The Full Wiki

Spraydeck: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A spraydeck (or spraycover or sprayskirt) is a flexible cover for a boat, in particular for a kayak or a canoe. It is used in whitewater or inclement weather to prevent water from entering the boat while allowing one or more passengers to sit in the boat and propel the boat by paddling or rowing.

A spraydeck is a sheet made out of water-tight cloth (for example, rubberized or impregnated cloth) sized to fit over the opening, or cockpit, of the canoe or kayak.

A spraydeck has an opening for each passenger. Each opening likewise is encircled by a line or elastic string running in a hollow seam on the edge of the hole. This makes it possible to tighten the spraydeck around the body of the passenger.


Kayak spraydeck

Spraydeck on a kayak.

On a kayak, the spraydeck is secured to a rim surrounding the cockpit with a line or elastic string called a Rand[1]. The line or string runs in a hollow seam along the edge of the spraydeck, and is tied around the rim or stretched over it. It is important that the fastening be as tight as possible to prevent water infiltration and yet capable of quickly being released if the boat should capsize, so that passengers can get out from the capsized boat. A properly sealed spraydeck will allow a kayaker to perform an eskimo roll and continue paddling without having to bail out.

A kayaker's spraydeck is also known as a "sprayskirt", because it is donned like a skirt before entering the boat. "Sprayskirt" is the more common term in the US.


Who should wear a spraydeck?

Any kayaker that doesn't paddle in calm conditions should always wear a spraydeck.

The spraydeck MUST be able to be easily removed[2] during an emergency or a capsize. Sit in your boat and try to remove it by grabbing on to the grab loop on the top of the spraydeck pull forwards then upwards to release. If it is extremely hard to get off, it will even be harder during an emergency situation. You must be comfortable about removing the spraydeck that you choose.


The rand is the edge of the spraydeck which goes around the edge of the cockpit and holds the spraydeck taut in place[3]. The rand can either be a bungee elastic cord with a knot at the back of the spraydeck to adjust the tightness or a one piece rubber or neoprene piece to fit snuggly on the cockpit. The disadvantage of the knot at the back of the cockpit is that type of spraydeck will leak a bit (around the back and around the edges) as it is NOT a watertight seal.


Spraydecks are made from neoprene, nylon or a combination of both materials. The most appropriate material depends on the temperature/time of year and on the type of water being paddled. Whitewater spraydecks are made totally from neoprene, whereas flatwater touring/sea kayak spraydecks may be made from either material.

Steel 100x100.png

1. Neoprene: [4] These spraydecks are snug, tight, thick to keep in the warmth, very tight fitting on the cockpit, can withstand rolling, bracing and high wind and waves. They sometimes get very warm during hot days and the neoprene spraydecks with an adjustable rand will tend to leak a bit. They will keep the paddler very warm during colder conditions and it is the only choice during the cold winter months.

Black kayak nylon spray deck 100x100.png

2. Nylon: [5] Nylon spraydecks are easy to attach, easy to remove, offer adequate seal to keep water out, comfortable, sometimes breathable, sometimes waterproof and are used during warmer conditions. They will either have neoprene for the torso or nylon. Nylon spraydecks should not be used during rough conditions.

Horizon 100x100.png

3. Nylon/Neoprene: [6] This type of spraydeck has a nylon torso with a neoprene base. The neoprene holds tightly to the cockpit while the nylon brings comfort to the paddler. Please keep in mind that this spraydeck will not be totally waterproof and will let some water in when capsized.

4. Other Materials: Whitewater spraydecks often have additional features to ensure the best seal and greatest robustness. Latex may be coated on the underside of the deck to grip the cockpit better and/or a protective material (e.g. Kevlar) added to the surface of the deck to provide abrasion resistance.

Spray skirt tips

  • Always wear the personal flotation device (PFD) (life jacket) over the spraydeck, as the PFD will tighten the spraydeck to give a better seal.
  • When you put your spraydeck on to the kayak, start from the back and work forward... always making sure that the rand is tight on the cockpit. Check again to make sure that there are no openings. MAKE SURE THE FRONT GRAB LOOP IS NOT UNDER THE SPRAY SKIRT[7].
  • If you are unable to pull the grab loop during an emergency situation, you will be in trouble. Attach a little plastic practice golf ball (the ones with all the holes) on to the grab loop as it will help you hold and find the grab loop during an emergency situation.

Canoe spraydeck

On a canoe, the spraydeck is secured to the outside of the hull with string or cords to a webbing specifically installed for this purpose. Modern designs have many features for safety and convenience such as map and paddle pockets, access openings, and tie-down straps.

Like a kayak, a spraydeck will allow a canoer to perform a kayak roll (provided he/she is strapped to the canoe) and continue paddling without having to bail out. But this manoeuvre is more difficult.

On a canoe, it is not only a safety item but may also be used for comfort. During rainy or cold weather, it keeps the lower body of the canoers dry and warm, and prevents rain from building up a puddle at the bottom of the boat.


  1. ^ edge of the spray skirt
  2. ^ Easy to remove in an emergency
  3. ^ edge of the spray skirt
  4. ^ Neoprene spray skirt
  5. ^ nylon spray skirt
  6. ^ Neoprene/nylon spray skirt
  7. ^ kayak spray skirt safety

See also


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address