Why do I need one?

Paddle Sports Equipment

Why do I need one?

Specs & Info


1) One Cargo Hatch
Allows easy access to gear during the day (lunch, cameras, etc.). YKK #10 coil zipper secures the hatch while a 420 Denier nylon Pack cloth with a 500 Denier pick cover with hook and loop helps shed water and keep the zipper free of dirt and grit. L 18" x W 23".

2) Two Cockpits
Designed for sitting or kneeling. Constructed of high quality waterproof fabric with a 2" Velcro closure for safe, quick access in and out. When paddling calm waters the cockpits can be tucked under the deck to provide ventilation. Hoops in front of the cockpits create a splashguard to deflect water away from the paddlers. They can be easily removed when not in use yet remain stationary with our new pocket system. Once your deck is installed the hoops can be trimmed to the proper length.

3) Roll-Away Cockpit Tabs
A set of 7 velcro tabs around each cockpit to roll the cockpit down and away from you on those fair weather paddling days.


4) 14 oz Vinyl Coated Polyester
The deck fabric is very durable, will not tear and is very resistant to puncture. It is waterproof, has mould, mildew and UV inhibitors and is unaffected by temperature extremes. It is easy to field repair with any vinyl glue or our Vinyl-Tec 2000 (50ADH-05). Available in Red or Blue.

5) Painter Tie-Down
Velcro closure straps and built in carabineer loop at the bow and stern to keep painter lines or throw bags at the ready.

6) Paddle Pocket
This pocket allows paddlers fast access to a spare paddle. You can specify the length for a perfect fit.

7) Nylon Webbing Perimeter Deck Loops
Webbing loops provide contact points approximately every 10" for lacing the deck to the canoe. This system allows the deck to be drawn tight to shed water, regardless of load height.

8) Lashing Patches
These patches lash the Spray Deck to your canoe. We use a system that is easy to install and allows adjustment of load height to eliminate pooling. They will not corrode or jam like conventional snaps. They are low profile to eliminate snagging on branches, rocks and knuckles. Attached to the inside your boat, they allow the use of a single-pull lashing cord to draw the deck tight. When the deck is removed your hull retains a nice, clean look. (see our FAQ page) The patches are also field maintainable without tools.

9) 3" Rub Strips
Protects your deck from paddle and general wear and tear along the gunwales.

10) Para-Line Lashing Cord
These lines secure your deck to the boat. They can be one length running down each side or multiple lengths so you can roll back the bow and/or stern areas while keeping what remains taut over your gear. This type of system used with our optional two or three-piece deck gives you the ultimate in versatility. Tensile strength 300lbs. (see our FAQ page)

The Solo Deck comes with all standard features of the tandem, but with one cockpit and typically a smaller cargo hatch due to size limitations.

Note: Complete installation kit is included with each Spray Deck.


SAFETY AND COMFORT It takes only five minutes for a calm lake to turn to whitecaps but twenty minutes to paddle across a two-mile lake.
During that crossing you may encounter wind or take on water over the gunwales, causing you to work much harder than is necessary. You drop into a kneeling position for more stability as the waves build and now have to fight the wind to keep your boat from crashing down waves. It becomes more difficult to maintain your angle and causes more water to come over your gunwales. Your bow paddler is not used to a fully loaded boat in such conditions and implores you make for the shore. As you do, the wind turns your boat parallel to the waves and it hits a submerged rock, taking on enough water to make paddling nearly impossible. You and your partner jump out because you’re close to shore and now have to somehow drag a thousand pounds of water and soggy gear out of the crashing waves.
You get to shore wet and cold. The wind is still blowing, your gear is soaked, your spirits are dashed, and your partner is demoralized. Not a pretty situation, but one that can unfold very quickly.
Once one thing goes wrong in a wilderness setting, the chance of something else going wrong rises exponentially. This sets up a chain of events that can deteriorate your level of safety very quickly. When you are days away from help it is vital to stay in control and one step ahead of that first link in a potential chain of problems. A North Water spray deck can play a vital role in preventing these problems from arising in the first place.

