Putting up a shelf – creating underdeck storage space inside the kayak cockpit!

Flex Maslan kayakfari underdeck storage seda glider kayak tech inside cockpit shelf upgrade miami florida banana boat photo

Hello!
I put up a shelf in my kayak!

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This is one of those easy “why didn’t I think of that?” custom kayak mods. It was one of the very first modifications I made to the Banana Boat – my early production Seda Glider sea kayak. When my kayak was built, the now-common “third” or “day hatch” option was largely unknown except maybe for some quirky British boats. I often found myself needing a place to keep small loose things like snacks, sunblock, maps, cameras, radios and the like. I considered the option of just getting a deck bag, but I’ve pesornally never been too keen on them. They tend to get in the way. So instead of strapping a bag on top, I decided to go the opposite way and go under the deck where it also happens to be a lot dryer!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari underdeck storage seda glider kayak tech inside cockpit shelf upgrade miami florida banana boat photo

It would seem that the shelf is the dividing line, but the vertical dimension is somewhat distorted in this fisheye view of the cockpit. But it serves to illustrate the space available!

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 Basically, this small shelf turns the unused space under the peak of a kayak deck into a very useful storage space for smaller and lightweight items.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari underdeck storage seda glider kayak tech inside cockpit shelf upgrade miami florida banana boat photo

Above and below the shelf. Note the relief bottle neatly wedged inside that also provides more room for my hands.

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I used a lightweight yellow piece of plastic sheet about 16″ x 22″ x 1/8″ that was a perfect fit for the Glider. Installation was extremely simple and consisted of drilling appropriate holes into the shelf and just bolting it on (or I should say under)! On my Glider, there are three “pad eyes” (sometimes called “inchworms” or “deck loops”) on each side that anchor the foredeck bungees. I was able to reuse these twelve existing holes, and therefore avoid drilling nary additional holes into my kayak deck! All that was needed were some longer stainless steel screws and washers. I also pre-drilled some larger holes into the shelf itself for another set of bungee cords to hold my binoculars.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari underdeck storage seda glider kayak tech inside cockpit shelf upgrade miami florida banana boat photo panorama

Exploring the Seda Glider sea kayak cockpit from the inside out.
Note my large yellow storage shelf under the peak of the deck!
CLICK for HD interactive VR panorama!

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You’ve probably noticed in these pics the four see-through holes in the deck, but they have nothing to do with this shelf. They are remnants of an early rubber “paddle park” that I though was a good idea at the time. They were removed a very looooooong time ago and the holes epoxied over.

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Flex Maslan kayakfari underdeck storage seda glider kayak tech inside cockpit shelf upgrade miami florida banana boat photo

The shelf in my kayak!
Also note the Henderson front bulkhead hatch – CLICK for story!

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The finishing touch was to apply a ball of silicone sealant to cover each of the exposed ends of the stainless steel screws. This way there is less chance of any scrapes or snags in the event of some inopportune “upset”! In all honesty I’ve never had any problems with entry or exit and re-entry. I think this mostly due to the placement of the screws above and out of the way of my legs and feet. You’ll note in the pics that my shelf is inset several inches forward under the front of the coaming so as to clear my knees completely.

Proper shelf placement is important so as not to create an egress safety hazard for yourself!

My shelf runs all the way to the front bulkhead. Sometimes this calls for quite the “reach” if something happens to slide all the way to the front. Adding a custom shaped piece of flotation foam would eliminate this possibility. I elected to use the extra space and permanently keep a spare sponge there along with a small “relief bottle” (not for women – sorry)! The bottle also serves another important purpose by creating more hand access space between the deck and shelf.

The utility of the shelf has proven to be excellent. I can usually store the day’s energy bars, PBJ’s and fruit there along with a chart, sunblock, compass, gloves and camera. Items under about two inches in thickness will fit in the space available. Because it is under the coaming, everything usually stays nice and dry and right in front of my fingertips. It’s also easy to organize and by “wedging in” with bulkier items last, nothing will fall out in case of a capsize or when draining the boat!

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Flex Maslan kayakfari underdeck storage seda glider kayak tech inside cockpit shelf upgrade miami florida banana boat photo

Your feet are the key to proper paddling posture!
CLICK for story!

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You could install this shelf into most any sit inside kayak, but sea kayaks are the best candidates because they are usually narrower and most have a fairly high “peak” in the deck. If you decide to add a shelf like this, be sure to think it through and measure like they say – twice or even trice. This is an easy way to add some functionality to most any boat where you’d like access to small frequently used items to be within easy reach. Think of the many other customization possibilities with this setup!

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Enjoy!

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© 2016 Flex Maslan / kayakfari.com / awakenthegrass.com. All original photographs, artworks and music in this portfolio are copyrighted and owned by the artist, Flex Maslan, unless otherwise noted. Any reproduction, modification, publication, transmission, transfer, or exploitation of any of the content, for personal or commercial use, whether in whole or in part, without written permission from the artist is strictly prohibited.

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I hereby disclaim any sponsorship, endorsement, nor association with any product or service described herein. The photographs, depictions, products, and ideas presented on this site are for informational purposes only. Your results may vary, and I do not imply nor guarantee the effectiveness, suitability, design or operation to adhere to any standard. I assume no legal responsibility for the implementation of anything herein presented! Use any and all information at your own risk! By using any and all information from this website, you accept the final liability for any use or possible associated misuse! 

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! Bless

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