Whether you plan to paddle all winter or your boat or board is in storage from September to June, you’ll want to take care of some simple maintenance on an annual or more frequent basis to keep your gear lasting as long as possible.
1. UV Protection
Sunlight can cause degradation of most materials on your boat and gear. To minimize this problem store your boat and gear out of direct sunlight. Seems easy, but don’t forget your boat spends a lot of time in the sun when you’re using it. Even if you have indoor or shaded storage, you will still want to follow these steps:
Treat your boat and gear several times a season with a UV Protectant like this product. 303 is awesome! It keeps composite and plastic boats and boards looking shiny, prevents nylon and rubber parts from crumbling over long exposure in the sun. Make sure to cover all the kayak hatch covers, fabric and wood seat parts, paddleboard deck pads, and all over the deck and hull of the boat/board. We also coat all our lifejackets, wetsuits, and other gear at least once a year.
Wood canoe gunwales should be oiled (or urethaned, if the gunwales were originally urethaned) at least once each year.
2. Salt Water
Salt water causes rusting and corrosion and leaves residue when it evaporates. Always rinse your boat and gear inside and out in fresh water after usage in salt water. If you have a two-piece paddle, take it apart and rinse and fully dry each piece making sure there is no salt or sand inside the shaft. Make sure to get in and clean all the moving parts: foot peg track, fin track, rudder/skeg components, etc.
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 have a two-piece paddle, you should store it broken down. Any other gear should be clean and fully dry before storage.
If have to store your boat outdoors, we recommend covering the boat or board with a boat cover, like the Danuu covers we use, 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.
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.
Make sure to clear off heavy snow that piles on your boat/board, it can cause a bulkhead to blow or deform the hull if left to accumulate.
Any problems with your gear? take care of it now so it’s ready for you in the Spring when you want it! Maybe we can help you fix a buster rudder, stuck skeg, missing or rotted hatch covers, or damage to the hull. If we can’t fix it ourselves, we can always recommend someone who can.