Would the above-mentioned scenario be different with a spray deck?
The spray deck dramatically reduces the amount of water in your boat and the punishing effects of the wind. This allows you to obtain maximum effectiveness from your paddle strokes and maintain a correct angle. Simply put, you do not have to work as hard, you stay drier, and you are more likely to maintain your body temperature. Heck, you may have even start to have fun trying to surf the waves as they carry you toward shore. Even if that that pesky submerged rock turns you sideways and a wave crashes over your boat, the spray deck sheds the water off the deck as you quickly brace and re-establish your angle and paddle to shore - Two different scenarios with two very different outcomes.
The use of a North Water spray deck is no substitute for experience and common sense, but it does give you a valuable tool to deal with a wide variety of elements that have the potential to affect the outcome of your trip.
Below are a few of the expeditions that have relied on North Water Spray Decks.


  • Finding Farley, a cross-Canada adventure to visit Canadian literary legend, Farley Mowat
  • 171-day, 8,000 km cross-Canada trip
  • 800-km, 26-day trip across Scandinavia
  • 3100 km, 75-day trip across the Boreal
  • 1,100 km, 25-day trip from Algonquin to Moosonee
  • World Record Longest Canoe Voyage from Western Canada to the Amazon
  • British Canoe Expedition
  • These decks are made one by one, to fit a wide variety of canoes, from a solo boat to a 22ft freighter. The deck allows easy access to gear during the day and quick unloading of the boat at the campsite.

Great for

  • Open water crossings
  • Whitewater
  • Rain
  • Reducing the effect of wind on a boat
  • Cold
  • Heat
  • Comfort
  • Security while sight seeing or replenishing supplies in populated areas
  • Protect gear from elements
  • Ability to press on in bad weather
  • Overnight gear storage
  • Emergency shelter


Dear North Water, Just wanted to say Thank You again for helping me get the spray cover in time. We had no problem finding the shop and the people there were most helpful. It took me about 1 ½ hrs to rig the boat and it fit perfectly. We happened to arrive at the river at the crest of an all time recorded high water level and the whitewater was amazing. The cover worked very well allowing us run 15 rapids that we would not have been able to run in open boats. This saved us several days of portages.
Eric Zierke - Bloodvein River Manitoba, September 14, 2009

We're back from our Thelon trip and I'm catching up on business stuff etc. I've had a quick first run-through of my photos and video and hope to put something together for you in the next few weeks.

The decks were great. We basically left the deck on the boat the entire time as we were able to load and unload through the hatch and cockpits. What a great design feature that large hatch is.
Paul VanPeenen - Thelon River Nunavut, Canada’s Artic, September 13, 2009

I've used a North Water spray deck for every major canoe expedition I've done. It is a crucial expedition piece. It keeps you cozy on pissing wet days, allows you to paddle big open water that leaves most canoes wind-bound and lets you to confidently run white water. It rolls up nice and small if you're not using it or can be kept on and portaged easily with the large centre hatch. I currently have 2 pack cloth decks - one with almost 150-days on it- and both are still going strong. The quality is exceptional and I wouldn't do an expedition without one.
Canoed 8,000 km from Saint John, NB to Vancouver in 1995; 300km kayak trip down the West Coast of Thailand in 2000; 2nd descent of Nam Pha river in Laos by Kayak in 2003; Canoed 800 km across Norway, Sweden, Finland in 2004; Circumnavigated the Haida Gwaii Archipelago in 2005 by Kayak; 3100 km canoe trip from Winnipeg to the cottage in 2007; 1050 km trip from Opeongo Lake to Moosonee in 2008;
Frank Wolf

Montreal, Quebec to Inuvik, Northwest Territories
"North Water makes what I consider to be the toughest canoe decks on the market. I brought mine on a solo canoe expedition across Canada over the course of 3 springs and summers. It is still keeping the water out of my boat!"
They did a superb job of tailoring the cover to my canoe’s (The Souris River Tranquility Solo) custom features, such as curved thwarts and support poles to prevent the cover from pooling water.”
“My canoe cover made it possible to paddle in some challenging wind and wave conditions on larger lakes like Lake Huron, Lake Superior, Lake of the Woods, Lake Winnipeg, Lake Athabasca, and Great Slave Lake. I was able to have waves pouring over the canoe with no serious concern of swamping. During the month I spent canoeing Lake Superior’s north shore, I was only wind-bound for 5 days, thanks to the cover. Without it, I suspect that it would have taken me a month and a half or more to complete that portion of my journey. The cover made a huge difference in preventing my canoe from catching the wind, so I used it whenever I knew I would not be portaging frequently.”
I had chosen not to install a cargo hatch; its benefits were definitely worth the extra work of lacing and unlacing the deck to access my gear. Next time I would install a zippered Cargo hatch.
Seth Wotten - Water for Future Generations

