To enable KayaArm use in salt water we use stainless steel bolts, galvanized chain and a 6061-aluminum alloy for the bulk of the device. The aluminum alloy has good saltwater resistance and should be good for many years in both fresh and salt water.
Feedback on KayaArm purchased in 2013 in salt water:
Hello, 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, I am very happy with it and certainly feel free to share my email to interested customers.
Everyone has different strength levels so this will vary per user. To make lifting your kayak with the KayaArms easier we have three main recommendations.
It is important to minimize friction by installing the KayaArm plumb and level using the shims and procedure provided in the installation instructions and video.
It is beneficial to apply waterproof grease on the shoe, so it slides freely in the channel.
A jig for lifting the chain can easily be made to allow you to use both hands to lift from a neutral position (not bent over) and is described in the videos below. Although it is still a manual lift, lifting from a neutral position with two hands will make it easier.
Below is a video of how a customer uses a jig to lift her Hobie Eclipse Pedal Board with two KayaArms.
2. How much weight does the KayaArm hold? webbie2021-02-12T14:24:09+00:00
The arm supports only a portion of the kayaker’s weight during entry and exit and the buoyancy of the kayak in the water supports the bulk of the weight. As a result, the kayaker’s weight is not a concern. A video showing the KayaArms strength can be seen below
3. How do you mount KayaArm onto a fixed/floating/metal/plastic dock?webbie2021-02-12T14:24:03+00:00
We use four to six 2” to 2.5” deck screws with 2 in the flange holes below the angle and 2 to 4 in the angle itself.
If you are attaching the KayaArm to a 1.5” thick piece of 2×6 that has been fastened to a metal or plastic dock, you may only need 1.5” deck screws to avoid having the screws bottom out against the metal or plastic.
14. Can the arm be removed from the mast?webbie2021-02-12T14:13:24+00:00
An important feature of KayaArm is that the KayaArm and shoe assembly can be lifted out of the mast. The arm and shoe are tethered by the chain to the top of the mast so 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.
15. 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?webbie2021-02-12T14:13:33+00:00
A “Tide Pulley” can be used to solve this problem. When affixed to one of the attachment holes at the upper end of the KayaArm mast, the Tide Pulley enables height adjustment of the KayaArm arm that may be needed due to tide level changes upon return from a kayaking excursion.
A video demonstration of the Tide Pulley can be found below.
Figure 1 Close-up of the Tide Pulley on the KayaArm
7. What is the maximum height above the water the KayaArm can be used?webbie2021-02-12T14:21:53+00:00
Yes – but there is a specific paddler order entry for this to work, a video showing how to do this can be found here
The person in the front should be the first person to enter and the last person to exit the canoe.
Hoisting & Storing of a Canoe
Although the KayaArm was designed for a Kayak it is possible to use two KayaArms for hoisting & storage of a canoe and it is important to get the set up right. Everyone has different levels of balance and strength and willingness to experiment when installing a set up for a canoe to get something that works for their specific canoe and we have made the video posted below so you can see what we have done and judge whether this solution works for you.
A canoe is wider than a kayak and you may need to mount the KayaArms out from the dock using 2X8 blocking as the middle of the canoe may interfere with the dock – you can see there is a little interference on the video when our canoe is lowered – not a big deal for our canoe but may be a consideration for wider & shorter canoes.
It is very critical for the mast to be well supported by your dock and installed plumb & level. You will note in the KayaArm installation video that there are two points of contact between your dock and the KayaArm mast, the mounting angle is the upper mount and the horizontal screws 4″ below the angle (shown at the 42 second mark of the installation video) is the lower mount. For heavier canoes moving the lower support as low as you can will allow your dock to support the KayaArm better and reduce the friction when hoisting. It is also very important to make sure the KayaArms are installed plumb and level and well secured and supported by your dock.
