The joy of carefree boat ownership is one of kayak fishing’s most powerful draws. Molded out of plastic and stainless hardware, they are built to survive. A fishing kayak doesn’t need much care, but keeping your rig ready to fish does require light annual maintenance. Kayak Angler dropped in on Brian Kidd, manager at Delaware Paddlesports in Dewey Beach, for some tips on taking care of a kayak.
Kayak Care and Maintenance
Removing loose dirt, salt and slime keeps the boat looking and smelling better. Kidd recommends rinsing with freshwater after each use and applying 303 Aerospace UV protectant to the plastic. Direct sunlight will break down the plastic molecules. Spray and buff the boat with UV protectant to keep the plastic from fading and turning brittle.
Straps, bungees and latches should be inspected and replaced. Coat rubber seals with silicone grease.
Pedal systems are a boat’s Achilles heel. Moving parts and exposed mechanisms make the pedals and propulsion prone to wear and tear. Kidd tells customers to thoroughly rinse and dry the pedal unit. Shake out any remaining water and blow out grit with compressed air. Keep the grease topped off and fresh, but only apply grease or oil as instructed by the manufacturer. Inspect and replace the prop pin and always carry an extra pin. Kidd’s strongest advice: keep interaction with sand to a minimum. Replace worn parts before they break and leave you high and dry.
To avoid fading and cracking, remove the seat and store it inside. After each use, rinse with fresh water. Scrub with mild soap and a brush to remove heavy soil and stains. The seat can also be treated with 303 UV Protectant. Inspect straps and bungees for rot and wear.
Lightly coat electrical connectors with dialectric grease to reduce corrosion. Replace worn or frayed wires and connectors. Take apart mounting brackets and clean the moving parts.
Each manufacturer has storage recommendations. Kidd says to check the owner’s manual for best practices. As a general practice, it’s best to store the boat on its side or standing on its stern. Avoid storing the boat on the keel with inadequate support, which could cause the plastic to warp. To further protect the plastic from the elements, wrap the kayak in a tarp. Always store the kayak out of direct sunlight. In the off season, be sure water does not collect and freeze. Treat your boat like your first car, baby it. The final step is to give your trusty kayak a name.
This article was first published in Kayak Angler Issue 45. Subscribe to Kayak Angler and get the magazine delivered to your front door. Download the Kayak Angler Magazine+ app to seamlessly glide between the digital archives, the latest articles and videos.
Wash, rinse, repeat to keep your boat in tip-top shape. | Feature photo: Bogdan Korostetskyi