Summer is almost here, and there’s no better activity than exploring the rivers and lakes on a kayak. If you’re a newly-minted owner of a kayak supply store or kayak rental place, you need to make sure your best models are in great shape. Sure, they don’t have complex motors, hatches, rudders, or even towlines to maintain, but they do take a beating every time they take on rapids and rocky rivers. Structural problems like holes can put passengers in danger once they’re on the water.
You don’t want your kayak partner or customers to be disgusted at the gunk built up on your kayak’s surface after weeks and weeks of use, too. Plus, you also have to consider the sun, possibly fading your boat’s paint. A high-quality kayak is a major investment. White water and fishing kayaks can cost upwards of 2,000 NZD. As such, you need to take a lot of time and effort to make sure they’re in good shape, so you make the most of your investment.
Here are effective ways to maintain and store your kayak.
Even if your kayaks are constantly in the water, it doesn’t mean that they’re always clean. Rivers and lakes are home to a variety of bacteria, debris, and other gunk. If you haven’t cleaned your kayak in a while, you’ll likely see a layer of scum on its surface. That’s algae that naturally occurs in bodies of water like lakes, rivers, and oceans. It has a green or brown shade, depending on how long it’s been on there. While it doesn’t necessarily affect performance, it seriously ruins your kayak’s looks, especially if it has a light-coloured paint job.
Scum can be cleaned with soap, water, and a sponge. Rinse off the dirt and get to work scrubbing off the algae with a sponge filled with soapy water. You have to go over a couple of scum and stains to clean them off.
You don’t want to use harsh chemicals, as they may damage your kayak’s coating and plastic material. The soap and water method may need a lot of elbow grease to scrub the scum off, but it ensures your kayak is not only clean without sustaining damage to its coating or colour.
Give It a Good Polish
After cleaning your kayaks, you should also give them a good polish with marine wax. This removes scuffs, scratches, and other marks that soap and water can’t fix. It also creates a protective coating that makes your vessel resilient against damage from debris and the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This is mostly recommended for kayaks with composite materials.
Apart from making your kayaks look good as new, polishing has a variety of other benefits. It’s a common belief among enthusiasts that waxing your kayaks can increase their speed. While it does make a smoother surface, making the vessel glide much more effectively. This speed increase, however, may be negligible.
Get the kayaks dry first. Next, use a microfiber cloth to spread the wax evenly across your kayaks’ outer surface. Let the wax dry before using another microfiber cloth to polish them further. When you’re done, your kayaks should look bright and shiny.
If you want to protect your vessels further, you could also spray it with a UV protector to ensure they stay durable even if they’ve been soaked all day under the sun. Make sure that you only spray a thin coat and taper off any excess coating with a cloth.
Fix and Replace Damage
If customers use your kayaks to traverse rapids a lot, expect some damage to their hulls. If they’re recessed, you can get them back to their original shape by soaking them in the sun. The heat will be more than enough to pop the recessed hulls back to shape. Deck lines and bungee cords can deteriorate when they’re constantly exposed to the ultraviolet (UV) light of the sun. Make sure to replace them when they do lose their elasticity.
Store Them Properly
Keep your kayaks indoors and away from the elements as possible when you’re putting them away for long-term storage. If you’re putting them on display, consider using cantilever pallet racking to keep them secure and sturdy. Keep them away from sunlight to ensure their colour doesn’t fade. If possible, put a protective sheet on them if they’re exposed to the sun.
Kayaks are costly pieces of watersports equipment. As such, you need to maintain and store them properly to make them viable for rentals for the longest time possible. Regular use can cause them to develop various problems, like scum on their outer surface, damage to their hull, and more. Use these suggestions as a guide in keeping your vessels in good shape all-year-round.