Reader Tip: Onboard Kayak Racks

Interested in cruising with kayaks but don't know where to store them? Check out this custom solution.

March 15, 2013

Kayak rack

Jan Irons

Several people have asked where we got our kayak racks since my kayak article appeared in the December 2012, Cruising World magazine

Unfortunately, at the time we left to go cruising, there were no “buy off the shelf” kayak racks available. My husband, David, and I were having some other stainless-steel parts fabricated, and we asked if it would be possible to make us some custom kayak racks. We love our kayak racks, but unfortunately, the fabricator is no longer in business.

Garhauer Marine has a version of kayak racks, but they’re not the same as what we like so much. We wanted the racks to be a height to fit between the lifelines. We also wanted them to rotate inside and outside the lifelines, so we could carry them inside if we’re going through locks or whatever when they might be in the way outside. Our side decks are narrow, so swinging them outside while at anchor (and now pretty much all the time) allows us the full use of the side deck.


If you’re interested in having some kayak racks fabricated, here are the close-up photos that several people have requested. Please excuse the stainless, I took the photos before I cleaned it. And note that the racks are over 10 years old and have traveled with us from Florida to Cartagena, Colombia, and back and then to the Bahamas/Exumas. So they’ve had a bit of use.

If you know of somewhere other than Garhauer Marine to buy pre-made kayak racks, please leave a comment below and share. I’m surprised at the interest these racks have generated—perhaps I should have them patented!

Kayak rack rotated inside the lifelines.


Kayak rack rotated outside the lifelines, which is where they stay 90 percent of the time.

Another view of the kayak rack rotated flush with the lifelines.

Kayak rack rotated flush between the lifelines. Three rotating positions gives us maximum flexibility. We had them like this when we went to the boatyard and left the kayaks at the marina. We also have them like this when a bad storm’s coming and we lash the kayaks to the deck to reduce windage.


Read more from Jan Irons at, a website especially for part-time cruisers.

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