Lots of kayakers like to take their dogs along in their inflatable kayak. Most of the better brands can handle the dog’s toenails, as we have addressed in previous articles, but there are some considerations as to where and how the dog might like to ride along. One of our very creative customers, Jim Jones, has taken his dog’s preferences into consideration when building a “doggie deck” for his Sea Eagle 300x Explorer kayak.
We’ll let Jim explain it to you in his own words, including his construction directions …
“Like many people I enjoy taking my dog with me when I go kayaking. My dog, “Bailey”, loves the water. He loves to swim and to ride in the kayak. His preferential spot on the boat is up front of where the two inflatable side sections come together. This provides him a commanding view (and keeps him out of the way of any paddle strokes). There is a soft canvas deck joining the two sides. It is designed for dry sack storage. This is made from a high quality fabric which can easily withstand any damage caused by his toenails. However, in rough water, rapids or surf it is unstable making it very difficult for him to stand and balance. Solution: A Doggie Deck.”
“Doggie Deck” Construction/Directions: (Note: All materials are readily available at Home Depot or a similar type store)
1. Cut a 1/4” piece of paneling to the shape of front section of the boat. I chose the 1/4” piece to keep it lightweight. Even though the 1/4” is somewhat pliable, it will be strengthened when the rubber decking is attached.
2. Waterproof paneling with several coats of high quality varnish.
3. Attach rings. (See Picture 1 Below.) The screws that come with the pictured rings are somewhat longer than 1/4” and will have to be nipped off in the back to prevent puncturing your boat.
4. Cut rubberized top surface. (See Picture 2 Below) Home Depot has several products to choose from, such as rubberized door mats, rubberized table covers for workshops, etc. … I chose a rubberized interlocking (looks like a giant jigsaw puzzle) mat that can go down in a child’s playroom. The material is sturdy and the set comes in a variety of colors.
5. Attach rubber mat to board. (See Picture 3 Below) I used 3M Paper and Vinyl Spray Cement. I have now used the deck on lakes, rivers, and in the ocean. So far this cement has worked flawlessly.
6. To attach the deck to the boat (See Picture 4 Below) I have tried several products. I have found a rubberized tie called “Gear Ties” work best. They are waterproof, easy to fasten and unfasten and are easy to cinch down. (Note: Ties are not shown in picture).
7. Next add dog, add water, have fun.
Another advantage to the ‘doggie deck’ is that it gives Jim a firm mounting base that can be used to attach his GoPro camera to the front of the deck. (Click here to see the GoPro Jaws Clamp Mount that Jim uses. It’s available on Amazon.com.)
Jim says that “The GoPro is positioned on the front of the deck, so it is out of Baileys way.” “Although, I have several movies going down rivers with an occasional panting dog tongue moving across the top of the screen.”
Jim also owns a Sea Eagle Fast Track 385ft and is in the process of building a deck for that kayak as well. As the shape of the nose is different on the 2 boats, the decks are not interchangeable.
You can see that Bailey loves the deck. Jim mentioned that when paddling with friends, whenever their kayaks get close, Bailey often jumps from boat to boat, but he really prefers to ride majestically on the firm platform that the deck provides.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to build your own deck for whatever brand of kayak you own. Thanks to Jim Jones for the pictures and the creativity!