I’ve always used 303 on all of my boats. Lately, I’ve heard some rumors that the fg and kevlar boats would be better served by using Starbright Boat Polish with Teflon. What do you think?
FG and Kevlar boats are not harmed
by 303. The products you mention are more for restoring surface finish, though perhaps they have UV protection in them.
I did a “Starbrite” Review…
I didn't like the smeary, greasy feeling that 303 left on my Composite kayak so I went to the local powerboat shop and asked for the "Best thing" to use on my kayak. The service manager told me he uses, and feels the Star Bright Marine Polish with Teflon is the best thing on the market for a Gel Coat finish. I agree, and here is why.
The Star Bright Marine Polish with Teflon states right on the front it it contains Extra UV protection. Boats often sit on the sun all of the time, and this "extra" protection is good to have.
303 is great for rotomolded kayaks, but it left my composite kayak feeling greasy. Also water washes it off after a while, so you need to repeat the coatings. I hated the greasy feeling.
The star bright contains Teflon. Teflon does not attract dirt, and it is one of the best non stick agents in the world. When I am done kayaking, if any "river scum" is on the hull, it wipes right off with water.
I asked some questions here on P-Net about Waxes verses Polish. The replies came back that waxes on boats actually cause some drag, but Polishes make the surface more slippery, and water runs off in sheets. What this means is there is less friction between the hull and the water, and therefore "should" make the kayak able to go a little faster. I test paddled my new composite kayak on the way home from the shop as the hull was bare. I went home and used the starbright polish with teflon on it, and "to me" it had better glide, and took less effort to paddle. It could be just my imagination, but it feels better to me.
303 will work on fiberglass and it will not hurt it, but I feel the Starbright Marine Polish with Teflon is a lot better.
Buy a bottle, clean off your hull with a good detergent (dish detergent takes anything off), and put two coats of the star bright on the hull. I'll bet you don't go back to 303 for a composite boat. The Starbrite was "made" for Gel Coated boats (fiberglass, carbon, or kevlar), 303 was made to work on a lot of things. It works on some things better then others.
I think that with the teflon, and the "extra" UV protection, it is super stuff! :)
Happy Paddling! :)
I am definately going to try the starbrite polish. How often do you apply the stuff? Once, twice a season?
i’ve used similar products and had good results on sailboats, etc. never used it on my canoe because of the abrasion factor. the polish i used worked by actually removing a small percentage of the paint, dirt, and all. looked great, but i was wary since canoes are typically smaller than sailboats.
Every spring, and then when needed
I use the starbrite marine polish with Teflon every spring, and then when needed. Maybe one additional coat mid summer or so. It depends on how much you use the boat.
Don’t confuse Polishes with Cleaners. This is not a cleaner like actual cleaners you can buy. It will clean off some oxidized gel coat if there is any on the boat the first time you use it, but it is not designed as a cleaner.
Waxes, are just that. They are made from “wax”. I made the mistake of using a good “wood” wax on my wood paddle. It gave it such a gummy surface on the shaft that I got a blister from it. I never had a blister from paddling. I used mineral spirits to take off the wax, and put the star brite on the paddle. and that worked super.
Polishes do not have “wax” in them, they are designed to coat the surface, and protect it. I am sorry but I am not an expert, so I don’t know what they use in it. All I know is it really works.
You got it wrong on “polishes” and speed
For speed, you want a coating which causes a film of water to adhere to the surface. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it has been well-researched in ship design.
Different schools of thought - not facts
The true object is to have the smoothest boundary layer possible. Some say a super smooth polished finish (glass-like) does that best - others swear by a rougher version of smooth (400-600 grit sanded) that the first layer of water clings too - and still others say a coating that actually goes a bit further and attracts and holds the boundary layer in place is best.
Truth depends on application. For kayaks - too damn small an effect to worry about (despite marketing claims). Normal light duty hull scratches have 10x these effects on boundary layer (hull draggers take note) yet few worry about them.
Whatever “Tweaks your Beak”
I guess the bottom line is whatever you personnally like. I like 303 on plastics, but not on Composites with Gel Coat.
I like the Star Brite best on Gel Coat. I won’t venture to say one is better than the other. I just have my opinion on what I like and why.
You know the old saying… “Opinions are like noses, most everybody has one”.
Whatever tweaks your beak!
Where can I find Starbright?
As a soon-to-be-new-owner of a composite (Airalite)kayak, I would like to try Starbright. Where might I find some?
~ Arwen ~
Another vote for Starbright
Does a great job of cleaning as well. I only use it on my deck. Got mine at West Marine.
Isn’t UV protection
the main claim to fame for 303? That’s what most of the threads I’ve read said they use for UV protection and that’s what’s promoted on the bottle.
BTW - Starbrite rocks!
I have turned a lot of folks on to it here too. Others are now doing a good enough job pimpin’ it that I don’t need to.
Don’t neglect the hull
I get some dirty water here - and it really helps the crude shed off and not stain.
Try a search…
I just typed "Star brite marine polish with teflon" into my internet "home page" and did an internet search. The 1st 8 options that came up listed it.
I buy mine at the local powerboat shop. Try a search on the internet. I am sure you will come up with someplace to get it.
This is just one of those things that you have to try it to really believe how great it is.
It is also super for the new Thermo Formed plastic boats. This Thermo Formed plastic has a harder surface than most rotomolded boats, and it works great on them. I use it on my wife's Hurricane A.S. Tampico.
I doubt that Starbrite or any available
boat coating has MORE UV protection than 303.
UV is not the reason
Gelcoat is ALREADY a UV block. The polish’s UV inhibiting is a bonus, not a primary concern.
303’s other wonderful properties are usless and wasted on gelcoated composites. Just greasy. Save the 303 for plastic, rubber, fabrics, etc.
I am fairly new to kayaks, but have been messing around with fiberglass boats forever. I have always used wax with a UV inhibitor on gel coat. Ive used Starbright a couple of times and find that it is similar to a good wax, (I cant tell any differance).
I was once told by a manufacturer of fiberglass boats during a factory visit that the very best thing that could be done to a brand new fiberlass/gelcoat boat was to put a good coat of wax on it. Ive always done that.
I started reading on this forum about 303 and deceided to try it. Now, this particular thread points out that 303 is more for the plastic yaks than for composite yaks. Well, I did go and read the lable on 303 and then visited the manufacturers website. Ill stick with wax/starbright on composites and will use 303 on plastic when I get a plastic yak.
Does Star Brite remove gel coat?
It does look like a good product. Just would like to know if it has ingredients that either has abrasives or chemicals to remove oxidation, i.e., it removes some of the gel coat in order to clean it or simply removes dirt and adds the teflon.
I was reading a fine book on fiberglass and gelcoat repair that stated that frequent cleaning of gelcoat can make it last in good shape for 10 or more years, but if you let the oxidation and or dirt get deeper it cannot simply be cleaned and polished. They did not feel that frequent use of oxidizers was warranted nor a good idea. Help from those who know more than me!
One Thing Against Starbrite…
It was either the Miami Dolphins or the Heat had their cheerleaders sponsored by Starbrite and they were called “The Starbrites”. I always thought that was really lame (gay)…