If you have the heart of an adventurer, kayaking might be right up your alley. It gives you a rush of adrenaline, whether you are paddling through a lake or taking it on a fishing trip. And these days more and more people are getting into this sport because of its fun and exciting nature.
However, owning a kayak and keeping it in functional condition are two different things. Like any other things, it requires a basic amount of maintenance if you want it to last. Without any care, you might start noticing cracks or other issues in the hull of your kayak before long.
Although many people are getting into this sport, most do not know or even understand how to take care of their boats. No matter which kayak you buy, if you do not maintain it, you will not be able to use it for long. However, we are here to make sure that never happens to you.
In this article, we will give you a complete guide on how you can protect your kayak hull to ensure it remains in top-notch conditions for days to come.
6 Ways to Protect Your Kayak Hull
We all want our kayak to last for decades. But without proper protection and maintenance, you cannot really expect it. If you are a beginner, naturally, you would not understand how to protect your kayak hull. Even some veteran paddles have trouble figuring out the best way to maintain it.
To help you find your ropes, here are a few basic tips to help keep your hull in its best working order.
- Clean it regularly
The first step is pretty straightforward. You should always keep your kayak clean. These days almost every lake or river you can find is polluted and has bacteria and microbes in the water. Although you might not be able to see it with your eyes, rest assured, they are always there.
These microbes and bacteria are harmful not only for your kayaks but also for your skin if you come into contact with it. A good idea is to hose down your kayak when you return to land with freshwater. Give it some time to dry before stashing it in your shed. Remember, a clean kayak is a good kayak.
2. Check for damage frequently
Even if you are careful, the hull might get damaged from time to time. Things like a rouge piece of rock can easily crack your hull. So first step is to be aware of your surroundings when you are out kayaking. You need to understand your location and steer clear of any hazards that might damage the boat.
Additionally, when you get back on land, you would want to spend some time checking for any signs of damage. Any small cracks or inconsistencies on the hull will only expand over time if left unchecked. If you do find any damage, it would be a good idea to get it repaired while there is still time.
3. Use a Kayak Cart
Transporting the kayak to the water can not only be a major pain but also quite harmful for its hull. If you drag the boat across rocky grounds, naturally, the hull will take the brunt of the damage. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why a lot of kayaks have issues regarding durability.
The easiest way to solve this issue would be to get a kayak cart. It is essentially a metal frame on wheels that allows you to move your boat safely and easily to the river or lake. Furthermore, it is quite lightweight and does not take any effort on your part to control.
4. Store it away from the sun
UV rays from the sun can have a massive impact on the longevity of your kayaks hull. Prolonged exposure to the UV rays could even bend the material in your boat in extreme cases. However, it is not much of an issue when the kayak is in the water since the hull is submerged.
But when you store your kayak, there is no water to protect the hull from the harmful rays. When you put it away for longer periods, especially in the off-season, make sure it stays away from the sun. That way, the kayak will be as good as new when you take it out during the fishing season.
5. Cover the Cockpit
Another tip while storing the kayak is to cover the cockpit, especially when you are putting it away for extended periods. You would not believe the number of things that can find its way inside an open and unmonitored kayak cockpit. Trees and leaves are not your only concern.
The open cockpit of a stashed kayak can even be a prime location for pests nesting. If you want to avoid the extra hassle of cleaning up the inside of your kayak when you finally decide to take it out, you should cover it with a tarp. Make sure you tighten the edges so that the cockpit entrance is fully locked.
6. Do not carry extra weight
All kayaks come with a maximum weight limit. Although you might be able to get away with a few extra pounds, you really should not be doing that if you want your unit to survive for a longer period. If you exceed the weight, the integrity of the kayak will slowly decline.
When you carry extra weight, the kayak will be submerged deeper than it should near the shore. Pebbles underwater can easily come in contact with the bottom of your boat, wreaking havoc on your hull. You should always try to stay below the maximum weight and should never exceed it under any circumstances.
Basic Kayak Safety Tips for Kayaking
Now that you know how to protect your kayaks hull, you should also take a look at a few basic safety tips. These steps will help ensure you have a good experience whether you are paddling on a river or a lake.
- Check weather forecasts
Before you take your boat on the water, you should always check the forecasts. Kayaking on bad weather is not exactly a good idea as there is always a possibility of the boat capsizing. It can also damage your hull and other sections massively.
- Wear proper protection
If you are paddling over cold water, you should wear wet suits. For warmer seasons, paddling under the sun can be quite harmful to your skin. However, applying some sunscreen on your skin can help counteract the effects of UV rays. Finally, you should always wear your PFD (personal floatation device)
- Learn to swim
Whether you have PFD equipped or not, you should take some time out of your schedule to learn swimming. Even if you are a good paddler, there is always a possibility of capsizing. If you know how to swim, you will never be in any major danger while kayaking.
- Do not drink and boat
Whatever you do, make sure you do not paddle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Even if you are on prescribed medication, paddling while under its influence is never a good idea. Make sure you are in the right state of mind before you decide to go boating on your kayak.
- Learn the proper paddling techniques
Kayaking has a steep learning curve, and we all have to start somewhere. If you are an absolute beginner, there is no harm in seeking help from a qualified instructor. A teacher can help you find your way around the different paddling techniques and make the learning experience more enjoyable.
- Bring plenty of water
Paddling under the open sun during the summer can get extremely exhausting. Remember to bring a couple of bottles of water when you are going on a boating trip. Take a sip every time you feel thirsty. It would help you keep a clear and calm head even in the hot weather.
- Go with a friend
Kayaking with a friend is better than kayaking alone. You can look out for each other if something goes wrong. Furthermore, it is more fun to go paddling when you are with a friend. You will be far away from the mundane daily life and can enjoy the company in peace.
Kayaking is an extremely fun and enjoyable activity, but a cracked or punctured hull can entirely ruin your day. Imagine preparing for everything only to find that your boat cannot handle the task. However, if you take proper care of your product, you should not have to worry about it too much.
We hope you found our extensive article on kayak hull protection helpful. Nothing feels worse than having your favorite kayak break down on you. But that should not be a problem since anymore you can keep your unit in its best condition with all the information you gathered here. Good luck!