How To Add A Skid Plate To My Kayak Or Canoe?


One of the main problems any kayaker will face is the fact that during the time spent in the water the bottom of the vessel will eventually wear off, especially the keel. The reason for this is because it will run into many rocks and rub against different surfaces, with the keel being the first one on the impact. If you add the damage caused by pulling it on the ground while getting into the water, or while going through the shallow waters, it is not so hard to see that there is quite a big impact on a vessel keel. To protect it, you should simply install a skid plate to serve as a keep guard.

What Is A Skid Plate?

A skid plate serves as a keel guard, which means it has the purpose of protecting the keel (the point that goes underneath the kayak bow and stern, along the center of the hull).

Do You Really Need It?

Is it an essential part of your vessel? No, your kayak will work well without it, but if you want your kayak or your canoe to last longer, this is one of the most important purchases you’ll ever make. First, check your kayaking habits. If there is a lot of ground dragging included, or the area you’re going out for a session has a big portion of the shallow waters along the way, sooner or later your keel will start to wear off and you’ll have to repair it, which is not so cheap. That’s why it is recommended to have it installed even if you don’t drag it or if you don’t kayak in the shallows that often because it will most definitely improve your kayak’s life spawn and keep your kayak safe.

Also, if your keel has already been scratched or damaged, there is a possibility that it can be fixed by simply installing a keel guard.

Canoe Skid Plate

Some canoes have sharp keels, so a canoe skid plate when added may not do its work the way it should. Also, there is a possibility that it will affect the hydrodynamics of your vessel, but in other cases, a canoe skid plate can be used to prevent damage, and also repair hulls.

The Best Time To Add Or Replace The Skid Plate

Some kayaks come without a skid plate, while the others have them already installed. In both cases, it is important to know when it is the right time to add or replace it.

If Your Kayak Doesn’t Have A Skid Plate

In case your vessel doesn’t have one pre-installed, inspect your keel. If you see any signs of damage or that it has started to wear off, it is time to react, and applying a skid plate is the easiest solution, way cheaper, faster, and simpler compared to fixing the keel itself.

If Your Vessel Has A Kayak Skid Plate

If there already is a kayak skid plate installed, check it out from time to time. If you see wear signs or if you spot that it is not leveled with the hull anymore, it needs to be replaced because it will no longer serve the purpose of protecting the keel.

Most of the time they are really durable so you won’t have to change them often, but it is a good idea to have an extra with you just in case you have to react before you get home.

Also, it is smart to thoroughly inspect it during the offseason, so when you get back into the water you’re good to go without having to worry about anything.

Is Every Canoe Suitable For Skid Plates?

The shortest answer is – no, but almost. It depends on the material of the hull. For instance, there is no skid plate kit available you could attach to polyethylene hulls, but all the other options do exist.

Will Skid Plates Add Any Weight?

Although not heavy, they will add some weight to the vessel. Most often skid plates will add somewhere around 2-3 lbs.

How To Add Skid Plates


Installing the skid plate is not complicated, so it is possible to do it without the help of a professional. Before you start with the installation make sure the area is well ventilated, away from the direct sunlight and room temperature.

Tools You’ll Need

There are some tools you’ll need for this action:

  • Skid plate kit
  • Sawhorses set
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Garbage bags or newspaper
  • Masking tape
  • Paint thinner

Step By Step Guide On How To Install Kayak Skid Plates

Most skid plate kits provide the instruction manual, but if you’ve lost your own, here is a step by step guide on how to do it:

  1. Turn your kayak or canoe upside-down. Clean it. Use your measuring tape to measure 14 inches, with the edge of the back deck as your starting point to the bottom of your vessel. Mark that location. This is where the narrow end will start. Lay it and hold it in place using 2 pieces of tape. Mask a 1/8” border around the skid plate with masking tape.
  2. Remove it and sand the masked area with sandpaper from the kit. Make sure not to miss anything.
  3. Tape the drip cover edge to the tape outline, while making sure it doesn’t touch the working area.
  4. Mix the resin and stir it with the provided stick until you reach the desired texture.
  5. Using a paintbrush apply the resin to the sanded area.
  6. Lay the skid plate carefully over the resin and pat it firmly.
  7. Use as much resin as needed and make sure all the air is out. If there is a bit of air trapped, remove it with the brush.
  8. When the resin becomes gelled, remove the drip cover and tape outline. Smooth the edges if needed.
  9. Let it rest for 24 hours before you use your vessel again.

Globo Surf Overview

Now you know what canoe skid plates and kayak skid plates are, what are they good for and how to install them, it is up to you whether you’ll decide to use them or you’d rather leave your kayak or canoe the way it is.

More Canoe Reviews:


  1. Skid plate,
Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!