Sit-In kayak

Layout and Parts to a Traditional Sit-In Kayak

In General Information, Safety by RandoLeave a Comment

This article is a follow up to the layout and parts of a SOT kayak. You can read that post here.  In this post, we will look at a common layout and parts to a traditional, Sit-In kayak.

The Sit-In kayak is the most common and most easily style on the market today. Nearly any sporting goods store or big box store with a sporting goods department will have several of these kayaks available. The type of kayak you choose is important, (see our article on how to choose the right kayak here) but for today lets look at the components of a sit-in kayak.

Most Sit-In kayaks will have the following parts, but some are optional and not all manufacturers will have these:

  • Hull: the bottom of the boat
  • Deck: the top of the boat
  • Keel: the ridge the runs the length of the hull
  • Cockpit: opening in the deck where the operator sits
  • Carry handles: Convenient for transporting your boat
  • Coaming: ridge or edge that surrounds the cockpit and allows the skirt to be attached
  • Footbrace: place to rest and adjust your feet location and control the rudder (if equipped)
  • Bulkhead: an internal wall to prevent water from getting in to other compartments (if equipped)
  • Thigh Braces: pads to add comfort and control to higher end boats (if equipped)
  • Seat: May be fixed or permanent, some are adjustable
  • Deck Straps: straps to tie down gear
  • Hatch: access to open part of the hull, either in part or in whole depending on the boat design
  • Skeg or Rudder: Skeg is a like a small fixed rudder for tracking and stability (if equipped)

Sit In Parts


The most important reason to know your equipment is safety. In the event of a rescue you will need to know the parts of your boat as you communicate with your helper. Also, knowing whether or not you have a bulkhead will determine the type of rescue (X vs. T which you can read about in a future article).

The layout is simply the configuration of the various parts of the kayak. There are numerous layout configurations, but the image above shows a very common layout. Remember to look for bulkheads in your boat as well. If you don’t have one, it is recommended to put inflatable bags in your cockpit for added buoyancy. These should be available at any kayak retailer.

Know your equipment, understand how to configure it to your needs, be safe and we will see you on the water.

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