"Your Spraydeck made the difference between do or die”. When I was pelted by endless rain and wind for days, it made all the difference. The basic equipment for canoeing (as you know) is canoe, paddles, lifejacket and spraydeck!!  Could not have done it without your support and help! Thanks for all your time and effort!"
Nancy Vedder

1. The deck was used on our two month crossing of northern Quebec. We probably had it out and on the boat ten times.
2. I had never used a spray deck before this trip.
3. The deck certainly came in handy several times. We paddled in a strong crosswind producing big (5 foot) swells on a large barren ground lake. Some of the swells were actually breaking over the canoe. Traveling without the deck would have been completely out of the question. With the cover on we made quite excellent progress despite the really terrible conditions. I was shocked at how well the canoe paddled.
The deck did a great job of keeping out the majority of the water. The PVC "stays" that were to be inserted into the cockpit part of the deck was left behind at the start of the trip due to space constraints and the deck worked very well even without this feature. We did take on some water when it pooled up on the loose cockpit part, but the PVC hoops would have prevented this.
The paddle pockets on the top of the deck were really handy. The large zipper hatch was also an essential part of the design. One of the reasons why I enjoy canoeing is the easy access and ability to move around. The cargo hatch allowed for this to happen.
The lace up system of attaching the deck seems to have worked really well. I found it quick and easy to use. The product was really durable and seems like it would have held up for a long time. I felt terrible about having to leave our canoe and the deck behind at the end of the trip.
On a few practice runs prior to the trip I ran our 18 foot tandem canoe down some local class III+ runs. Kayakers thought we were crazy, but the cover kept us dry as a bone and made running this stuff quite acceptable. As soon as I get enough cash together I'll be buying a deck for whatever canoe I have at the time. Invaluable if your goal is to run rapids.
I did note some things that could have been improved with the design. There is nothing inherently wrong with the design, just a few things I would work out if it were up to me.
1. At the start of the trip we had so much gear in the canoe that the deck could not be attached to the canoe. We were loaded above the gunnels by a good bit. Maybe some kind of "bellowed" design that folds away when laces tight could accommodate larger loads in the canoe.
2. Despite having burnt the end of the string for lacing up the deck the cord frayed. Some kind of a plastic tab like on the end of a shoelace would prevent this and make lacing the deck on much easier.
3. Some loops or something for attaching gear to te deck would be handy. MOst people could easily make this modification at home, but it would be nice. I had to keep the hatch zipper partly open to allow me access to a loop that I could use for clipping a map case in.
I would definitely recommend a North Water deck to anyone else serious about tripping. I will certainly make sure that I have one on my next trip.
When we didn't need it on our trip this past summer it seemed like overkill, but when we did need it we really needed it and it performed well.
Hope this feedback was helpful. I know it isn't much, but feel free to pick my brain more and to use the feedback however you would like.
Brad Bassi -  01/12/2008

4 years ago I purchased from North water a canoe spray cover for my Mad river explorer. Great piece of canoeing equipment.
Dave Swingley - 14/12/2008

Hi Morgan, The green spray deck for Nova Craft Supernova arrived today, and it's awesome! I am very happy with your product. It appears to be a perfect fit.
Ed Labenski - 21/07/2006

Having a huge wave erupt from a boiling mid-river hole that appeared and swept right across the spray cover and almost ate us whole. This was at the last rapid before Kazan Falls which would kill ya' for certain if you swam. My older Dene Indian pals told me that when a river is nasty you should give it a gift so one of my paddling gloves got chucked to the River Gods. I never did tell Lynda.
- Bill Layman, speaking to the usefulness of the canoe deck during his scariest moment.

