DIY Kayak Trolling Motor (YAK Board)




Introduction: DIY Kayak Trolling Motor (YAK Board)

I've been kayaking for a few years now and enjoy it quite a bit, but sometimes (especially while I'm fishing) I don't feel like paddling.  There are plenty of kayaks out there that are setup for trolling motors but they usually cost a pretty penny so I decided to outfit my humble yak board with a removable trolling motor setup.

Step 1: What You Need.

Here are the materials I used but they are by no means the only supplies that would get the job done.

YAK Board
Everstart 24 series Marine Battery
Plastic Battery box
Minn Kota® Endura™ 30 Transom-Mount Motor
60 AMP Minn Kota Water Proof Circuit Breaker
2 1/4x3" toggle bolts

I already had the Yak board which runs about $300 and all the other materials were about $200.
$500 isn't bad considering yaks designed for this run at least $1500.

Step 2: Assembly

To get started setup the kayak on something about waist height so that you can mock everything up without the trolling motor hitting the ground.

Put the battery in the battery box and set it on the storage space on the back of the kayak.  If you are using a YAK board the there is already a strap installed on the kayak that will hold the battery box in place.

Then set the 2x4 between the seat and the battery box with the 4 inch side against the box. 

It's best to have someone hold the 2x4 in place while you mount the trolling motor to it.  At this point I marked the 2x4 at the edges of the battery box so I could line it back up later.

Once you have everything in the general layout that you think is going to work for you go ahead and take it all down to actually start putting it together.

As I typically do I just eyeballed where to drill the holes so I just set the 2x4 back on the box between the lines I made and went at it. 

After attaching the board to the box you will notice that the toggle bolts are sticking out to much inside the box and the battery will no longer fit.  I used a dremel to trim them down but I guess you could use one of those small hand hacksaws too.  Just make sure you make the cut even so you don't have a sharp edge going into the side of the battery.

Slip the battery back in to the box and lift it back on to the kayak (as always, lift with your legs) :)

You should now be able to attach the trolling motor without the 2x4 moving.  The wiring is very basic just run the black wire straight to the negative terminal, the red to the AUX pole on the circuit breaker and then a jumper from the BATT pole on the circuit breaker to the positive battery terminal. I mounted the circuit breaker to the top of the battery with some double sided 3M Tape  but as long as you keep it stationary it should be fine.

And believe it or not that's it.  Take it to the water and give it a shot.  I recommend taking a paddle as well in case something isn't working correctly you aren't stranded.

Step 3: Tweaks/Afterthoughts

After my maiden voyage I was having a little bit of trouble with the torque form the high speed settings shifting the battery  since it wasn't a perfect fit for the kayak.  To alleviate this, I cut a 9 inch 2x4 and attached it perpendicular to the other 2x4 with 3" wood screws. This filled the gap between the box and the side of the storage area, keeping the battery stationary.

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    2 years ago

    Wow this is very cool on a budget. We have the same Yak. I know this Yak is for a light person, so how does it hold up weight wise with you, plus battery plus motor on the end?
    How much weight is the battery? motor?
    What size trolling motor shaft did you go with?


    4 years ago

    I always thought that registering a boat was only neccesary if you had if a gasoline motor...? Not with electric troll motors..I've been known to be wrong from time to time now an then,lol Yakin Virginia Waters


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Just a note to anyone who does this. Check your State's laws on small water craft. I know in California any vessel with a motor has to be registered no matter what size.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    The rule is the same in Michigan, a motorized craft has to be registered. It shouldn't be a show-stopper though, registration only costs $30 for 3 years.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I love it. Me finding this site, 1 week too late. I passed on a $25 good trawling motor because I never had a use for one. Now I would have. I am going to keep my eyes open for another one. Such a great idea and so simple too.

    Thanks for the remind guys about the boating rules. I forgot I will now need numbers for my boat, not just the launch permit, if I install a motor. Government or Mafia... same thing, needs their cut.