How to Care for Your Boat & Gear

Now that you’ve invested in a new canoe or kayak, you’ll want to make your boat last as long as possible. As with all precision instruments, your boat requires periodic maintenance to keep it in proper working order.

UV Protection

Ultraviolet light can cause degradation of most materials on your boat and gear. To minimize this problem:

  • Treat your boat and gear several times a season with a UV Protectant like “303,” which can be purchased in our Paddling Store.
  • Wood canoe gunwales should be oiled (or urethaned, if the gunwales were originally urethaned) at least once each year.
  • Store your boat and gear out of direct sunlight.

Salt Water

Salt water causes rusting and corrosion and leaves residue when it evaporates. Always rinse your boat (inside and out) and gear in fresh water after usage in salt water.


Boats are best stored indoors to protect them from sunlight and weather. We recommend a boat stand or foam blocks to keep the boat off the floor, or a wall hanging system, all of which are available in our paddling store. If possible, remove hatch covers during storage to maintain the hatches’ tight seal.

If you must store your boat outdoors, we recommend covering the boat with a boat cover, like the Danuu covers in our paddling store, to protect it from sun and weather. Make sure the boat is dry before covering. A cockpit cover will prevent wildlife from taking up residence inside your kayak. If you do not cover your boat, we recommend a full treatment with 303 at least every two weeks.

Canoes should be stored upside down, resting on their gunwales. If possible, plastic kayaks should be stored on their edge to minimize hull deformation, but can be stored on their deck (upside down) if properly supported underneath both bulkheads.

Gear should be allowed to dry before storage. Two-piece paddles should be broken down before storage to prevent seizing.

View More Guides

View all
Charles River Canoe & Kayak Operates in Cooperation with... Discover Newton Parks Logo Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation Logo Canal District Kendall Square Logo City of Somerville, Massachusetts