Ultimate Kayak/Canoe Storage

My firm does marina development as a sideline to our main civil engineering work. We are working with a developer who is planning a eco-friendly resort. A boathouse/floating dock system has been proposed for a small creek leading to a larger estuary. The developer would like to provide 50 slots for the storage of a combination of kayaks and canoes. They want the boathouse to be covered, over the water, and user friendly. Cost is not the driving force, practicality is. Does anyone have any suggestions?

I am very interested
I would love to help out with ideas, but I would need to know just slightly more about the landscape.

I would think if it is a creek access, that a long shore-side deck with one or maybe two piers.

What is the atmosphere that this facility is to provide? is it a rustic feel, or a nice clean, modern look? What is the soil like? what are the local indiginus plants? you could use a partical latice structure with Clamatis or morrning glories, maybe trumpet vine.

really I would like to look into this more, I may not be a big help, but I like to work on these types problems. I have many years of construction under my belt, schooling for landscape design (backed up with a few years in the feild as well), and I read about and study green building and alternative power and materials and the like. This deck and boat house really interests me, please send me any information about it, I would love just to input ideas.

Kayak/Canoe Dock Design
If the facility is going to be used primarily by novice paddlers, the dock area must allow paddlers to enter and exit with relative ease. Novice kayakers will take longer to set up foot pegs and back braces and will need an area (or the dock area should be large enough) where they can do so without interferring with others who are ready to get on the water.

The dock are should be wide enough to move 14’-20’ kayaks around; there will usually be more than a few kayaks in transition at a time, those launching and returning from a paddle, and room will be needed for as many kayaks, kayakers, assistants and spectators as might be in the area at any one time.

If the storage areas are above shoulder height, some kind of lift assist mechanizm should be available to help get the boats into their storage racks; high storage places without lift assists will not be used efficiently unless you use 6’8" and above dock hands; racks should be padded.

Kayaks should be stored on their sides and it would be best if they are stored separately rather than piled on top of or leaned against one another.

You will need well ventilated and secure storage for equipment, i.e., paddles, PFDs, spray skirts, pumps and floats, etc, near the launch site.

Water for rinsing after use is essential; better to have several water sources using shorter hoses rather than fewer water sources using a long hoses; long hoses tend to be trip hazzards and are more difficult to handle. Convenient electrical outlets could come in handy.

If customers will bring their own kayaks to launch, a convenient loading/unloading area with access that does not interfere with movement between kayak storage and launch would be helpful.

If someone will be at the dock to assist with retreival and storage and provide general administrative support for the users, they should be located outside but under some shade to protect them from the elements.

The facility should have a ready supply of snack food, drinking water and hats for users who do not remember or think to bring these things.

If the deck area is concrete or other hard abrasive surface, it should be covered with indoor/outdoor carpet to minimize scrapes and dings on the boats; a wooden deck area should be free of protruding metal parts, e.g., screws, nails, metal braces.

The ideal kayak storage/launch would have:

A vertically adjustable work bench that will hold kayaks firmly but allow them to turn on their horizontal axis to facilitate making the inevitable repairs; such a rack should be located out of the way of trafic from storage to launch area; the work area should have storage for the commonly used tools and supplies for making repairs.

And, convenient parking, hot tubs, small bar serving adult beverages and food!

Caution !
Muskrats love boat houses, and they love the high density foam and soft plastics.

I had made some footbraces out of it for my OT Disco and it was in one of my son-in laws boat house. They cleaned it out and just left the glue.

That is one of the reasons that most of the power boats on lakes have lifts.



2 layers of synthetic carpet over
horizontal two by fours you can allow about 28 inches per boat one set of two by’s can go just a hair off the ground or on it if the wood is treated and the ground is concrete. If you want to cater to the elite then just set up two inch straps off the arm of the boat above with side release buckles with ladderlock adjustments. that way one could set the boat on the wooden arms, pull the inner end of the strap under it clip to the outer end then tug the straps so that the boat is held on them not on the arms. I would want such storage for a true racing kayak, wooden arms are fine for tougher boats. A boat house as such makes it so the boats do not have to be lifted otherwise kayak carts on a check out system are nice. A shower (quarter driven if needed) is such a joy to paddlers, as is a outdoor shower on a deck leading to a place with a hard tile floor for changing (we get sandy sometimes) and you don’t want sand in nice shower facilities so an outdoor shower is great.

Over- the- water construction …
is unnecessary and may not be eco-friendly. There’s no need for over-the-water storage with these kinds of boats, and such a design probably would make it more difficult to provide a nice open-space area for prepping boats and gear. Seems to me that by going that route you are adding to the cost of building, materials and maintanance for nothing. Also, I’d suggest you contact your local DNR regarding the effect of various shoreline habitat alterations, if that matters to you. Excessive shading of near-shore areas is sometimes quite detrimental to aquatic life, since that becomes an area devoid of vegetation and no longer suitable habitat for lots of base-of-foodchain critters. Maybe your building is a drop in the bucket if the site is already or will soon be heavily developed, and of course, if the shoreline is already one step short of being a parking lot with a waterhazard, it may be no big deal. But please give this some consideration if the area is relatively undisturbed.