Who makes spray skirts for Canoes?


I’ve not been very successful in tracking down vendors who make spray skirts for canoes. I’m aware of the full cover models but I am looking to primarily just cover the front third or so of my canoe when going down local class I/II. Can anyone steer me in the right direction?



Cooke Custom Sewing
Dan Cooke has full covers on his website, but will make partials as well. Great company to deal with.


Canoe Spray Skirt
Cooke Custom Sewing. Good Stuff!


I haven’t seen custom covers just for
the front portion of canoes. Maybe someone else has. Cookes Custom Sewing and Northwoods are sources for full covers. Maybe they would do a custom job for you.

I want to express some gentle scepticism about your goal, however. In whitewater, water comes in over the rear quarters as well as in the front.

More significant is the problem if your boat swamps in spite of the partial cover. Water moving in and out could ruin the cover attachments. Dumping the boat may not be easy.

If you want to spend ~$300 on a pump, or are willing to make your own, you will be safer with a partial cover. Or, with the pump, you may not need the cover.

Partial covers
I have a set of partial covers for an older Bell Wildfire Royalex (renamed the Yellowstone Solo – same thing) which was purchased through Bell when I bought that canoe many years ago – the covers were made by Dan Cooke. I’m not sure if Bell still offers partial covers for that boat, but then again I don’t know which boat model you want them for. Spray covers are not generally interchangeable between models. You could call up Dan and ask him if he can make you what you need. He’s a nice guy and does great work.

The aforementioned partial covers Dan made are held in place with 3M Dual Lock fasteners which might be likened to heavy duty Velcro (not really, but that sorta paints the picture). Most of Cooke’s covers are held in place with snaps.

The other source for spray decks that I’m somewhat familiar with is North Water: http://www.northwater.com/html/products/canoeing/spray-decks.html

North Water’s covers are held in place with a zig-zag cord system that seems (to me) more heavy duty and more accommodating of various size loads than either the Dual Lock or the snap systems. I imagine they would do custom work as well.

Of course you could sew your own. I’m not much of a seamster (male of seamstress?) but a spray cover is a fairly straight forward sewing project. Anybody with an old Singer and some very basic sewing skills can do it (which describes me…). I made a set of partial covers a couple of months ago for my MR Guide. It took me a weekend to put together and cost me about $75 or so in materials all together (as I recall). All dimensions were taken directly from my canoe – it was made to fit. If that’s the route you take I can look up my internet sources of supply for the fabric and fasteners for you – e-mail me if you want.

FWIW, I think partial covers work best as wind blockers and debris deflectors (they help to keep the leaves and twigs out of my boat when I bash down very small creeks). I don’t think they’re needed in Class I for spray since there isn’t much. I think they have some limited value as spray deflectors in Class II. But then again I said last time I was out with my home-made covers that if I had shallow arched battens the covers might have done more – so it’s an ongoing experiment for me. …my 2 cents… -RK

Partial covers
Again the Bag Lady (Sue Audette) makes partial covers. By partial I mean spray covers for thwart to stem for both front and rear (lets assume you have a thwart just aft of your seat). The cockpit is open.

Securing is by industrial grade Velcro strips. This arrangement is fine for low grade open water waves with splashover. I think anything that is big waves breaking or your punching through a hole is liable to dump so much water on the cover the velcro parts.

I also have a Dan Cooke full spray cover for another boat with snaps. It seems more secure, though I have not yet tested it.

As Arkay stated, it is not too big a deal to make your own (use packcloth to avoid stretching). But I hate sewing machines so I did not. I have seen fore and aft homebuilt partials with snaps, leaving the cockpit open.

It’s said that a full spray cover makes
a canoe less subject to wind.

But wouldn’t a partial cover cause the stern to be more affected by wind than the bow, leading to weathercocking?

Wind and partial covers
Since the partial covers are directly above my 54” floatation bags & my packs on my Guide there’s virtually no hollow space under the covers for the wind to grab. So, for me there’s no weather cocking caused by the partial covers. Partial covers without the bags or over short air bags might be a different story. –RK

? You’re saying your Guide is full
enough that the cover would make no additional difference?

I inherited a full, snap-on cover for my MR Guide, but have not yet tried it. The Guide mostly hangs in the carport, serving as a nesting station for wrens. Nice boat, though.

My new floating sail, a Millbrook Big Boy, is now about 2/3 full of float bags. I think I’ve noticed a small difference from no bags, but not enough to write home about.

Guide covers
I probably didn’t explain that very well, sorry about that. What I was trying to get across was that the partial covers I made for my Guide are rigged directly over my air & gear bags. So positioned the covers do not produce much of an empty space or cavity under the covers. The space is so negligible that I don’t notice any additional weather cocking from the wind getting under the ends (at amidships) like might be experienced if the partial covers were rigged over an empty canoe or over very short end bags.

I have not seen wind get
under partials either. But only the cockpit on the Shearwater was open between the thwart in front of the paddler to the thwart right in back of the seat.

During these “trials” on Little Tupper Lake (about five miles long by one wide) there was wind and this lake is known for its wind funnelling. The paddler seemed to have no problems with boat control though travel was upwind. Downwind could have been a different story…do not know.

I didn’t have any cover on my boat so its not also known if the partially covered boat would have been faster if covered…This is another of those tests that for practical purposes never get done.

I wasn’t referring to wind getting under
partials, but rather to the possibility that wind will affect an empty, open stern more than an empty, covered bow. But I guess if there were much of an effect, you might have noticed it.

canoe spray deck
I too am having trouble locatig one so I have decided to make mine . I will be using it for the same purposes I will let you know how it goes

spray skirts

– Last Updated: Mar-03-13 4:58 PM EST –

Try this company as I think they may be able to accommodate you regarding your specific needs. Last year, I inquired with the owner as to making a custom configuration for our 18 ft. touring canoe. He assured me that he could, and would make whatever I needed. I will be ordering that cover very soon.