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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for KayaArm

Aug 17 2016

Q1. How do you mount KayaArm onto a metal dock?

A1. See item 4 at http://kayaarm.com/documentation/assembly-instructions/



Q2. . How do you mount KayaArm onto a plastic dock?

A2. A simple way is to firmly mount a 2×8 piece of wood (say 2 or more feet long) directly onto the side of the plastic dock….use any brackets that usually come with plastic docks. E.g. the EZ Dock bracket(s) shown below. Then just screw KayaArm into the 2×8 as shown at
http://kayaarm.com/documentation/assembly-instructions/. Note figures 1 & 2.

Deadweight Bracket (Heavy Duty) for EZ Dock
Add a deadweight insert to our heavy-duty pipe bracket to anchor docks in deep water or over rocky bottoms. Part #: 210350, 100725P



Q3. What size deck screws do you recommend for fastening KayaArm onto a wood dock?

A3. Typically I use four to six 2” to 2.5” deck screws including 2 to 4 in the angle and very importantly 2 in the flange holes below the angle. If you are attaching KayaArm to a 1.5” thick piece of 2×8 that has been fastened to a metal or plastic dock, you may need to use only 1.5” deck screws to avoid having the screws bottom out against the metal or plastic.

An important feature of KayaArm

An important feature of KayaArm is that because the arm and shoe are tethered by the chain to the top of the mast they can be slid out the top of the mast and placed onto the dock or left to hang in the water beside the dock thus enabling that dock space to be used for other purposes.



Q4. What materials are used to manufacture KayaArm? Will it stand up to salt water?

A4. To enable KayaArm use in salt water we use stainless steel bolts, galvanized chain and a consultant informed me that the 6061 aluminum alloy, which the bulk of the device is made from, has good salt water resistance and should be good for many years in salt water use. I have shipped many KayaArms to the east, west and south coasts of North America and one to Australia.

Feedback on the subject of KayaArm in salt water:

2015 April from man from Florida re KayaArm purchased in 2013:

In response to my query “how is KayaArm standing up to use in salt water?”

Hello Ralph, thank you for your follow up. The KayaArm is doing fine. As expected I do have growth on the portion of the frame that is below the tide line but not an issue. No indication of corrosion; just covered with barnacles. I didn’t paint it with anti-fouling paint but might do that this summer. I am very happy with it and certainly feel free to share my email to interested customers.



Q5. After launching a kayak using KayaArm how do you deal with a tide level change (which requires an arm height adjustment) upon return a couple hours later?  


A5-1. My reply: I launched my kayak using KayaArm on my dock, then returned to the dock and proceeded to do the following:

    • I came back alongside (not onto) the KayaArm arm.
    • From my position in my kayak I reached out, gripped the arm and raised the arm/shoe assembly enough (in the track on the post) so that I could move the kayak under it to a location beside the KayaArm post. (Hint: it may be easier to lift the arm if you put a little petroleum jelly (Vaseline) on the sliding shoe of the arm)
    • From that location I was able to reach the chain and chain slot for adjustment of the chain length that, when extended, would provide the desired arm height. (Hint: before launching as a reference point mark the chain link in the slot used for launching)
    • While still gripping the arm I pushed the kayak out from under the arm and lowered the arm to where the chain was fully extended.
    • If needed I would repeat the chain length adjustment more than once to get it right.
    • Then I paddled the kayak onto the arm and disembarked as usual. 

The difficulty with this procedure is that with a large tidal change it may not be possible to reach the chain slot for making the arm height adjustment. Thus see the following A5-2.

A5-2. Thanks to a suggestion including sketches from Julie in NC we now have the “Tide Pulley”. The Tide Pulley, when affixed to one of the attachment holes at the upper end of the KayaArm mast, enables height adjustment of the KayaArm arm that may be needed due to tide level changes upon return from a kayaking excursion. The arrangement consists of attaching the Tide Pulley assembly, replacing the chain with a rope and for tying off the rope adding a cleat at a location that is reachable from the returning kayaker in their kayak. For more information go to http://kayaarm.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/TidePulleyusewithKayaArmonfixeddockinTidalWaters.docx.pdf.




Q6. Can KayaArm be used on a fixed dock that is 3 ft. or more above the water level?

A6. KayaArm mounted on to the top of a dock is functional to a water level about 30” below the top of the dock. For water levels below that you may attach the KayaArm to the side of a ladder with two bolts (not provided) through holes provided in the mast or you may mount KayaArm on to a wood block beside the ladder (see photo above). For more information go to item 3 at http://kayaarm.com/documentation/assembly-instructions/ .





Q7. Wouldn’t two KayaArms provide more stability than one KayaArm?

A7. No. If you tried to use two KayaArms you would get hung up at launch and not be able to slide off the arms. For information on how KayaArm is used see videos at See Suggested Operating Instructions at item 7 at http://kayaarm.com/documentation/assembly-instructions/. For added stability the “Added Rope Feature” below is an excellent addition:


Visible in the photo below is a “cleat” (a golf ball I drilled through and fastener to the dock with a deck screw) for looping the rope loop over during kayak entry/exit. The cleat is also useful as a grip for sliding over the arm.


