303 alternatives?

Seems to be the general consensus that the only protectant is 303 and I have seen some people hesitantly suggest that “son of a gun” or “armorall” would work just as well.

I dunno…just asking as my bottle of 303 is about to run out.


I switched to the 303
many moons ago, mainly because it supposedly is environmentallly better.

I found by using it it that it does seem to do a better job than armorall although it costs quite a bit more.



303 for Roto Plastic
IMHO, I think 303 is better than the other items you mentioned for roto molded plastic, vinyl and rubber. I am a big fan of it. I used it on my roto molded kayak, and I still use it on the tires of all of my vehicles, and the awning of my camper. I think it does a great job.


I like another product better, for HARD surface materials. I use this on my Composite Kayak, Plexiglas, and my wife’s Thermo Formed Plastic kayak. I even use it on the plastic back window of my convertable car (Mazda Miata).

I really like the “Star Brite Marine Polish, with Teflon”. It states it has “Extra” U-V protection in it. I think this is SUPER stuff. You can read several reviews done on this here on P-Net. I think this is better for a hard smooth surface than 303. It protects from UV rays, as well as making the boat slicker, and easier to clean. There is alwaysd a scum line on my kayak when I boat on the local river, and with the “Star Brite with Teflon” on it, the scum is less, and it wipes off easier.

303 is great for a softer surface plastic, and Star Brite is ther best for a harder smooth surface. Two coats of Star Brite, and you will be amazed at how smooth the surface is. I have used it for 4 years now on composite kayaks, and will continue to use it!

Happy Paddling!

Armorall is garbage!
Not only does it make things excessively slippery, it also causes long-term damage to rubber and vinyl, the very surfaces it claims to protect. I don’t know about “Son of a Gun”, but I’d hesitate to use anything that’s made for the automotive market on my kayaking gear, as there’s a lot of “snake oil” (like Armorall) that’s being pawned off on an ususpecting public.

UV Inhibiters
You CAN use 303 equally as well on gelcoated surfaces, and poly as you stated. Most manufacturers of Kevlar, Fiberglass or Graphite/Carbon boats with a gel or skin coat recommend it. Do follow the instructions to a ‘T’ though and buff it out with consecutive dry cloths till it is no longer slick, it is a chemical bond and doesn’t need to be left slimey to be protecting your hull. Another good alternative to 303 is ‘UV Tech’ made by McNett, some seem to think it may perform better than 303 and it applies in the same fashion. Good luck!

Auto Upholstery
I was in the auto upholstery business for 32 years and I have seen Armourall totally destroy dashes,convertible tops,vinyl tops and other trim parts in a very short time (months).It was common knowledge in the industry and we would often tell customers not to use it. It would turn the parts black and brittle,then they would crack.It was selective however,it seemed harmless to some types of plastics and murder on others and it would crack tires too.

It probably wouldn’t hurt gelcoat but I wouldn’t even take the chance,303 may be a bit expensive but a small bottle still lasts a long time and I use it fairly regularly.Kayaking is not that expensive a sport compared to some hobbies so just splurge for the 303 just to be safe.


INSTRUCTIONS!!! You have got to
be kidding! It really says that? No wonder my boat was slick.

I thought you didn’t need to worry about putting sunscreen on a fiberglass boat? I picked up an overpriced can of 3M Marine Boat Wax paste, this summer to polish up after a gelcoat repair. It says it provides uv protection, and the little spot I did came out great. Just like using turtle wax on the car. I thought I would do that before I put the boats up for the year. That should be sufficient UV protection for a gel coat on fiberglass boat, shouldn’t it?

Diferences between Polish & Wax

– Last Updated: Oct-14-05 2:32 PM EST –

There is a differerence between a Polish and a Wax. I am not an expert enough to fully explain, so I will say what I understand.

Wax is just that. It puts a coating on the gelcoat, and this is not a water slick surface. I have read where waxes can actually add drag to the hull of a composite boat. I don't want to add drag to the hull of my kayak. As an example, I put a high grade wood wax on my wood paddles. The friction on the surface of the paddle shaft from the wax gave me a big blister the first hour I paddled with it. I went home and stripped the wax with mineral spitits. I put two coats of the Star Brite on it, and have had no trouble since.

A Polish is as it says. It polishes the surface to make it smoother and shiny. It also cleans the surface too. Be carefull as some polishes are mechanical, meaning there is abrasive grit in the polish. I guess after time you could "polish" a hole in a kayak, but it would take a LONG time.