To reduce friction when hoisting a canoe it is beneficial to apply a marine grease on the back of the shoe, so it slides freely in the channel. Initially during set up we suggest a couple of drops of regular (or synthetic) motor oil in the top of each channel allowing the oil to flow by gravity into the channel and a small bead of oil on the top of the shoe as you pull it up the must . The intent is to apply a very light coat on the mast surfaces (any excess should be wiped up and not allowed into the environment) allowing it to work into the dry surfaces first while the arm is unloaded and then while loaded with the canoe followed by a light coat of marine grease.
A jig for lifting the chain can easily be made to allow you to use both hands to lift from a neutral position (not bent over) and is described in the video below. Although it is still a manual lift, lifting from a neutral position with two hands will make it easier. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wA3R3RylY_U&t=1s
We have had several customers report great success and satisfaction with the KayaArm solution for hoisting and storing their canoe. For some it may take some perseverance and experimentation to get the set up right and learn the technique to flip your canoe.
Below is a video demonstrating how the KayaArm system can be used for a canoe.
5. Does the KayaArm work with wide kayaks, sit on top kayaks or heavier pedal & wider fishing kayaks?webbie2021-06-24T16:25:38+00:00
Yes, the KayaArm works with a sit on top equally as well as with a sit in kayak.
Several of our customers have reported they obtain good kayak entry/exit stability using the KayaArm on a 33” wide Hobie Outback.
Another customer uses 29” wide Pongo kayaks and other wide fishing kayaks at his resort
Pedal & Wider Fishing Kayaks:
We have tested the KayaArm with both the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 (132.5 Lbs, 36″ wide, 12 feet long) and the Wilderness Systems ATAK 120 (86 lbs, 35″ wide, 12-3″) attached are the videos and special considerations for installation
132.5 lb, 36″ wide Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12
View these videos:
86 Lb, 35″ wide Wilderness Systems ATAK 120
View these videos:
17. Would an overhead horizontal arm attached to the mast be an improvement? That way someone could hold onto it while getting in or out of a kayak.webbie2021-02-12T14:13:49+00:00
In short, no. Entering and exiting the kayak by pushing straight down “locks” the kayak into place on the KayaArm.
We have installed and personally tested a horizontal arm design but instead of helping it is actually a hindrance. As noted 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 exit.
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 Featureis very effective in increasing stability as it prevents the kayak from sliding on the arm.
18. Can I lock my kayak onto the KayaArms?webbie2021-03-31T14:42:14+00:00
Just simply return KayaArm (or KayaLeg or Tide Pulley) in it saleable condition with all the parts in the original packaging 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 we will refund the amount you paid for the product.
6. Can the KayaArm Be extended for wider kayaks?webbie2021-02-12T14:23:41+00:00
Yes (Although it is rarely required since kayaks of up to 34″ have been used with the KayaArm without issue). The KayaArm can be extended by attaching a short piece of 1.5″ polyethylene pipe. The 1.5″ polyethylene pipe is cut to ~8″ and it is slit from one end ~5″. A stainless-steel gear clamp holds the pipe on to the arm. Below is a photo of the modification.
Click to enlarge
8. Can the KayaArm be made longer for docks more than 30″ above the water?webbie2022-08-24T14:10:39+00:00
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 the KayaArm onto a wood block beside a ladder. For more information go to item 3a in the Additional Mounting and Use Instructions
One option is to build/install a small step down platform from the main dock by mounting two 2″x8″s spanning two piers – one 2″x8″ to the front of the piers, and one to the back. Deck the space in between the two to give a small step down dock to mount the KayaArm(s) to. See the following diagram:
The Mast itself can be modified to accommodate up to 4′ above the water level. The below video details how to do this
For heights greater than 42″ see FAQ #9
9. Can the KayaArm be used in applications where the top of the dock to the top of the water is greater than 42″?webbie2022-08-24T14:11:46+00:00
Yes it is possible however this is a more advanced installation requiring careful planning and precise installation. In this case two KayaArm masts are spliced together and additional support is required at the lower part of the mast and it is imperative that the masts are installed plumb in all directions. In typical installations many customers attach a second stringer between two piers parallel to the dock stringer (to provide the support at the lower part of the mast) and install a 4″x4″ post plumb in all directions to splice the two masts together. Please contact us a info@KayaArm.com for special order instructions.
