The Electrification of Kayaks

Is electric power right for your kayak? Here are things to consider.

Old Town ePDL kayak
Electric motors make kayak fishing even more accessible. Anglers can pick from trolling motors, or even electric motors from companies such as Newport. Old Town recently introduced its ePDL+ drive that kayakers can switch between manual pedal, power-assisted pedal, or fully motorized cruise. Sam Hudson

Low cost, low maintenance and high function—fishing kayaks offer access to many anglers who might otherwise be on the sidelines. Now, electric motors are opening the sport to even more people regardless of fitness and skills. Kayak manufacturers and electric-motor designers have developed foolproof systems that are easy to install and use, and with improvements in battery technology, you can expect even more kayaks to ride the lightning.

Want to get in the craze? First choose between a trolling motor or electric outboard. Electric outboards are faster, allowing you to zoom to a distant fishing spot—and typically offer better battery life. Trolling motors are more maneuverable, with programmable and virtual anchor features.

But take note: Adding a motor to a kayak essentially turns the paddlecraft into a motorboat, requiring registration, navigation lights and other adherence to other powerboat regulations.

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