Star brite Marine Polish with Teflon is specifically made for gel coat surfaces, in a marine environment. Bingo.. Kayaks are for that too! :) Star Brite does not contain mechanical abrasive cleaners, but uses less invasive chemical cleaner to remove oxidized Gel Coat, and polish the surface smooth and slick. The first time I applied it to my kayak when new, the rag became a little orange from the surface oxidized gel coat it cleaned off. The rag has never been orange since then. I take that to mean the Star Brite UV protection worked and did it's job.

303 is great, and if you prefer it for gel coat, go for it. I like the Star Brite better. Just MHO. :)

Nope, I don't work for or sell the Star Bright, I just am really impressed with it.

Whatever you use, don’t use Armor-All
It looks good at first but eventually dries out the stuff it’s supposed to protect.

I inherited a bottle of Armorall from my
son, and I am using it up on my ABS WW canoe. If it causes my canoe to crack into little bits, I will get to buy a new canoe. However, it goes on a little easier than 303, and it dries DRY, without a greasy, slimy feeling. It also does not smell like it is full of petroleum solvents.

Looks like I win either way. And if I DON’T get a new boat out of the deal, I will at least have exposed an urban myth.

believe me this works
I use a car wash soap and mix it with “Murphy’s Oil” works great leaves a shine and protects. I do this about every 2nd or 3rd time i come in from the water. Safe for all surfaces and easy to use. my canoe and kayak dont feel "slimy. They feel slippery and clean.

Sierraman’s mixture would get things nice and clean. I’ve cleaned up my canoes with similar mixtures many times. More often though I just use straight Murphy’s Oil soap (diluted in warm water of course) for cleaning – sans the other cleaners. The Murphy’s “heritage” is as an “earth friendly” cleaner that removes wax and leaves no residue of any sort (from what Colgate ad copy states). It’s readily available in many types of stores and not expensive – cool in my book.

To keep things clean longer (resist scum rings, etc.) and to inhibit UV damage – one still needs to apply something else after cleaning.

Enter 303 or other UV blockers. My take on it from what I’ve read here (in many threads) and according to the 303 company’s ad copy this product is also earth friendly (some other products are clearly not). Most P.netters tend to agree that it does a fine job of UV protection. The only drawbacks seem to be the price per unit (compared to say Armor-All) and easy availability.

A little 303 goes a long way - a quart would last most people with a small collection of boats a season or better. The cost per unit goes way down when a person buys in larger volume than the small 8 & 16 Oz. bottles commonly available at many boat shops. Ordering directly from the manufacturer or other online dealers “two-fer” & refill bottle size deals are available (plus shipping). Your local boat shop (if you have one) might offer similar discounts by volume.

303 is worth it in my book. Randall

I have a kevlar kayak and after using it in salt water rinse the boat thoroughly. Do I have to apply 303 each time the boat is rinsed/washed with soap and water? Just finished doing just that and was hoping I can just get away with freshwater rinse a couple more times before applying more 303. What do you think?

303 about two or three times a year
store the boat inside of someething dont let sunlight into the cockpit for days on end. Paddle it lots.

Other 303 uses
Other great uses for 303 is to use it on your PFD’s and spray skirt’s. The uv protection from it really keeps them from fading and breaking down.


– Last Updated: Oct-17-05 2:45 PM EST –

are NOT for roto boats. They actually advise prospective purchasers to NOT put it on the plastic/PE materials roto boats are made of. It may be fine for some applications on your cars, but:

Step AWAY from your roto PE yaks with the Armorall!

Depending on how/where you store your boats, 303 them at different frequencies.

We store ours outdoors here in (usually) sunny South FLorida -but they're fairly well shaded by our palm trees. I 303 the boats about every 4-6 weeks these days, and it seems to work just fine.

Yes, 303 slicks your boats up (or down, take your pick), and yes, it's relatively expensive compared to a lot of other possible products that claim to do the same, but I think it's quite a good investment. After all, for the most part, we didn't exactly pay nothing for our boats -so why not invest in a good protectant to maintain our larger, more costly investment(s) in good shape?

Besides, when it's slick, it may help you slide it on your rack a little easier & faster, as well as perhaps increasing your speed as you


-Frank in Miami

doesn’t 303 just was right off?
if it makes it slick then is it still slick after you take it out of the water?

UV Tech
I use something called “UV Tech” by McNett on my boats. Cleans (surface-y stuff anyway) and protects. I can’t offer a comparison to 303, though, since this is all I have ever used–no reason for me to change, I like what it does to the boats and this Florida sunshine hasn’t faded them yet (not that they are stored in the sun, but they do spend a fair amount of time under it).



303 seems good…
until ya try to put yer yak up in its overhead storage area, and realize how slick it really makes the boat. It does seem to last for a lot of trips before it washs off.