Black Kayaks

i am considering buying an old low volume greenland style fiberglass kayak and having it painted black over black with yellow accents and maybe a yellow keelstrip.

the present color is white over white. i will probably have it painted over by a autobody shop with an awlgrip type of marine friendly coating.

i am wondering what your thoughts are about black hulls or decks or painting in general.

i understand the obvious issues with the above but this is kind of a fun project and thought it’d be kind of cool. i just want to make sure i’m not doing something i’ll regret.

two things
Depending on where you live, a black boat could be really hot in the summer (and possibly warmer in winter). Not to mention sitting up on a roof rack during the day, may need some oven mits to get it down. Black will show every little scrape you get. All that said I do like the black greenland style kayaks, very stealthy looking.

howdy -

as the proud papa of a black/black explorer (her name is betty) i can attest to every little scratch and scuff showing.

there is a polymer you can buy that essentially “fills in” the little stuff and makes em look like new again. your local shop may have it…if not give tom a call at maine island kayak…i think he carries it.

as far as baking on the roof…as long as the boat is a reasonable distance from the cap of my truck (also black) the boat does not get all that much warmer than any boat anging out in the sun. i do make certain to loosen the straps though if i am going to leave it sitting up there and we aren’t travelling to our next put-in.

in all…looks great and little downside i’ve experienced.

I have a canoe…
…that has black gun’nuls. It would raise a

welt on the underside of my forearm on hot days.

Of course I was cruising swamps in south Mississippi and La in August!

My black boat
Haven’t found that it gets hot in the summer or winter.

Power boats
The only thing I can think of about a black yak is that you might not be seen as easily by power boats .


should look great
but I wouldn’t take it south in the summer, or anywhere around boat traffic near dark. In Florida in the summer, it may get hot enough to degrade the fiberglass.

I used to have an 18’ Prindle beach cat with black sails, had to be really careful and carry lots of lighting at night.

black over white
Black Betty is black through and through. She is as black inside the boat as she is outside. A scratch shows but is still black.

If you were to have your white boat painted, when scratched, the white would show through.

You may want to consider that.


Homeland Security
Might cast a suspicious eye on you!

But seriously, doesn’t black also radiate heat more effectively than lighter colors? Does this matter?


Having served in many Coast Guard Rescue operations, any boat must be seen on the water. A kayak is a miniscule speck of a boat especially on rough dark water. Nobody expects disaster but on the water in a small boat it can happen, and fast. A black yak is a death wish. Black maybe a style statement, but consider only light bright colors that can be seen against dark blue or black water. Accidents do happen.

I’m open for other suggestions…
i kinda want to do something fun with this boat. black was just an idea.

i’d love to hear some other suggestions for “new” look.

I’d only paint
over gelcoat, or even paint, if the boat needed rehab.

Consider some vinyl tape/graphics. If you can find the wide stuff there is little you can’t do.

Personally, the more “Greelandic” looking the boat, the more I think plain solid colors look best. White being a good one. I’d leave it alone (and I’m a designer that naturally tweaks/customizes a lot of my stuff - more to the functional side though).

Nigel Dennis
Nigel Dennis said in a talk at Canoecopia that black is the most visible color. I assume he meant in rough conditions - the contrast of black against white surf.

I’d be worried about painting gel coat, I’ve seen it done and it doesn’t seem anywhere near as durable. That was with Dupont Imron applied by a pro, and on a sailboat that didn’t get handled as rough as a kayak usually is (at least around rocks…).

Black Explorers
Here is a link to the website that has photos of black nkd explorers that went around Iceland in 2003. It was a trip done by Shawna Franklin, Leon Somme, and Chris Duff.

only in a bag!

– Last Updated: Jan-21-05 8:39 PM EST –

I have 21' kayak made of 1/2 kv/carbon & didn't consider all carbon for kansas summers. I know many guys with carbon c-1's, all put in bags after paddling. I have seen carbon downriver kayaks, but mostly bagged for travel. I've got to go with Waterdg for safety.

I’ve got a black Ammassilik…
Looks great, but alas, it’s tough to see on the water.

Raked, fast & sexy!
Beautiful, I will have a Greenland style someday, before I hang it up. Already got the paddle!

Go Orca
I would agree a black or blue colored boat is asking for trouble … but I sure like the paint job on this surfyak…

In picking my kayak, color was a major decision. My canoe is dark green but I sit up high and my PFD is bright yellow/orange. So I bought my kayak in yellow. A black kayak is like asking to get run over by a powerboat (if you are in that area).

A burnt orange color might look cool.

It’s Even More Striking Up Close…
Thankfully, we don’t have as many problems and situations with large, carnivorous fin equipped hunters as you all do out there. :slight_smile: