Mounting An Outboard Motor On A Kayak

Setting up a kayak with an outboard motor is fun and a challenge.

Mounting An Outboard Motor On A Kayak

Here are photos of my current project.  I’d be interested in photo’s of your kayak and motor set up and will put them on a page in this website.

It is possible to make up a transom bracket over the stern of a kayak but it is pretty much impossible to start an outboard motor mounted there. It is also possible to rig up steering, throttle and off switch but it is a lot of complicated work. Battery outboards are easier in that they can be started simply by switching on so easier to operate remotely than petrol outboards.

The easy way to mount an outboard motor on a kayak

The Hunter

I just put this in here because I thought it was an interesting situation. Nothing to do with putting a motor on your kayak – although who would argue that a motor might be very useful right about now.

It is easier to stick a transom bracket out the side just behind your seat so you can still paddle. Starting the outboard situated just behind one’s right shoulder is a bit tricky but doable. I am going to try turning the outboards engine to 90 degrees to the prop for my next trip. It is easy to do this – just look under the engine. It is held to the top of the leg by four equi spaced cup head bolts so undo these, rotate the motor making sure the throttle still works. Then bolt it back in place. That’s it apart from any adjusting of the throttle.

By doing this the starting handle faces inwards and it remains to be seen if it is easier to start the engine with it mounted sideways to the length of the hull. That’s called “athwartships” in nautical terms – i.e. sideways to the length of the hull.

Tip: While the engine is loose lift it and spray some CRC around under the engine, outside clutch and down around the bearing under it. This is just a corrosion preventative thing and may as well be done while you have the opportunity.

Making a transom bracket for a kakak

My plan was to:

1 – securely mount a transom bracket for my 1.5 hp outboard motor and
2 – have the ability to add or remove a pole to mount outriggers on the kayak.

My first attempt worked well but I was holding the kayak transom bracket in place with a motorcycle tie down that went down and around the hull. I was, for a year or so, reluctant to drill holes in my kayak but I’ve done that now and this is the result….

kayak motor transom

Looking towards the stern of the kayak.

Mounting An Outboard Motor On A Kayak

Looking towards the bow of the kayak. There is room for the outboard between the transom bracket and the outrigger pole.

kayak outrigger-mount-transom bracket for outboard motor

The outrigger pole slides in through the brackets that stabilise the transom. The pole is not complete yet and will soon have a locking clamp to prevent the pole sliding back and forth but still allow it to rotate as the pontoons move on the water.

transom-bracket kayak motor mount

The brackets are made of 30 x 3 flat bar aluminium.

The rivets are 4.8mm diameter and quite long as short rivets pull through the kayaks plastic hull. The rivets need some extra length to swell up and twist when they are squeezed tight against the inside of the hull. If I had been able to get my hand inside the kayak’s hull I would have put a stainless washer around the rivet so the rivet could expand and clamp the rivet tight against the hull. However without washers the longer rivets seem to do the job.

transom-bracket-motor mount kayak

Stainless steel 50 x 6 mm bolt with nyloc nut

The transom bracket is now permanently attached to the kayak.

Tip: Buy a quality sealer and smear it on the underside of the aluminum bracket with an extra dollop of it around each hole. This will prevent water from getting between the aluminium and the plastic, stop water seeping in around the hole in the hull and pretty much stop any corrosion around the rivet. This is a messy job and I went through a few rags and some turps to clean myself and kayak up. If you are putting an outboard motor on a kayak it may as well be done well. If things go wrong the kayak is likely to be abandoned out the back of your garage where it will gather moss. That will be the end of your kayaking adventures.

Outrigger Pontoons For Kayak

This is what I am planning to use – 100mm drain pipe. I am using a 500mm long length of pipe but longer might better. I’ll see how this goes. Longer pontoons may make it harder to turn the kayak.

kayak outrigger-pontoon-parts

100mm drain pipe. Each pontoon is approx 50 cm long. You might like to try longer but I will report back on how these handle

I have not made the pontoons for this yet but this is what I am going to use.. I am not that happy that the bracket on the pontoon will be robust enough so I will think about that a little more before I finally put it together. The aluminium flat bar is 5 mm thick x 25mm wide. I will be using stainless bolts.[boxright]See the kayak outboard motor for sale here.   [/boxright]

I am also wondering if the pontoons will float lying on their sides as far as any swivelling in the mount will allow. I may have to redesign the pontoon mount !


The transom bracket is too thin as the clamps are tightened to their max so will add a thin timber packer between the transom and clamps to fatten it up a bit. Probably 75 x 25 timber will do.

Mounting An Outboard Motor On A Kayak

I usually put piece of closed cell foam under the seat for comfort and insulation.

Mounting An Outboard Motor On A Kayak

Don’t change the tiller to the inside side of the shaft – if you do it stops against your chest on hard right turns! With the motor to one side of center as shown here, turning left is easy but turning right is bit like turning an oil tanker – it’s slow and takes room to come around.

That’s it. The first of a kind usually means some improvements can be discovered after a little use but mounting an outboard motor on a kayak is not too difficult if you think it through and put the time into getting it right.

It is all go… the pontoons are made and work.

See it here.. CLICK HERE..

Here is a customer’s blog on the subject – click HERE



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