10 good reasons to motorize your kayak

Wavewalk is the world leader in motorized kayaks in terms of stability, load capacity, seaworthiness, speed, versatility, mobility, comfort, and more.
This article answers the question “What are the advantages of motorized kayaks over non-motorized ones?”

1. Motorizing is easier than paddling

Not everyone can paddle their kayak over long distances, or in less than perfect conditions. Some kayakers suffer from disabilities, and others are elderly or not physically fit. Assisted paddling, namely paddling while an electric motor provides your kayak with additional propulsive power makes things easier, be it in strong wind, fast currents, or waves, as well as on flat water. When you motorize, you save your own energy, and you’re more comfortable.

2. Having a motor is safer than depending solely on paddling

A human powered kayak is an under powered vessel, by definition. In a sustained mode, an average adult paddler can produce between one tenth of a horsepower and one quarter of a horsepower, and this is very little, even in comparison to weak electric motors. In case you’re too tired to paddle back to your starting point, or due to unfavorable changes in water or weather conditions, being able to propel your kayak with a motor can be a critical factor that could save your trip, and even your life – A motorized kayak is safer than a non-motorized one.

3. A motor greatly increases your range of travel

Simply, having an extra source of power on board allows you to go further, since you can paddle to your destination, and motorize on the way back. So, whether you’re on a touring, fishing or on a photography trip, the motor allows you to cover more water, explore, and go to more places.

4. A motor allows you to take a bigger payload on board – cargo and/or passengers

You may want to take a passenger on board, or load your kayak with heavy camping gear, but this additional weight could make it too hard for you to paddle. In such case, a motor could make the difference.

5. Motors work well for trolling

You can paddle your kayak and fish at the same time, namely engage in trolling, but an electric trolling motor or a small outboard gas motor can do a better job than your paddle.

6. Driving a motorized kayak is fun!

Driving a motorized kayak can be fun too, especially if it’s a Wavewalk that’s outfitted with a powerful outboard motor. And driving standing, which is an option that all Wavewalk models offer, is even more fun – It’s comparable to skiing, except you’re going on water and not on snow, and it’s also comparable to water skiing, except for the fact that you’re free to go anywhere you want, including in choppy water and in waves, and you don’t depend on a powerboat to tow you.

7. A motor can get you to places that you otherwise couldn’t access

A Wavewalk outfitted with a mud motor (surface drive) can go where other boats can’t, and even where human powered kayaks can’t, such as mud flats, fast streams, etc.

8. Driving saves time

An S4 Wavewalk kayak outfitted with a powerful outboard motor can go at speeds approaching 20 mph, for as long as you want. This is more than five times the speed that a strong kayaker in a fast kayak (that is not a typical fishing kayak) can sustain for a limited amount of time, on flat water. In other words, a motor kayak can get you much faster to where you want to go, and back.

9. Motor boating is cool, and speed is exciting

Not everyone likes paddling, and not everyone thinks it’s cool. You may want to take someone on board your kayak, be it a child, your wife, an elderly parent, a fishing buddy, etc., and find that kayaking (or canoeing) doesn’t appeal to them, but going in a motorboat would, and to some of them the appeal would be greater if you go at high speed.

10. Helping other kayakers

Having a kayak powered by an outboard motor puts you in a unique position of being able to help other kayakers. You could do it by carrying heavy camping equipment on board your motorized kayak (realistically, only a Wavewalk…), taking passengers that aren’t fit for paddling, and by towing other kayaks.


More articles on these subjects –

How much HP for my S4 skiff’s outboard motor?

Developments in Motorized Kayaks

Paddling in Strong Wind

Boat stability in a kayak

Motorize your fishing kayak?

How Much Gear Can You Store Inside a Wavewalk Fishing Kayak?

Fishing Kayak Stability

Motorizing Your Kayak – Why, How, What Etc…



  1. PackerYaker

    Hey Yoav….hope you’re enjoying your cool weather up there.

    Two reasons not to motorize: it’s quieter and a much better workout!

  2. fish

    Hi Gary,

    Yeah, you won’t believe how much we’re enjoying the weather! 😀

    I’d say neither of your arguments is really against motorizing, since electric motors are quiet, and you can always turn a motor off, raise its propeller, and keep paddling silently while enjoying the quiet and serenity around you.


  3. fish

    Gary’s comment raises the question whether the presence of a motor on board the kayak makes it harder to paddle it, and the answer is that it doesn’t make it hard – The motor’s weight slows you down a little, especially if you like to paddle fast, and it’s hardly noticeable for a tandem crew.

  4. Bassman

    Bottom Line:

    Paddling is fine for short distance runs. Motorizing is best for the long haul.

    Enjoy your journeys.

    Larry J.

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