coating plastic boats

My ex-gf just bought a plastic kayak and commented her first time out that dragging it on-shore scratched the bottom.

She wanted to know if there is some coating you can put over the plastic bottom that will protect it.

I suggested beaching on sand but said i’d ask the experts.

plastic scratches
The reality is plastic scratches easily. There’s nothing you can put on the boat to prevent that entirely. All you can do, if it bothers you, is avoid running up on stuff, or dragging the boat anywhere. The good news is that unless it’s really extreme (like dragging the keel across a parking lot) it won’t do serious harm.

Kayaking resume
All those scratches are like a resume showing where you’ve been, what you’ve seen and what you did.

If I see a boat with completely no scratches come off a vehicle I get slightly apprehensive. Is this someone who has never paddled before, or someone that just bought a brand new boat i.e. maiden voyage. I usually end up asking because I’m curious to get a closer look at the kayak.

don’t worry about scratches
Scratches basically have zero effect on a boat’s performance. You might think that in principle scratches or fuzziness would increase friction, but the effect is so tiny it makes zero difference practically. When I got my first kayaks, a matched pair of rotomolded Cape Horns, I was careful to keep scratches to a minimum for the first couple of years. Then one day my brother-in-law dragged one of them at top speed down a long series of rough granite steps and gouged it up badly. It looked terrible, but afterwards I couldn’t tell one bit of difference in the way it paddled compared to the other smooth one.

If she just doesn’t like
scratches, a kayak cart might help her to get it up off the ground.

It depends…
If you look at my glass boat it shows minimal wear along the hull although I’ve been paddling it sometimes twice a week for over two years. I don’t baby it but I also take a little care in how I launch and beach it. This is where the most abuse comes from. I see people run their kayaks right up on shore no matter what. I’ve see guys push their girl friends kayaks into the water while they’re sitting in it. I guess they don’t want to get their feet wet? Anyway, If you’re on sand this is all fine but rocks will do some damage. Just have fun with it. Float the kayak before you enter it and avoid rocks. That’s all you can do. A little wear adds character. :wink:


Scratches happen
She should get used to it. That said, it is possible to wear the plastic thin if you are do this excessively. But the usual pulling-up-on-shore use won’t do that - it’s dragging it all the way to the car rather than getting a cart that’ll really do a job on the boat.

Also, sand is actually harder on a bottom than nice hard round river rocks.

Use a cart
Dragging will scratch a hull, plastic or not. If they’re minor scratches it’s no big deal but sometimes with plastic they leave long strands of peelings from deep scratches. Over time, this can’t possibly be good for the boat or its speed.

You can shave off the peelings–I used a plastic razor to do so–but you can’t do much about the remaining grooves.

It’s best to get in the habit of either carrying the boat or carting it.

Every time I drive my truck…
The tires wear out a little bit more!

Paddle the thing.

Good point. :slight_smile:
Well said.

Chicks dig scars …
Scratched kayaks are sexy don’t you know?

Sand vs rocks
Actually rocks can do less damage than sand. I’ve pulled my glass boat up the beach and there was a faint trail of white gel coat the whole way. Rocks, unless they’re the sharp pointy kind can act as ball bearings.

Scratches happen. Wear them with pride.

I don’t know. In my area it’s either jagged rocks or sand and mud. I choose sand and mud for a safer landing any day. Point is, I don’t worry about it too much and my kayak is still looking pretty good after a few years of steady use.


I save on scratches by picking it up

Any one that drags a boat of any
material over gravel or concrete should be ashamed of themselves !

Plain and simple

Jack L

I did it once …
… Plastic boat, over sand. Pamlico 145T. After a typical beginner’s adventure, I ended up on the other side of a sandbar from where I wanted to be, tired and sore. To go back out and around would have meant back into water I was not ready to face again. Too tired to carry the thing, I dragged it across. Through the sun bathers. Of course one smart a$$ had to ask “wouldn’t be easier to paddle around?”.

Sand is generally no problem
Note, I said “gravel or concrete”

Jack L

Also, rocks and shells
Oyster, barnacle, mussel…sharp shells.

Sand gradually abrades. Sharp things cut.

If it weren’t for those bottom scratches
would she still be your girfriend?

Naw, she read his Paddle Naked bragpost
…and said “FU!”