Favourite North Water piece?, Easy – North Water Spray Decks, I've been using them for 8 years and they are mandatory on all my whitewater trips. Great quality, easy to use and they keep me upright in the big water.
- Peter Mather

Personally, I wouldn’t even think of going to the barrens without a covered canoe. A spray cover gives you that extra edge in big rapids and on large lakes where wind can come up in an instant and it is also a blessed relief on those really cold days. Remember that any swim in the barrens is potentially life threatening – the water up there is incredibly cold folks! I find that when I am south of the tree-line, where the water is warmer and there are more and longer portages, I don’t always feel the need for a cover.
To date the best cover I have used is the one made by North Water. Made of 14oz. Hercules cloth, these covers are nearly indestructible and North Water’s attention to sewing detail is bar none. Give them a call and they can walk you through the options you might want. My advice is to opt for two paddle pockets, and consider the split deck option – it makes it real easy to get at your gear. And one note. Everyone thinks that the lace-on system North Water uses is going to be a real pain in the ass. Well that’s exactly what I thought when I first saw it, and "it just ain’t so".
The deck only takes a few minutes to re-attach in the morning, and at lunch, with the zip-open cargo cover, there is no real reason to undo it at all. The trick at night is to only undo one side of the cover – that way it is easy to get the side-to-side adjustment even in the morning when you are still waiting for the coffee to cut in. And on portages, don’t even take the cover off. Just undo one side completely, roll the deck across to the attached side, and spool the loose cord around the rolled up deck and cinch it tight. North Water has an excellent selection of other peripherals from knee pads and D-rings to throw bags and Z drags.
- Bill Layman & Lynda Holland

I just wanted to let you know that the deck you built for our canoe has been working really well over the past two years. It has really enabled us to meet the demanding conditions generated by the Great Lakes with confidence. We are planning on completing the Canadian coastline this summer as we will paddle from Tobermory to Kingston along Lake Huron, Erie and Ontario.
- Stephanie Park & Jonathan Pratt

What do the fastest paddling trip across Canada (from New Brunswick to Vancouver) and the world record canoe trip (from Western Canada to the Amazon) have in common? They both relied on a canoe deck to get them through time when weather and whitecaps would have stopped other expeditions cold.
Canoe decks aren’t just for hardcore paddlers. They’re becoming more and more popular for extended journeys – especially in cold, wet regions – by providing protection from the elements for food, clothing and most importantly, paddlers. They can also be used when running whitewater, eliminating the hassles of bailing at the bottom of every ripple.
Though they’ve been around since Voyageurs first draped furs over their hulls, technology has finally come to these canoe covers. To see what all the water-shedding hoopla is about, we tested solo and tandem decks from Vancouver’s North Water Rescue & Paddling Equipment. The company has patterns for most models of Clipper, Dagger, Mad River and Old Town canoes, and can custom-fit others. For our testing, we outfitted an Old Town 169 with a tandem (complete with zippered cargo hatch and spare paddle hold) and a Dagger Ovation with a solo.
First we had to submit the boats’ measurement, easily done over the phone or company’s Web site. Specs you’ll be asked to provide include everything from overall length and width to make, model, gunwale and hull material. A diagram on the Web illustrates how to perform such other needed measurements as the distance from the bow to the back of the stern seat and rear thwart; stern and bow cap dimensions; and width distant from the bow to the back of the stern seat and rear thwart; stern and bow cap dimensions; and width every two feet from the bow. They ask for a lot, but the attention to detail shows itself in the final result.
Made from waterproof and UV-resistant 14oz. Hercules material, both decks were easy to install, with the kit for each containing the deck drill placement marker, 20 loop patches, two tubes of vyna-bond, four D-rings, two 20-foot lacing chords and two deflector hoops. With easy-to-follow instructions, it took about two hours to install each one, including gluing on the patches and drilling holes in the canoe.
The company’s attention to detail was also apparent when it came time to paddle. A storage area near the bow held each canoe’s painter lines, a cargo hatch on the double allowed easy access to gear, a paddle pocket kept spares handy, and poly-webbing tie-downs provided easy lacing points to the canoe. A three-inch rub strip along the gunwales also protected the deck from wear and tear from errant paddle shafts. When trying them with gear, the decks adjusted easily to accommodate different loads.
None of the test paddlers notice much weight gain and we all found that the lash-down system didn’t interfere with our strokes. Perhaps their nicest feature are Velcro-closing cockpit covers made of 420-denier packcloth; they provide a large opening when needed (i.e., for wet-exiting), and an elastic waist adjusted to fit paddlers of all sizes. The opening also allowed for a secure fit whether kneeling or sitting, and let our bodies breathe when the Colorado sun poked through the clouds.
For all their comfort and warmth, however, the decks did have a drawback. Instead of picking our way through each wave train as usual, we now headed for the biggest ones we could find. And by increasing our penchant for play, we didn’t return home until well past our respective curfews.
- Paddle Magazine by Douglas Wipper