This picture shows a typical installation (Ladder has been omitted). The customer installed 2 intermediate stringers between the dock piers and two vertical 4″x4″ to splice the two masts together. In this installation a second mast was purchased and cut in half and the resulting mast lengths are 6′.
This picture shows how the KayaArm masts can be spliced to accommodate installation where the distance from the top of the dock to the low tide level is greater than 42″
This picture shows a typical installation (Ladder has been shown). The customer installed two vertical 4″x4″ to splice the two masts together. In this installation a second mast was purchased and cut in half and the resulting mast lengths are 6′.
10. How can I add even more stability to my KayaArm?webbie2021-02-12T14:12:46+00:00
For customers who are looking for extra stability we recommend the “Added Rope Feature”. 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. The video below gives a demonstration of this technique.
Yes. We have multiple customers who use one KayaArm to stabilize getting in and out of their boards or two KayaArms for lifting and storing their boards at the dock. The first two videos show one of our customers using the KayaArm for entry and exit of her Hobie Eclipse Pedalboard as well as raising it at the dock with a jig. The third video demonstrates how to use the KayaArm for a stand-up Paddleboard.
Can the KayaArm be used for entry/exit of a canoe?webbie2021-02-26T18:51:11+00:00
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.
How to mount KayaArm onto a plastic dockwebbie2020-08-31T16:30:31+00:00
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 brackets). Then just screw the KayaArm into the 2×8 as shown in the “KayaArm Assembly Instructions” Note figures 1 & 2.
Mounting onto a Candock? We recommend using their “Post Type Handrail” (#B0077, SKU: RL 146) or “Engine Support” (SKU: RL 33) to mount your KayaArm to the dock.
If you are using the Engine Support, we recommend mounting a board (perhaps a 2×6) to the top of it so the KayaArm can be properly mounted and installed.
The diagram below explains the post handrail installation. (click to enlarge or print)
How to mount KayaArm onto any metal dock:webbie2021-07-29T14:40:49+00:00
The KayaArm can be installed on a metal dock. Attached are a few examples of how:
To mount KayaArm onto any metal dock all that is needed is to first bolt a short piece (at least 2 ft. long) of 2″x8″ (or 2”x6”) onto the side metal beam of the dock. Attach the 2×8 such that its top edge is flush with the top of the dock (or a little above the dock). Then mount KayaArm onto the 2×8 with deck screws just as you would to a wood dock as described in the assembly/mounting instructions. The attached photo, sent by a happy customer, is a good example of how to do it.
The photo below shows installation of 2 KayaArms to a metal dock. Extra holes were drilled in the mast at the height of the lower metal stringer (below the webbing) to secure the KayaArm to both the upper and lower metal stringers.
The photo below shows installation of 1 KayaArm to a metal dock. A 2×6 was thru-bolted to the upper stringer of the dock. Ideally, there should be another 2×6 secured to the bottom metal stringer as well (you will need to drill extra holes in the mast at the appropriate height), or at a minimum, with U-Clamps to the metal webbing of the dock. Mounting to 2×6 boards facilitates easy removal of the KayaArms in winter.
The following installation is from a customer who thru-bolted through the metal stringer, as well as using U-bolts to secure the rot-resistant board to the metal webbing of the dock. This makes for a more secure installation.
Mounting KayaArm onto a wood block beside a ladder:webbie2020-08-25T14:14:32+00:00
As an alternative to mounting the KayaArm to the side of a ladder I recently made a block about 18” long out of two 2x4s and two 2x6s for mounting the KayaArm onto the dock beside a ladder. The inner 2×6, which may need to be longer than 18”, must be fastened (with the 5.5” side of the 2×6 against the side of the dock) firmly onto the side of the dock. Using 2.5” to 3” deck screws, then mount the two 2x4s spaced apart and perpendicular to the flat surface of the inner 2×6 so as to provide the sides of the box. It would be easier to fasten these 2x4s to the 2×6 before fastening that 2×6 to the dock. Then mount the outer 2×6 to complete the box. Then onto the outer 2×6 of this block I mounted the KayaArm. With this arrangement the aluminum angle and the wood shims provided are not needed.
