How to Mount a Trolling Motor to a Kayak

How To Mount A Trolling Motor

At some point, you may find yourself tired of simply paddling. Mounting a trolling motor will not only help you explore the waters at faster speeds, but it will also allow you to enjoy a new dimension of kayaking.

To install a trolling motor on your kayak, you need a mount. There are, in essence, two types of trolling motor mounts: off-the-shelf kits, and homemade mounting kits. In this post, we will look at both types to help you decide on one.

You can also check out our buying guide on the best trolling motors for kayaks in 2020.

Using an Off-the-Shelf Kit

With a trolling motor mount, you can attach a motor to your kayak without spending a lot of time or effort. Although off-the-shelf mounts tend to be more expensive than homemade mounts, they typically look great on a kayak and offer a lot in terms of durability and maneuverability.

If the trolling motor is attached correctly, steering the boat can be incredibly easy. Before buying a trolling motor mounting kit, it may be a good idea to take note of some crucial buying considerations:

Shock Absorption

If the mount has difficulty absorbing the vibration of the motor, your kayak may have trouble running smoothly. This is especially important if you are installing a powerful engine.

Construction Materials

If the construction materials in the mount are rust-resistant and water-resistant, you can rest assured that your motor mounting will last longer without running into severe technical issues.

Easy Installation

Most mounting kit sellers don’t offer complimentary installation services, which means that you will, in all likelihood, install the motor mounting yourself. Thus, if you don’t have a lot of DIY skills, it is essential that you select a mounting kit that is easy to install.

Kayak Compatibility

A vital feature of the trolling motor mounting kit you choose is that it should be completely compatible with your kayak. A mounting kit that is incompatible with your craft can result in unnecessary costs to change the dimensions or critical components to ensure a perfect fit.

Slight deviations in terms of incompatibility can also influence the performance of your trolling motor. To ensure complete compatibility with your kayak, consult extensively with the seller and try to find online reviews to discover whether other users were able to use the mounting kit successfully with their boats.

Homemade Mounting Kits

Building a homemade mounting kit comes down to using the existing components and features of your kayak. For example, rod holders are perfect for housing mounting poles. A rear storage compartment may be large enough to accommodate an onboard power source like a 12-Volt deep cycle marine battery. If you are an avid DIY enthusiast with the ability to do some creative thinking, chances are that you will not have any difficulty coming up with an innovative mounting solution.

The same requirements for off-the-shelf kits apply when you build a mounting kit yourself, however. The mounting should be able to absorb the vibrations from the motor, the materials should be durable, and you have to make sure that the mounting is compatible with the kayak.

If you have difficulty with constructing or installing the mounting, it may be worth your while to pay a visit to your local mechanic and asking them for help, especially if you don’t have the necessary tools to complete the job.

Since kayaks are not specifically designed to be propelled by an electric motor, there are some safety considerations that you should keep in mind.

Safety Considerations

If you have motorized kayak, never allow children or unaccountable people to operate the electric outboard motor. You should also take steps to ensure that the watercraft is inaccessible to them when you are not around.

Do not modify the motor itself or add accessories that are incompatible with the motor, as this can result in damage or injury. Also, refrain from submerging the entire unit underwater. If the kayak capsizes, disconnect the battery and leave it out to dry.

To prevent damage to the fiberglass shaft of the motor, never overtighten the mounting bracket. To prolong the lifespan of the motor, only use it in temperatures between -4°F and 113°F.

Any person that operates the motorized kayak should wear a personal floatation device (PFD) to keep their head above the water if they fall off. Some life jackets can even keep them warm if they are in cold water for long periods of time.

Learning how to mount a trolling motor does take some time and effort, but you may find it’s worth it for the greater distances your kayak can travel. Enjoy exploring new distances without first exhausting your arms!