Please note that the choice of 420 nylon pack cloth saves weight for a race and for portaging, though it comes with some trade-offs. While more lightweight overall, the pack cloth’s urethane under-coating and durable water repellent (DWR) top-coating, which initially help make the fabric water resistant, will wear over time.
A topical DWR application is a reasonable way to help prolong the life of the deck’s water resistance. Some of our customers have had success with applying McNett’s ReviveX (or similar) Durable Waterproofing Spray. There are other DWR water repellent sprays, though you can find out more about McNett’s at https://www.mcnett.com/gearaid/blog/revivex-durable-waterproofing-spray-faq


Snaps tend to fill with dirt or silt then corrode and break. The only way to fix a broken snap is to remove it and install a new one; this requires snaps, rivet gun and sometimes a drill. If you hit a rock they can become deformed, or at best it scrapes off the stainless steel coating and makes them prone to rust. If they are not steel, they are likely brass which is softer and even more prone to damage. Another important reason is snaps are very hard on the knuckles while doing a J stroke.

Velcro is simply not strong enough to withstand the force of water if the boat was breached. If your fully loaded boat is upside down and you failed to lash down your gear, the pressure of your gear and trapped water wants to push the deck off your boat. This becomes a safety concern during a canoe over canoe rescue. Even industrial strength Velcro will not hold up to the forces applied. Over time Velcro looses its holding power as it picks up debris and degrades with extended UV exposure. Canoe hulls are made from a variety of different materials, many of which the Velcro will not stick to over the long haul. As with snaps they are hard to repair in the field. Velcro is also very noisy.

Both Snaps and Velcro do not allow the deck to adjust to different load heights. 16-17 feet of deck fabric has significant expansion and contraction going from a crisp morning chill to the hot afternoon sun. If the load is above the gunwale at the beginning of your trip your deck will not reach the snaps or Velcro. Elastic or expandable cargo sections will collect water when your load is reduced. It is important to always keep the deck tight so it sheds water regardless of load height.

Our lash system is easy to install and allows adjustment of load height while keeping the deck drawn tight to eliminate pooling. They will not corrode or jam like conventional snaps. They are low profile to eliminate snagging on branches, rocks and knuckles. Attached to the inside your boat, they allow the use of a single pull lashing cord to draw the deck tight. When the deck is removed your hull retains a nice, clean look. You can run one length down each side of the boat, or multiple lengths and roll back the bow and/or stern areas while keeping what remains taut over your gear. This type of system used with our optional two and three-piece decks give you the ultimate in versatility.


Yes, they are small holes spaced every 10 and 20 inches, approximately 5 inches below the gunwale line but well above the water line. They do not affect the integrity of the hull. Once you glue the loop patch to the interior the hole is sealed and only a small loop is left on the exterior of the hull. This small loop blends into the lines of your boat and can barely been seen. Those that do see it usually want to ask about your latest adventure.


Our standard deck is made from 12-oz. PVC coated polyester with a built-in mildew and bacteria. inhibitor. The Lighter fabric version is made with red or black Military Spec 420 pack cloth with a ¾ - 1-oz. Urethane coating with UV inhibitor. Both Decks use YKK zippers and a combination of polyester and nylon webbing and pack cloth accents. All buckles are made of a polymer nylon that will not absorb water, so they keep their size, shape and strength when wet.


We work with a number of outfitters who have been using our decks for over 10 years. With regular use and clean dry storage your spray deck should last you a life time.


Our Traditional PVC deck will not expand or contract with temperature or moisture fluctuations. The Lightweight version of the deck, made of 420 Pack cloth will expand and contract a little with temperature & moisture fluctuations. Due to the North Water attachment system this will not affect the fit or performance of your spray deck.


