By Terry Price
Kayaks are a ton of fun, so maintaining your boat is an important part of a paddler’s life! Always keep in mind that an ounce of prevention is worth its weight in gold. Keeping your kayak clean and well maintained will ensure the longevity of your craft. Cleaning it on a regular basis and keeping it free from clutter is a good first step. Here are a few tips that will help to ensure your craft remains like new for a long time to come. To begin with, it is important to use a hose to rinse the inside and outside of your boat after each use. This keeps the moving parts free of salt and debris. This is especially applicable if you do a lot of saltwater kayaking, as salt will those metal parts on the inside. Inflatable kayaks may not need as much maintenance, but still need caring for.
Always remember to check your craft for leaks or cracks before you store it. If you find any holes, patch them immediately or you could forget. One great way to find these cracks or holes is to shine a flashlight inside your kayak in a dark room. When it comes to storing kayaks, one of the best places is a cool garage. If you store it in a shed, it is inclined to get dried out. Keeping your boat outdoors all the time is not a good idea as it can fade the paint and even cause it to peel when exposed to the elements all time.
Inflatable rafts, dinghy rafts or rigid inflatable rafts, all need some form of routine maintenance. A good nylon brush used with a mild type of detergent and the garden hose will keep your inflatable nice and clean. If you have to store your kayak outdoors, purchase a cockpit cover. This type of cover is like a spray skirt without the hole. Covering it will keep creepy crawlies out and prevent water from collecting on the inside. If you don’t have a cockpit cover, make sure that it is covered with some other type of cover. With a bit of routine maintenance, kayaks can look new for years!
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