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Common Repair Questions for Kayaks Answered

Posted by Rutabaga Staff on 8/12/2013 to Kayak Care, Repair and Replacement Parts

1) What should I do about the scuffs and scratches on the bottom of my boat?

In all honesty, you should smile and remember the adventure that caused the scratches. There really isn’t a good way to take those scuffs and scratches out, and until you wear completely through the outermost layer of your boat, there isn’t a good reason to try. Scuffs and scratches are a part of paddling. Take pride in the fact that you are out there using your boat, and when someone asks you about the wear on your hull, tell them a great story about how it happened.

2) What do I do when the gel coat on my boat cracks or falls off?

If the gel coat on your boat cracks and begins to fall off, you are in need of a repair. You will first need to remove the damaged gel coat. Sometimes the gel coat will simply break off if you pick at it with a knife, other times you may have to grind the affected area. Once the loose gel coat has been removed, you will need to fill in the hole with new layers of gel coat. After the new patch has been applied, it can be wet sanded to make the patch flush with the rest of the boat.

3) What should I use to clean my kayak?

First, you can simply use water. Clean water along with some scrubbing will take off most of the grime and crud that collects on boats. If water alone isn’t enough, you may choose to use some mild dish soap. For a quick once over and prevention of sun damage, we recommend using a UV protectant. McNett UV Tech works very well. As a nice bonus, it makes your boat nice and shiny!

4) Do people wax the bottom of their kayak?

Waxing isn’t going to do anything in terms of really protecting your boat, but you may notice a difference in performance.

5) I have a roto-molded kayak with a depression in it.

Without seeing your boat, my guess is that it sat in the hot summer sun for a bit too long. The plastic used in constructing our roto-molded kayaks is first heated in an oven, and then molded into the appropriate shape. The boat is then cooled, so it retains its designated design. By allowing your boat to “bake” in the hot summer sun, you’ve allowed it to return to its original pliable state. If, at this point, you strapped your boat onto your car or set some heavy equipment on it, or sat down somewhere on the deck, you may notice a depression formed into your boat. Not to worry–this can be fixed. In order to re-form your boat, you will simply need to heat the deformed area and push the dent out. Heating the boat can be accomplished with a heat gun (most easily in colder weather) or a hair dryer on its hottest setting.

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