Rolled up dimensions of a standard 16 – 17 foot Spray Deck is 10” in diameter by 16”. The weight is 3-3.5kg, or 6-9 pounds. Our lightweight model is 20% less volume and 1/2 the weight.


The deck is very easy to remove. Simply by undoing one knot and pulling the Para-Line the whole deck will be off in just a few seconds. You can remove portion of the deck by unlacing that part of the Para-Line if you have a two or three-piece deck. To put the deck on you simply run the Para-Line through the loops on the hull and webbing loops attached to the deck.


Seats, thwarts and gunwale widths have a habit of shifting depending on the owners and manufacturers. Often boats will have adjustable seats, so by supplying us with a completed measurement form we guarantee your deck will fit. It also provides us with the correct information to get your deck to you without delay.


We ask that you choose a single position for both the bow and stern seat that will best accommodate how your boat will be loaded when it is been used.  


The only part that we have seen fail is the occasional zipper after prolonged use. To help prevent zipper wear we recommend that you keep the teeth free of dirt. The deck fabric will have minimal wear even with prolonged use. If you do put a hole, rip or cut in the vinyl it can be patched with any vinyl glue. The lightweight decks made from Pack Cloth can be easily fixed with needle and thread or industrial sewing machine.


Out standard lead-time after receiving the completed measurement form is  3-4 weeks, though due to unprecedented demand our current turnaround time is 5-6 weeks.  For a surcharge of $199.95 we can prioritize your order and make sure you have it when you need it.


Yes. Let us know what you would like to add and we will quote you a price. Please clean and dry the deck prior to shipping.


When ordering your spray deck please specify the hull material of your boat. If you are not sure, contact the manufacture and we will make sure the correct installation kit is included with your Spray Deck

ABS, Royalex or T-Formex – most of these boats use a vinyl interior skin and will use our standard installation kit. If the interior skin is polyethylene you will need to use our special nylon installation loops attached by rivets.

Fibreglass, Kevlar – will use our Standard installation kit.

Polyethylene – you need to rivet our special nylon installation loops into your boat.

Aluminium – you need to rivet our special nylon installation loops into your boat.

Thermal formed Plastic – you need to rivet our special nylon installation loops into your Esquif’s Twin-Tex – you need to rivet our special nylon installation loops into your boat, or use an adhesive from the manufacture.

Webbing Ladder lock attachment system

For all hull materials you can rivet our special nylon webbing loops or a continuous length of 1” webbing around the perimeter of the boat 5.5” below the underside of the. Use a 3/16” diameter all aluminium rivet with 3/8” diameter back-up washers (one for outside, one inside). The length of the rivet will be determined “grip range” required. This is determined by adding the thickness of the hull plus the thickness of two washers and the webbing loop. Hand rivet tools can be purchased at any hardware store for under $20.00.


The holes will be 5.5” below the underside of the gunnel, this is well above the water line, they are covered with vinyl patches that keep the water from coming through the holes. The nylon cordage will absorb some water. If it is a concern a little seam sealer over the threads on the back of the patches will completely seal the hull.


The deck is designed to shed water and wind. It is not a dry bag to put your canoe in to keep your gear dry. We start out with vinyl that is waterproof then by sewing components to it we stitch through the vinyl. These needle holes are very small and allow very little water inside. The cockpit and cargo hatch zipper protectors are urethane coated water resistant pack cloth.


No, the bottom of the cockpit is sewn directly onto the vinyl spray deck, the top fits around your chest and is synched up using shock cord. It is important be able to change from sitting to kneeling positions, lay back and float. At the same time you need to be able to exit the boat without releasing or pulling a release tab as in conventional kayak spray skirt. The cockpit’s skirt is constructed with long directional pockets on either side to firmly hold a PVC tube that keeps the skirt arched to deflect water. The skirt uses a tear-away 2 inch Velcro strips down the center for quick access in and out.


If you are portage using a center portage yolk you will have to undo the bow or stern and roll back the spray deck to expose the yolk. With a two or three piece deck you roll back a shorter portion. Our most popular additional feature for tandem canoes is the XL Portage Cargo hatch. Appropriately named, it is intended to roll away to allow solo portaging without removing any of the deck. If two people are portaging the boat , one at the bow, one at the stern there is no need to remove the spray deck.  For a solo canoe, the optional Side Loader Cargo Hatch will allow the majority of the deck to open for easier portage.


