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submitted by John Ziecker 

The easy guide to adding a motor to your kayak.

If your like me you want always go fast! I decided to add a motor to my Bluesky Boatworks 360 and below is how I added a Motorguide Xi3 to my kayak that was so painless and easy I actually enjoyed it.

Step 1 is Plan.

Figure out what motor works best for you and your wants. How are you going to mount, ie bow mount or transom mount. What features do you want. Next is making sure if you need a mount it will fit where you want to place the motor and your kayak. Luckily for me my Bluesky and my Knarr come ready to install a bow mount motor without needing extra brackets besides what came with my motor. Now because I have one motor but 2 kayaks I made sure to get 2 quick release brackets so can swap simultaneously with ease.

Now that you’ve decided your motor on to materials. Cable long enough from where the motor will be mounted to wherever you will be housing your battery. Battery quick connects will make moving and removing your motor with ease. Next you will need an inline fuse box so that if anything happens on the water it will cut power and not damage or destroy anything else. Next item to make sure you have is zip ties or cable management clips. Shrink tubing to make sure when you get all your connections together you can make water proof and if your going through your hull to get a through hull wiring kit. YakAttack makes cheap and a few per pack.

Last but not least is all your tools. Drill with drill bit and socket set. Heat gun or lighter if using shrink tubing. Go ahead and sketch the layout of how you want to do placement of wires and battery so that you can stay confident in your final decisions and avoid any surprise issues

Simple Steps to Installing a Motor to your Kayak

Step 2. Prepping the kayak and Pre drilling..

Now that you have all your necessities together now comes the fun of drilling into your precious piece of kayak. The Bluesky comes with a front porch with a plate made to mount a bow mount. So next you want to place and figure out where you will be mounting and make sure deployment and retraction are capable. Make sure it’s straight and will be balanced. I took a measuring tape and measured the halfway mark of the front porch and made a mark to know I was right in the middle of the kayak. Now that I found center and made sure full use would work on the water and how it was positioned center on my kayak to my liking I grabbed the drill. Whether you are using the quick release bracket or the motor itself it comes with a guide to set when drilling your holes to make sure spacing is correct. If whatever motor you go with does not you can always take the mount and use chalk or dry erase marker to mark where you are drilling.

The scariest part of the whole process. Drilling into your pride and joy. If you live the old saying of measure twice and cut once and have planned and prepped you will have no issues. Next is any holes for power wire placement. So for me I had only 2 holes left. Both were being put on my hatch as I wanted to retain the full body structure of the pontoons on the bluesky plus was already perfect in where my battery was and keeping everything organized and easy to access for future purposes.

Simple Steps to Installing a Motor to your Kayak

Step 3. Attaching the motor.

Make sure whatever motor you are using you have assembled all correctly before placing on the kayak. My Xi3 only needed to add the propeller. So all your holes are drilled and your blueprint looks just as good as you imagined. Now getting the main attraction placed on the kayak. Place it on the pre drilled holes and using the bolts and hardware provided with the motor lock into place. For me it was attaching the quick release bracket which was the same if I added the motor directly. Now make sure with the socket set you get all bolts tightened and that there is zero movement or wiggle with the motor to the kayak. Now that the motor is attached take a moment and admire how awesome your kayak looks now and that your on the final step.

Simple Steps to Installing a Motor to your Kayak

Step 4. Wiring.

Now that the motor is attached exactly how you planned and isn’t moving. It’s now time to get it powered up. The motor itself will have a wire with a positive and ground coming out of it. This is where you can add the battery quick connects if you plan on removing your motor. You would just add a quick connect to the cables from the motor and the other quick connect to the cables your running to your battery/power source. Depending on your plan of where you may be fine to attach right to the battery/power source and inline fuse. But if your like me my battery was in the back of my boat and out of the way. I needed to add 6ft of cable to ensure I reached my power source and no issues. I knew this and already purchased the extra wiring as stated above by having a plan. So if you plan to use shrink tubing you need to place on one side of the cables before connecting them as once connected it won’t have ability to slide over.

To connect the cables from the motor to the cables I purchased I connected positive to positive and ground to ground. After I knew all are well connected and not coming apart I slide the waterproof shrink tubing over my connections and heated up with heat gun until covered all. So now you should have a cable coming from your motor at your desired length to reach your power source. Now place your wire into whatever holes you drilled for cable management and zip tie to wherever needed to make sure your cable isn’t just all about in the hull of your boat and bring out to wherever your are connecting to battery/power source. Next is making sure you have an inline fuse right off the battery so that if anything happens it cuts power from the source and making sure you don’t have a live wire running through your boat. Install the positive of the fuse to the positive of the battery. Then the ground to the ground on the battery. Next take the cable you ran through your boat and connect the positive to the positive of the fuse box and your ground to the ground of the battery. This should give you ultimate power!