Spray Skirt Material?

After paddling some Class II / III water over the weekend on the French Broad, I’ve decided to attempt a spray skirt on the front of the boat to minimize the amount of water it takes on. After watching how, when, & where the water was coming in, I don’t think it will take much to minimize it. If I can keep the water from coming over the bow in the larger Class II water I will call it a victory. Since the boat wasn’t made for Class III, I will live with pulling over and dumping the water on that rare occasion.

I fabricated an aluminum frame last night to support the skirt, now I have to figure out the right material and fastening system. I would love to use velcro, if I could figure out a way to mechanically fasten it. I guess old school snaps would work as well. Another thought would be to use rope along the hull, but I would still like to fasten the material to the frame so it would follow the form.

Any opinions / suggestions?





.#1 …get a patent on that setup B4 you go any further and B4 someone steals that idea and commercializes it on you.

#2. with that frame , you have the implosion side covered pretty well, so any nylon fabric should do well. Consult a boat upholsterer for a good idea what will work and maybe they can fashion a custom cover complete with snaps or whatever.

#3. Velcro would work for awhile till it wears out it’s grip, better to go with metal fasteners.

Thanks for the suggestions, I was actually in the process of finding a local marine upholstery when I read your reply :)!

sil nylon
From what I’ve read, it sounds like silicone impregnated nylon (Sil-Nylon) material is the best option for tough, light weight, water-proof material. I’ve found several camping tarp options that are made from this material.

I’m thinking that nickle-plated brass snaps and Sil-Nylon material might be the ticket here.

couple of commercial examples
For some examples of commercial versions: our Pakboat XT15 kayak is more of a decked canoe design and like all their boats, the entire deck is fastened on with a strip of industrial strength velcro around the entire gunwale. You can usually find the heavy duty Velcro at building centers like Home Depot or Lowes – a drapery fabric store like Joann’s Fabric will stock it too. It comes in sew on and peel-and-stick versions. The adhesive is pretty tough, though I can’t vouch for its waterproofness:


Their pack canoe spray skirts are quite a bit different, using a lacing system.


They use a similar frame structure to yours. Very nice design, by the way. If you have trouble finding the fabric you need locally, Seattle Fabrics online catalog has always been a great source for me of any outdoor materials and fittings (including velcro).


– Last Updated: Jul-06-11 10:56 AM EST –

After thinking about it, I'm sure that Sil-Nylon is great for backpacking tarps, but I've also read that it can stretch when it gets wet. I'm envisioning a semi-transparent sailboat sail material that sags when wet....not good.

I think that in this particular application, a little thicker, heavier material may be a better choice.

I've ordered a yard of 14 oz. and 18 oz. green vinyl coated polyester material and 100 #24 nickle-plated brass snaps, I believe (hope) that one of these two materials will do the trick.

I'm going to buy small bolts to attach the male halves of the snaps to the aluminum frame and the Royalex, and already have the Tandy snap installation tool for the female halves that will go on the fabric. I also picked up some clear poly repair tape to cover the edges with.....I'm not too up on my sewing skills yet :).

I got the snaps off Amazon (Tandy product) and purchased the tarp material from here -


If you want to do Class II/III, you’d be well served to get a boat that IS made for it. It’ll handle better and be dryer too.

I love DIY stuff, but when you start hinting at Class III, you really have to think about the safety side of it too. You might not want a bunch of aluminum and cordage breaking loose and tangling up in everything if you get into trouble with a boat pin or entrapment. If you move forward, I would suggest making the attachment as weak as possible so it all just pops right off if you need it to.

A lot of canoers and C1 guys just use air bags and hand/electric pumps.

So I just purchased a new Liquid Logic Remix XP10 :)!

Here is what I did
My cover is not for heavy water, mostly just rain, paddle drip and intermittent waves, but I have been out on a lake with over 2 ft waves and speared many of them and it shed the water off the front pretty well.


Wood boat, so I just made blocks with holes for pvc pipe to fit into for the supports. The edges are all secured with snaps. I learned to sew on this project. I used nylon material from wally world that is probably too light(the snaps pull out if you are not careful). I sprayed it down with water proof.



This cover was designed to brave the elements on the MR 340 and make the boat easier to push against the wind.



Finished it up…almost makes it look like a kayak eh :)?



I’m still going to complete my canoe’s spray skirt for the occasional wave we encounter on a class II, the material should be arriving in the next few days.

Use ‘Lift on the dot’ snaps and orient the dot in a different direction for each snap. Makes the cover very secure. Using clockface directions, put one dot at 4 and the next dot at 8 etc.