Added Rope Feature: The addition of a rope for added stability using KayaArm

Christopher Maher of WATERFRONT LODGE CAMP MI-WOK athttp://www.adkbyowner.com/listings/VR8019.html has come up with a great idea which will be helpful for some by adding some extra stability to kayak entry/exit using KayaArm. It consists of adding a rope from the kayak seat mount to a dock cleat to keep the kayak from sliding back on the KayaArm arm during entry/exit maneuvers. See his videos at the following links:

How to use KayaArm with the Pungo 120 kayak

How to use KayaArm with the Field and Stream angling kayak

Christopher said “It worked for most folks who visit our camp without the rope, but for some folks the added stabilization with the rope was key. I love your product; it is easy, effective, and so small”.




Q8. Can the KayaArm be used for entry/exit of a canoe?


A8. Yes, for one person paddling/entering a canoe—the operating procedure is the same as for a kayak.

No, for two or more people paddling/entering a canoe. The second person entering the canoe would cause the canoe to hang up on the KayaArm arm. Additionally, when there are two or more people entering/exiting a canoe there is always one person available to stabilize the canoe while another enters or exits.



Q9. Have you had any failures of the protruding arm which cradles the kayak, from the stress put on it loading and unloading? 

A9.From the Suggested Operating Instructions, see Item 7 at http://kayaarm.com/documentation/assembly-instructions/ you can see that the arm supports only a portion of the kayaker’s weight. We did have some failures on the initial batch but they were all replaced with a sturdier design. Since then to provide for a larger design safety factor we have beefed the arm up even more.


Q10. Does the KayaArm work with wide sit on top kayaks?

A10. Yes KayaArm works with a sit on top equally as well as with a sit in kayak.

Regarding kayak width: One of my customers reported he gets good kayak entry/exit stability using KayaArm on his 33” wide Hobie Outback.

Another customer uses 29” wide Pongo kayaks and other wide fishing kayaks at his resort where he came up with the added rope feature…see the added rope feature including   videos at http://kayaarm.com/blog/  .


Q11. Would an overhead horizontal arm attached to the mast at a height of about 0.8 to 1.2 meters be an improvement? That would seem to be a convenient addition to the Kaya Arm for one to hold onto while getting in or out of a kayak.

A11. I have installed and personally tested a horizontal arm such as you have described. Instead of being a help my conclusion is that it is actually a hindrance. As noted and hi-lighted in the Suggested Operating Instructions while maneuvering in your kayak it is best to not grip the dock or the mast (or any horizontal bar fastened to the mast) until standing and ready to step out, or crawl out if you are doing that procedure. The technical reason is that static friction between the bottom of the kayak and the KayaArm arm provides much greater stability than dynamic friction. By pushing, pulling or bracing on any fixed objects outside the kayak you cause the kayak to slide on the arm which changes the frictional contact from static friction to dynamic friction. This friction thing is also the reason that the “Added Rope Feature” (described in A7) is very effective in increasing stability as it prevents the kayak from sliding on the arm.


Q12. With KayaArm installed on a relatively small floating dock the arm height adjustment is affected by the kayaker’s weight and by by-standers on the dock. What procedure do you recommend for arm height adjustment on a floating dock?

A12. Regarding floating docks—especially relatively small ones—less important for bigger floating docks—during the entry/exit procedure it is best there is no other person on the dock as this affects the height of the arm relative to the water level. Then with only the kayaker on the dock he/she can sort out the proper height for the arm. With others on the dock you can get into an unpredictable height situation which doesn’t work well.


Q13.: Should I cover the KayaArm arm for boat protection?

A13: Covering the KayaArm arm if you think it is needed for boat protection, e.g. against aluminum marking of the kayak hull (in my opinion not needed for any other reason in the case of polyethylene kayaks):

  • The two wings of the V-shaped arm can be covered with black polyethylene water pipe:
    • Obtain two pieces of cheap (thin walled) about 1” diameter poly pipe about 11” long
    • Slit and place the two pieces of poly pipe over the wings of the arm
    • An alternative to poly pipe is to use foam polyurethane pipe insulation….I know a KayaArm customer uses this with a conventional kayak
  • I should note that by adding a poly covering on the aluminum arm makes the arm more slippery, i.e. lower static friction and thus some reduction in stabilization. This loss can be compensated for by using the Added Rope Feature as described in A7 of the FAQs…..which is a good idea with or without the poly on the arm.
  • A polyurethane foam covering increases friction and stability but makes it harder to slide on and off the arm.

Q14:  Do you offer money back guarantee if the KayaArm doesn’t work out for us? Do you have a return policy?

A14: Just simply return KayaArm (or KayaLeg or Tide Pulley) at your expense, including any brokerage fees, within about 30 days (longer if you need more time to get it installed…e.g. need to wait till ice is out) and I will refund the amount you paid for the product.


Q15: I am interested in your KayaArm apparatus for storing my 110 lb rowboat on the side of my floating home dock, so that it can be out of the water. The rowboat is 13.5 ft. long and 45 inches wide. Will two KayaArms hold my rowboat? Note, I do not need the KayaArms to assist me in getting into the boat – just for dockside storage.

A15: I think you probably can make that work, i.e. two KayaArms for dock storage of your 13.5 ft 110 lb rowboat. I draw your attention to the procedure at http://kayaarm.com/documentation/dock-storage/ for raising the boat one end at a time and for the somewhat greater boat weight compared to a kayak you should likely expect to raise the boat in more than one alternating lift at each end. Also you may want to adjust the KayaArms to more than 5 ft apa