Mounting the KayaArm to a ladder on a fixed or floating dock:webbie2020-08-25T14:15:46+00:00
Note: Photos were made using earlier prototype KayaArm versions which are functionally the same as but appearance wise different than the design commercialized.
An early prototype demonstrating how KayaArm can be mounted with 2 bolts onto a ladder on a dock, thus enabling large (unlimited) level differences between dock surface and water.
The KayaArm mounted as above on 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 (1). See adjacent photo and “ladder demo” video below.
KayaArm mounted on a dock is functional for top of dock to water level differences of up to about 30”.
For differences greater than 30” you may attach the KayaArm to the side of a ladder enabling kayak entry/exit off the ladder at essentially any distance from the top of the dock.
Mounting the KayaArm onto a fixed or floating dock:webbie2020-08-25T14:16:27+00:00
While the water space beside the dock needs to be large enough for the kayak, the actual dock space required for the KayaArm and for entry/exit maneuvers can be as little as 3 to 5 ft (1 to 1 ½ meters).
Mounting details will vary depending on dock construction. The following is one example for mounting on a straight sided wooden dock (Refer to Figures 1 & 2):
Place the assembled KayaArm onto the edge of dock and fasten it to the dock using at least 2 deck screws (not provided) into the top surface of the angle (4). Fit the cedar shims into the approximately 1/4″ space between the back of the mast and the vertical surface of the dock (see Figure 2) at a location directly behind the lower holes in the mast flanges. HINT: Push the tapered shims, simultaneously one from each side of the mast and one in front of the other, into the space behind the mast to a distance where this space is filled when the mast is vertical. Install 2 deck screws (not provided) into the lower flange holes. Optionally install more deck screws through additional holes provided in angle (4).
Assembly Instructions for KayaArm:webbie2020-08-31T18:49:14+00:00
Arm Height: By gripping and lifting on the chain (6) adjust and fix the arm height to the desired level relative to the water surface. Generally the outboard end of the arm should be about at the water surface or a little above it. For floating docks it may need to be a little higher. At no time should the arm be completely out of the water as this makes sliding off difficult aside from putting excessive strain on the arm joint especially when sliding off the arm during launch.
For entry and launch, maneuver the kayak into position over the arm (3) with the arm usually about 4 to 10” forward of the cockpit although this depends on the shape of the cockpit. Alternatively, the arm should be about 1 to 2 ft. forward of where you step into the kayak—the arm must not be under foot. Prior to step-in the kayak should still be mainly floating.
Place the paddle on the dock beside the kayak
With a steadying hand on the top of the mast (1) step into the kayak. At this point the kayak should be in contact with and stabilized by arm (3). HINT: If it is not stabilized get out and raise the arm in increments of one chain link until it is stabilized when you step into the kayak.
Once standing on both feet in the stabilized kayak let go of the mast and with both hands on the gunnels maneuver yourself to the normal sitting position.
Pick up the paddle and push off with one hand from the dock in the reverse direction. HINT: Difficulty in pushing off may be due to the arm height being too high.
The return to dock and exit procedure is the reverse of the above entry and launch procedure. This includes using only the gunnels (not the mast) to bring yourself from a sitting to a standing position. Do not use the mast as a steadying post until you are ready to step out.
If you have difficulty lifting yourself from a sitting position to a standing position you may use the following procedure (proven by my wife) to exit the kayak:
Bring your kayak up on to the arm (to the same location used for entry)
Fasten the “added rope” (this is a big help to keep the kayak from sliding back off the arm)
Then wiggle yourself around in the cockpit until you are in a kneeling position facing the rear of the kayak
Then crawl on hands and knees out of the kayak onto the dock