Build a Handy Beach Rack for Your Canoes & Kayaks

What You Need

Materials

  • 4……..4x4 inch posts 3-4 feet long
  • 6……..Bags concrete mix
  • 4……..4-inch long, 1/2 inch lag screws with washers
  • 2……..12 foot long 2x6's
  • 8……..½ inch or 3/8 inch screw-in eye bolts
  • 4……..6-inch clamps
  • Box….3-inch galvanized screws and washers to fit
  • 30-40'..Fire hose (local fire stations often sell old hose for marine use)

Tools:

  • Saw
  • Socket wrench set
  • Drill with boring and hex driver bits
  • 4 to 8 bungee cords 3 to 6 foot long
  • Carpenters level

Step by Step Illustrations

The layout of the holes. Try to place them on flat ground, but you can vary the length of the posts to make the rack level.
The layout of the holes. Try to place them on flat ground, but you can vary the length of the posts to make the rack level.
The posts ready for the cross members to be attached
The posts ready for the cross members to be attached
Clamp the cross members and screw in lag bolts to hold them in place.
Clamp the cross members and screw in lag bolts to hold them in place.
Stretch old firehose over the top of the members for padding. The hose should be longer than the crossmembers by at least a third to a half.
Stretch old firehose over the top of the members for padding. The hose should be longer than the crossmembers by at least a third to a half.
Screw down the hose so you create accordion pleats.
Screw down the hose so you create accordion pleats.
The completed boat rack without the boats.
The completed boat rack without the boats.

Beachside Canoe/Kayak Rack

If you've got a spot by the shore or run a summer camp where you put canoes in and out of the lake frequently, this tidy little canoe rack makes it easy to put up your canoes without a lot of overhead lifting. With some handy eyebolts and some bungee cords, you can secure your canoes easily. If you are worried about theft, it's simple enough to chain your canoes to the rack as well.

In a couple of hours with an overnight break in the middle, you can knock this beauty into shape ready for use. Here’s how to build it.

Support Posts

  1. Pick out a flat spot with plenty of room around it so that a person carrying the end of a canoe can move freely.
  2. Dig four six to 8 inch wide holes inside the corners of a rectangle measuring 8 feet wide and 12 feet long
  3. Dig the holes deep enough so that the post extends 18-24 inches above the ground as you prefer. The rack will be as tall as the top of the posts.
  4. Dig the holes so that they are wider at the bottom than at the top so that the concrete plug you pour around the post is wider at the bottom than at the top. This makes the plug hard to loosen and the side slope helps carry rainwater away from the base of the post into the ground.
  5. Fill the bottom of the hole with a two-inch layer of pea gravel. Set the posts in place in the holes.
  6. Mix up concrete mix according to directions on the bag.
  7. Pour the concrete into the hole around the posts and position the posts so their sides are parallel to each other. Use the level to make the post vertical.

Allow the concrete to set overnight.

Cross-Members

1 Clamp the 12-foot 2x6's across the outside faces of the pairs of posts that are farthest apart as in the picture.

2 Drill pilot holes through the cross members and into the posts. The holes should be 1 size smaller than the lag bolts you are using.

3 Put a washer on each lag bolt and screw them into place, affixing the cross members to the posts as shown.

4 Screw eyebolts (eye screws actually) into the cross-members, space evenly across the outside faces of the cross-members. These will act as tie-downs. You might want to test fit your boats on the rack and mark places on the cross-members where an eyebolt might be handy. Drill a pilot hole first and screw the eyebolt into place so you'll have an easy way to attach bungee cords.

Spray down all the wood surfaces of the frame with water sealant.

Padding the Rack

1 Cut the firehose into two pieces.

2 Start at one end of a cross member and screw one end of the hose to an end of the cross member with a galvanized screw and washer.

3 Stretch the hose over the top of the 2x6.

4 Buck up every 6-8 inches of the hose and screw the hose down to the 2x6 so that the hose is a series of bumps all the way to the end. The bumps will support the canoes without scratching the gunwales and keep them from sliding around.

The Finished Product

The finished product with boats in place.
The finished product with boats in place.

Tying Down the Boats

To put the boats on the rack simply lay them upside down atop the hose padding parallel to one another. Attach bungee cords to the eyebolts and stretch them over the top of the boats. Hook to an eyebolt on the other side of the hull and you have the boats snugly tied in place. It's a good idea to tie down your boats to prevent them blowing off the rack in a hard wind.

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