Clear Gel Coat Scratches : (

Hey guys. I’ve got quite a few scratches on my clear gel coat from this weekend. I went to Yosemite and paddled the Merced river thru the valley floor…yeah, I know it’s not for carbon fiber boats, but I just could not resist. Now I need to attempt to remove all the scratches that I got running over rocks.

Any suggestions? Wax, rubbing compound?


scratches are badges of courage …
i doubt you can ‘remove’ them and why should you bother. during the life of the boat, you’re going to accumulate many more scratches. it’s inevitable and simply part of paddling the boat. if you stress over each scratch, you’ll not enjoy the paddling of it much.

It shows you actually use the boat. Don’t worry about the scratches.

Yeah, I gotcha
Badge of courage…I like that. Wish I was there again today. I also understand what yer saying bout leavin the scratches as a sign of use. That’s cool.

I’ll probably use my truck wax any ole way in an effort to remove some of em. Dunno, I wax my truck…reckon I’ll wax ma boat.

Just thought there might be something that paddlers use on there clear carbon sweetie pies to keep em looking good.

Thanks dudes,


– Last Updated: Oct-10-06 5:53 PM EST –

I have multiple boats.

Some of them I classify as my "beater boats". Those are all Royalex; they will get more scratches & I'm not going to get too stressed out about it. However, I do make an effort to take care of my investment. I typically spray them off with water after every use, and then I use a light coat of 303 before I store them.

On more expensive boats made of kevlar I use basically the same method, but during the hose down with water, I make an attempt to scrub the dirt & grunge out of the scratches & scrapes.
Then I apply the 303.

Bottom line; I use more care when I'm paddling one of my boats that cost 2 or 3 times what one of my "beaters" cost.

You might invest in a "beater boat" to use on "some" rivers, instead of tearing up a high dollar kevlar/carbon fiber boat.

If you like the "badges of courage" analogy, by all means go for it........hope you have a thick wallet.

If scratches are "badges of courage"; is having your $2,500.00 carbon fiber boat, wrapped around a strainer, or a boulder, somewhat akin to winning the Medal of Honor?


P.S. I have seen a lot of very nice, high dollar boats, that were in terrible condition (an Old Town Canadienne & a MR Malecite come to mind), simply because the person paddling the boat had money to burn(usually mommy or daddys), and had absolutely no idea what the hell they were doing with a canoe. That ain't courage; that's stupidity!

takes out the light ones. I was practicing the reentries into my glass P&H Quest, and the knife on my pfd scratched the area behind the cockpit in several places. Use gel and not something with grit. Take your time and be gentle. You will be surprised by the result.

For those of you who have headlights on your cars where the lenses have yellowed and you nearly had a stroke when the dealer told you what it cost to replace the part… works just as well there. A dremel tool and a tube of toothpaste and your headlights will light up the night again.

I live in deepest darkest boonies, our state road could qualify as single-track. I need my high beams to shine. Give er a try and save $150.

Jim in Virginia.

2 part epoxy (Devcon)

– Last Updated: Oct-10-06 10:46 PM EST –

for fiberglass works great. "Just" fill the scratches with epoxy (use a razor blade or shaft from a broken off Q-tip) and then put on some blue nitrile gloves from Autozone. You can run your gloved finger over the epoxy filled scratch to smooth out the epoxy. The scratch will disapear and be sealed! Wipe the epoxy off your gloved finger as needed.

The other option is to use a super fine rubbing compound, can find at Autozone called G7 or somethign like that. But then you are removing material and weakening the hull. But maybe if you used a Q-tip and G7 to just rub the scratch it would not remove too much material.

black Kiwi shoe polish
If your boat is black with clear gel coat then you can apply a little bit of black Kiwi shoe polish and the scratches will be hidden.

My two carbon boats have lots of scratches and I don’t worry about them. I think there’s a product out there that actually melts the gelcoat a bit and will make a boat look perfect but it sounds too volatile for my preference.

Nothing else will really affect the scratches…good luck with wax…even abrasive polishing wax probably won’t do anything.

303 also hides the scratches a bit and it makes the boat happy.