A spray skirt is a waterproof cover designed to attach to the
coaming (cockpit rim) of the kayak and your body. The purpose of
the spray skirt is to keep paddle drips, rain and large dumping
waves out of your kayak. The skirt seals off the cockpit and traps
in warm air, making it very useful during colder winter months.
Unfortunately, it does the same during the summer.
Generally there are three types of spray skirts; those made from
neoprene, waterproof nylon or a combination of the two. Full neoprene
skirts are warmer and more waterproof. These are usually used in
colder climates or on whitewater kayaks. Combination skirts are
useful if you kayak in a lot of surf or around large waves. If you
want to practice Eskimo rolls, purchase either a full neoprene or
In Florida latitudes, a lightweight nylon sprayskirt is usually
your best best. This type of skirt is not very good in heavy surf,
but if it is properly reinforced with an implosion bar, it will
keep most big waves out of the boat. It is important that the skirt
does not cave in under pressure from waves.
A hole in the spray skirt allows it to be pulled over your shoulders
and fitted around your waist. The skirt should fit firm around your
waist, or held up by shoulder straps. The order to dress when using
a spray skirt is: clothing, spray skirt, rain jacket and Personal
Flotation Device (Life Jacket).
The spray skirt is an important safety item. If you're planning
on any long trips over open water it's virtually manditory that
a spray skirt be used.