kayak rack for dock

DIY Kayak Rack For Dock

Ahoy, fellow DIY enthusiasts and water sports fans! I’m Greg Jones, your Today’s Cottage Living handyman, back with another easy DIY project that’ll have you reaping the rewards of resourcefulness and creativity.

In this DIY guide, we’ll delve into the art of repurposing left-over dock posts and spare hardware to construct a functional and stylish kayak rack for your dock. The best part? This nifty kayak holder didn’t cost a dime – talk about a win-win situation!

Let’s get into it!

Why can you trust us?

They call me The Cottage Guy. With over 30 years of cottage ownership, I share my hands-on experience and advice on everything from DIY projects to firewood, to country lifestyle topics. Alongside our team of passionate writers here at Today’s Cottage Living, we offer practical solutions and well-informed recommendations that stem from genuine hands-on experience.

Materials used to build this kayak holder for the dock

First things first, let’s take inventory of what we need for our cost-free kayak rack:

  1. Left-over Dock Posts: Those weathered dock posts that have seen better days? They’re about to get a new lease on life!
  2. Spare Hardware: Dig deep into your treasure trove of screws, bolts, and washers – you’ll be surprised by what you can find.
  3. Tools: Basic tools like a drill, measuring tape, and a level – all staples in any DIY enthusiast’s arsenal.

Step-by-Step Guide:

Step 1 – Location

The first step in building this kayak rack was deciding on the best location for mounting it onto the side of the dock.

In one of our earlier DIY projects, we show how we built this DIY dock platform.

Click here for the guide: how to build a lake-side dock platform.

This platform was an obvious choice since it is located at the shoreline for easy access as well as providing protection from the elements.

kayak holder posts for dock

Step 2 – Drilling post holes

To determine the distance between the two galvanized steel posts, measure the overall length of your kayak and subtract about a 24″ allowance from each end of your kayak.

In my case, the kayak is 12 feet long so the distance between the two poles is 8 feet from post to post. I centered the 8-foot distance so the posts are an equal distance from each end of the platform.

I used a 1-7/8″ hole saw to match the diameter of the galvanized steel dock posts. If you don’t have a hole saw, I recommend buying a deep (long) hole saw that can drill the full depth of your board without having to drill through both surfaces of the board.

In my case, the cutting saw’s arbor stopped the cutting saw from passing through the board thickness. I solved this by chipping out the core with a screwdriver. It was an easy fix, but if you can find a deep-hole saw your job will be easier.

Related Video: How to use a hole saw by This Old House

Step 3 – Mounting Brackets

In my case, I had extra dock post brackets so I wanted to make use of them to provide added support to the posts.

The brackets are not required but they do add to the stability of the posts and as a bonus, they allow the posts to be retracted at the end of the season if you want the posts to be removed, or pushed in.

kayak rack for dock brackets

You can check out the brackets here at Amazon.

Today’s Cottage Living is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn commission by linking to Amazon.com. There is no additional cost to you by purchasing through our Amazon affiliate links.

Step 4 – Cut posts to length

The last step is to adjust the galvanized steel dock posts to the appropriate length so they support your kayak without protruding too far from the dock.

To determine the best length for the posts, measure the width of your kayak at its widest (center) point.

In my case, the kayak measures 22″ in the middle.

Add at least 2″ to allow for extra room on the posts as well as the post caps.

In my case, I allowed 24″ for the distance the posts extend beyond the side of the dock.

The posts can, and must, extend under the dock for support.

I recommend allowing the posts to extend under the dock/deck for the length of two joist supports if possible.

How To Use Your New Kayak Rack!

It can’t be much simpler…

Step 1

Lift the front of your kayak onto the front post.

Step 2

Lift the backend of the kayak onto the rear post.

Step 3

Flip the kayak upside-down on the posts.

My kayak paddle features a convenient way to separate the paddle in the middle so it becomes 2 pieces for easy storage.

I tuck the two paddle sections inside the kayak since my kayak is the type that has a seating cavity – versus a sit-on-top style kayak.


This project was completed within a few hours and we are thrilled with the results. The kayak is securely tucked away without having to build a rack on land, and it’s VERY stable. We have had several storms come our way and the kayak never flinched.


1: Can I really build a kayak rack for my dock without spending any money?

Absolutely! This DIY kayak rack project is designed to utilize leftover dock posts and spare hardware, making it a cost-free endeavor. Even if you don’t have dock post brackets you can simply use scrap wood to support the posts under the deck.

With a little resourcefulness and some basic tools, you can create a functional and stylish kayak storage solution without breaking the bank.

2: How do I determine the right size for my kayak rack?

The size of your kayak rack depends on the dimensions of your kayaks and the available space on your dock. Measure the length and width of your kayaks, and allow about 24″ inset from each end of the kayak.

3: Do I need advanced DIY skills to complete this project?

Not at all! This DIY kayak rack is designed with simplicity in mind. Basic woodworking skills and tools, such as a saw, drill, measuring tape, and level, are all you need to bring this project to life.

The step-by-step guide above provides clear instructions, making it accessible to DIY enthusiasts of all skill levels.

4: Can I customize the design of the kayak rack to fit my dock’s aesthetics?

Absolutely! Feel free to unleash your creativity and tailor the design of the kayak rack to match your dock’s aesthetics. You can experiment with paint or sealant to add a personal touch or adapt the dimensions to suit your space.

The beauty of this project lies in its adaptability, allowing you to create a kayak rack that’s both functional and visually appealing.

5: Will this kayak rack securely hold my kayaks?

Yes, when constructed following the instructions provided in the guide, this kayak rack will securely hold your kayaks. By using sturdy dock posts and properly securing the galvanized steel dock posts with hardware, you’ll create a reliable and stable storage solution for your watercraft.

Just ensure that you follow the step-by-step guide and perform a thorough inspection before placing your kayaks on the rack.

Thank you for sharing your time with us at Today’s Cottage Living!
Greg Jones

Similar Posts