You MUST take your deck off each time you transport it unless your boat has a Zippered Cockpit Cover for each opening and they are closed, and your boat is secured tightly to your rack. Although the webbing rub strip will provide protection between the roof rack and gunnels we recommend you use additional padding for long distances and/or rough roads.

Check periodically to make sure there is no excessive wear on the deck.

If you have any questions please call us at 1-800-567-9283 or email us at northwater@northwater.com.

Documents & Media



Spray Deck Installation Guide.pdf

Thank you for your purchase of our custom made canoe Spray Deck. These instructions are designed to show you the necessary steps to install your new deck. With so many hull designs and materials it is nearly impossible to have one instruction manual that covers everything. If you have questions please give us a call, our hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM (pacific time) Monday to Friday and the toll free number is 1-800-567-9283.

Your first step to successful deck installation is to read this entire manual before you begin.

Step 1: Preparation

First check that along with your custom built spray deck you have received everything correctly in your kit and that you have the proper tools and supplies on hand to complete the installation of your deck. If your boat is:

a) Fiberglass, Kevlar, or ABS / Royalex vinyl interior skin

  • Drill placement marker
  • 26 loop patches
  • 1 can of Vinyl-Tec adhesive
  • 2 lacing cords (20')
  • 2 deflector hoops

b) Roto-Molded Polyethylene, Twintex, Aluminium

  • Drill placement marker
  • 26 webbing loops
  • 28 rivets, 56 washers
  • 2 lacing cords (20')
  • 2 deflector hoops

c) If you have chosen the optional
Web-Ladder-Lock Attachment System

  • Drill placement marker
  • 40’ webbing
  • 46 rivets, 92 washers and a rivet gun (not included)
  • 2 deflector hoops
  • Additional instructions

You will need for installation:

  • Acetone or de-natured alcohol to clean gluing surfaces
  • Narrow tip felt pen
  • Drill with 3/16” drill bit
  • Optional – sandpaper
  • Fine gage wire or heavy thread
  • About 2.5 – 3.5 hours to complete the installation of the deck

Step 2: Test the spray deck fit.

Lay your spray deck out over your canoe. The bow end of the deck (underside) is marked with a label indicating brand and model of canoe for which the deck was made. Check the direction of the cockpit hook and loop closures; they should face forward. The bow and stern straps should be placed under the bow and stern end caps. Use the adjustable tensioning end straps to snug it up and centre it fore and aft. You do not want to put a lot of tension on the deck with this strap.

Next, check the fit of the spray deck. When you tighten the spray deck across the boat, the gunwale should be in approximately the middle of the 3" webbing rub strip. Check that the cockpits have been positioned correctly atop of the seats. There should be about 1- ½" between the back of the seat and the cockpit.

Step 3: Marking the canoe for drilling

When marking drill positions on your canoe you will need to use the triangular drill placement marker. This marker ensures that all holes will be drilled 5½" below the underside of the gunwale and centered between Tie Down Tabs.

Start marking the drill positions at the bow. The first hole will be marked 5½" below the underside of the gunwale between the 1st and 2nd Tie Down Tabs on the spray deck. The second hole will be marked 10” from the first hole between the 2nd and 3rd Tie Down Tabs. The 3rd hole will be marked 10” from the 2nd hole between the 3rd and 4th Tie Down Tabs. Move to the stern and follow the same layout.

Move to the stern and follow the same layout.

Now return to the bow and place a drill mark every 20" between every other set of Tie Down Tabs at 5½" below the underside of the gunwale, beginning where your last mark sits. See image below.

Step 4: Drilling

Before you start drilling on the marks you have placed, check to make sure you won’t be drilling into anything.

If you have float tanks in your boat, only drill the holes which will not penetrate it. If your float tanks are overly large and you must skip more than 2 holes, feel free to contact us for alternative options. If you need to move a mark slightly to miss a seat support or floatation tank, a 2" variance side to side is fine. Drill holes for the loop patches using a power drill with a 3/16" bit.

If your boat is made from Roto-Molded Polyethylene, Twintex or aluminium it will require Webbing Loops for all contact points, in this case you will use one washer on the inside of the hull and one outside of the Webbing Loop. (see diagram)

Step 5: Gluing the Loop Patches to the inside of your hull.

