Everything You Need to Know About Building a Homemade Kayak Launch

Kayaks are great for fishing and going on memorable adventures on the river. But it can be burdensome to get the watercraft in and out of the water, especially if you have to do so every time you use your kayak. If you live close to a small pond or a river, you might want to consider a kayak launch to enjoy your water activities. While you can always buy a kayak launcher, some people may choose the DIY route, so we teach you how to build a homemade kayak launch.

how to build a homemade kayak launch

How to Build a Homemade Kayak Launch: What is a Kayak Launch?

A kayak launch is a term used to describe where a kayak is tied and launched. Since the kayak is tied, you don’t have to worry about it drifting off.

To create a homemade kayak launch you will need some accessories and tools. You can make a kayak launch by yourself if you have all the tools ready.

How to Build a Homemade Kayak Launch: Tools You Will Need

  • Tide tables
  • Boat rollers
  • Tools
  • Pressure-treated wood

How to Build a Homemade Kayak Launch

Note that even though you are going to build a homemade kayak launch, it doesn’t mean you should simply leave your kayak in the water. Leaving your watercraft tied in the water for a long time can lead to marine growth.

Step 1: Survey the Homemade Kayak Launch Site

Before you set out to create a kayak launch, you need to survey the sites. It is important to choose a suitable site. Start by finding out how deep the shore is. If you already have a structure close to the site, such as a boat dock, you can choose to install and fasten your homemade kayak to it.

Another factor to consider is the body of water you intend to place your homemade kayak launch. Different water bodies have unique tides, currents, and characteristics. Certain bodies of water, like rivers, can be prone to strong currents. On the other hand, lakes tend to be calmer.

You’ll also need to factor in the weather conditions of your area, especially if it is prone to flooding and rain.

Step 2: Select the Appropriate Materials

Apart from properly surveying the site, you need to ensure you have the appropriate materials to create a stable and durable kayak launch.

Firstly, if you are making your homemade kayak launch from wood, you will have to get water-resistant wood instead of untreated wood. Get metal bolts and nuts that are not prone to rust or corrosion. Keep in mind that these metals will be in contact with water for extended periods, so they mustn’t be susceptible to water damages.

Step 3: Preparing the Site of the Homemade Kayak

Next, you’ll want to prepare the site before you start to build your homemade kayak launch. Preparing the site makes it a lot easier to install your homemade kayak launch and can also be advantageous if you are connecting your homemade kayak to an already-existing dock.

To do this, you can pre-install the required loops and pegs, ensuring that regardless of how strong the current is, your kayak launch will remain intact, especially if it is a floating dock.

how to build a homemade kayak launch
Source: Pexels

Step 4: Creating the Homemade Kayak Launch

First, take the water-treated wood (preferably pressure-treated) and construct an outer frame using 2 x 8 boards. To support the outer frame, you can add 2 x 8 slants to it.

Next, create two 32-inch wide decks on either side of your center cradle. To do this, you need 2 x 6 boards wide enough for people to stand on. Depending on your preference, you might want to leave a space for handholds to ensure that, when you step onto the kayak launch, it doesn’t begin to tip.

Get 8-inch rubber boat rollers for the center cradle. They will be bolted to the 2 x 4 supports using hex bolts and locknuts. The purpose of the rubber boat rollers is to make it easier for your kayak to roll up from or down into the water.

Once that is done, take 2 x 10 boards and make them into a V-shape. They should be screwed together in a way that ensures they angle inwards right at the top of the frame. The V-shape will stabilize the kayak’s stern or bow when you dock it.

The last step involves placing 2 5/8-inch dock eyes at the launch pad of the kayak. They should be tied off and readjusted in line with the changing water conditions and levels. Doing this will ensure that any kayaker can simply use the handholds to pull themselves out and into the water without worrying about falls and slips.

Bottom Line

Making a homemade kayak launch is a lot easier than many people might think. There are various ways you can construct your homemade kayak launch. Various designs use a stand-assist pole, where a metal handhold straddles the kayak launcher, allowing kayakers to easily get in and out of the water.

Other designs use a more mobile kayak launcher with wheels. This design is great for those who have a water site with current appropriate launching sites. If the shoreline gradient is affected by the current at certain times of the day, you might want a homemade kayak launcher you can move around to more suitable locations.

One thing to note when creating your homemade kayak launcher is that you need to use materials designed for use in the water.

All the nuts, bolts and pieces of cut wood need to be perfectly suited to handle long periods in the water.

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