder that “yep I can do it”. And do be sure the grab loop is free.


Thanks everyone… i’m making out ok… Practiced a few times and now have it on the oat over night… it defanatly makes a big differnece if the skirt is wet or even damp… Stretches alot more… will see how things go once i’m in the water this weekend :slight_smile:



Don’t do it with your arms
Like most paddle strokes and movements the body has to direct the arms which are passive. Use the power of your abs and keep the arms fixed in position. Do a situp to push the front edge on.

Ever have an automobile airbag deploy…
…without a crash directly into your face?

Me neither. I can only imagine that is the feeling if that tightass neoprene skirt works it’s way off that coaming midpaddle.

One other thing
If the skirt has a bungie rather than a rubber rand, you may be able to tie it looser. I had to tighten mine up after using it a while.

Getting overly complicated
The Seals Tour Extreme has a bungie, if I have the right skirt in mind, but it is fully sealed all the way around. No knot sticking out that can be retied, which actually makes it a lot easier to get on with gloves. My oldest neo skirt has the knot and it can be a pain if the coaming is low. It’s a bear to get that onto my Vela when wearing cold weather weight gloves.

I have had now three neoprene skirts, on both poly and composite boats, and they don’t come near hitting me in the face when they come off. And I am shorter than most of the guys who are on this board. They retract to a point in the middle of my lap without any undue fuss if I am upright, or under my armpit if upside down.

I noticed two ideas about putting the skirt on above, one starting with catching the skirt around the rear of the coaming then drawing forward and one in the other direction. The first is the one I was taught, but I’ve seen people make the other work. Personally, I can’t make the front to back idea work because my arms and hands are at too tough an angle to exert consistent pull behind me.

…and one in the other direction.

I can’t imagine putting a skirt on “front to back” so I went back to see who was recommending doing it that way. The only thing I found that might be construed as “front to back” is where I said…

“When the front catches run your hands backwards along the skirt edge tucking it in as you go.”

That was not meant to convey a reversal of the normal “back to front” method. Only the final move after stretching the skirt over the front lip of the coaming. On my boat, with my skirt, the sides of the skirt don’t always fully engage the coaming rim on the forward stretch. Once and a while the skirt will pop off if I just let go after hooking the front. I usually maintain hand contact after hooking the front and run back along the skirt to tuck in the sides.

I imagine every boat and skirt combo will have different degrees of difficulties. I was describing my method for a Wildwasser neo skirt on an Impex cockpit.

If that wasn’t what you took as “front to back” then…uh…nevermind. :slight_smile:


it would be funny but fortunately it can only happen in the cartoons.


Oops - misread it
You are right Mike, I misread your post. Oh well, maybe someone else out there was lacking the same complement of brain cells as me and was helped by your correction…