Before bonding the patches to the canoe you must first clean your canoe and the loop patches thoroughly using acetone or isopropyl alcohol, to make sure you are working on a clean surface. This is best so that the bonding adhesive will adhere and seal completely.

If your boat is made of Kevlar or fiberglass you will have to lightly sand and reclean the spots where glue will be applied. Regular sandpaper and a bit of elbow grease should do the job. Be sure the surfaces are clean and flat before bonding.

To glue the patches, use the disposable brush and spread adhesive over the patch side with the loop on it and corresponding canoe surface at the same time. Allow 5-10 minutes for the adhesive to become tacky to the touch. Follow the instruction on the glue container for best results.

Use a fine gage wire or heavy thread to pull loop through the hole. Once loop has been pulled through ensure backing is sealed evenly to the canoe surface. Allow the adhesive to set for 8-10 hours to help ensure proper bonding.

Step 6: Lace up your deck

Start at the bow and secure the lacing cord to the first tab with a bowline or similar knot, then lace loosely through all tabs and loops. To tighten properly, pull from bow to stern 3’ or 4’ at a time on either side just as tightening a big pair of boots. Fasten at the stern using a knot or hitch such as a Truckers Hitch.

Next place the cockpit deflector hoops inside the webbing pockets on the underside of the deck. Place ends of deflector hoops into each pocket, it may be necessary to trim down the length of the deflector hoop to ensure a good fit fit. Cut a little off at a time until it fits securely and the cockpit closes properly with the hoop anchored with the Velcro tab.

Congratulations you are now ready to hit the water with your new custom-made spray deck.

Please write or call us with any comments about our program.


Installing Webbing Ladder Lock attachment system to your boat

How to attach 1” webbing around the perimeter of your canoe.

With the spray deck in place, determine how far below your gunwale the webbing should be installed. It should be just low enough that the tightening straps can pull the cover taunt from gunwale to gunwale but not too much lower. Take an average depth below the gunwale and mark where the webbing should go with a pencil or tape.

Step 1: Test the spray deck fit

Lay your spray deck over the canoe. The bow end of the spray deck is marked with the label indicating the brand & model of canoe the deck was built for. Check the direction of cockpit Velcro closures – they should face forward. The Bow and Stern End-Straps should be placed under the bow and stern caps. Use the End-Straps, adjust the tensioning to snug up and centre the spray deck fore & aft. You do not want to put a lot of tension on the deck with these straps.

Next, check the fit of the spray deck. When you tighten the spray deck across the boat, the gunwale should be in approximately the middle of the 3" webbing rub strip. Now check that the cockpits have been positioned correctly over the top of the seats. There should be about 1- ½” between the back of the seat and the cockpit.

Step 2: Attaching the 1” perimeter webbing to your canoe hull.

The installation kit included with your order includes a 35 foot length of one inch webbing.

This webbing is riveted to the outside of your hull around the perimeter of the boat approximately 5.5” below the underside of the gunwale. Use a 3/16” diameter drill bit.

Drill the first hole in your canoe approximately 9” from the end of the bow (between the first and second webbing straps on the Spray Deck). Drill though the hull so the webbing is 5 ½” inches below the underside of the gunwale. After drilling, melt a 3/16” hole in the webbing, now place a washer and rivet through the webbing and into the hull to hold the webbing in place. Now land-mark the next drill location.

Note: Do not close the rivets with the rivet tool at this point.

spraydeck straps

Continue drilling the holes one-at-a-time approx every 10” between the webbing straps attached to the Spray Deck.

You will be holding the drill in one hand and pulling the webbing tight with the other hand. As each hole is drilled, pull the webbing and melt a hole matching up with the hole you just drilled into the hull. Insert a rivet into the two holes BUT do not close the rivet - This will hold the webbing in place. Now continue down the length of the canoe drilling every 10” between the 8” X ¾” webbing straps (see photo above).

Work your way down one side of the boat, then the other. When you get to the starting point the two ends of the webbing will overlap for the first two holes. IMPORTANT: Do not close any of the rivets until all the webbing is in place.

Now you can start to close each rivet making sure to place a washer on the interior of the hull.


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