frequency fiberglass boats need attention

I was looking at some fiberglass sea kayaks, in the $1000 range. they are much lighter. but on YouTube i saw lots of diy videos of kayakers 're applying glass fiber to the keel, reapplying gel coat etc. for someone who will be kayaking along the coast, amongst rocks and shallows, is GF forgiving of rock contact /contact with a quay ?

It depends. Do you want to paddle it or admire it? If you’re rough on it, some service will be needed to keep it water tight. If you treat it well and store inside, very infrequent care is needed, like once or twice a year waxing and protecting hatches and such. If you want a shiny showpiece you’ll spend a lot more time that you could be paddling.

If you’re going to be Rick gardening go poly.

At some point you will hit a rock if you are around them, drop a boat on concrete accidentally when moving it around launch sites. If a plastic boat you can get a gouge. Nothing fatal, just live with it. If a fiberglass boat with gel coat you can lose some gel coat. It is very easy to fix up unless you get a colored hull, making a color match matter. White hull doesn’t have that problem. If almost any non-plastic material, you could get spider cracks. Not enough to need a patch but worth stabilizing. Tenacious tape or Captain Jack’s Spider Crack stuff, either will hold for years.

The boat is a tool, one that allows you to get on the water. At some point it gets used and that use may show. It is no big deal whatever material, you just have to accept it and deal as needed.

Oddly most non rental boats on the Maine coast seem to be glass or Kevlar
We have one 26 years old

Right now my wife and I have a fiberglass/Kevlar kayaks that we both like a lot. For the lakes and bays I paddle here in New Jersey (mostly sandy bottoms) they’re fine. But every year my wife and I take our boats up to Nova Scotia for a month where the Atlantic coast is pretty much all very coarse granite, so before we go I put a couple of maybe 2’ strips of gorilla tape on the keels at the bows and sterns and it does a decent job. (I should probably make this permanent with some KeelEazy tape).

As much as I like, and prefer, fiberglass I’m thinking of buying two more boats in poly for rougher conditions.

I don’t think I’m too precious about my boats and I don’t mind a few scratches but I take good care of all my “stuff” and I paid quite a lot for the boats and I’d like them to last as long as possible.

We used to have plastic. Both got holed on sharp Maine rocks. Back in the day there wasn’t a good fix for them
We moved to glass as they were more repairable and less throwaway
Once you scrape all the bottom there isn’t a good way to fix it on a plastic boat

@kfbrady said:
I put a couple of maybe 2’ strips of gorilla tape on the keels at the bows and sterns and it does a decent job.

What a great idea. Thanks!

Keel strips are pretty easy to install, especially something like the Keel Easy strips mentioned, will go a long way for landing on rough surfaces.
$1k for a good fiberglass boat is a great deal, and not uncommon nowadays, even for a relevant model. Used to be a $1k glass boat had been rode hard and put away wet, and would need some work to get it seaworthy again.
If you don’t plan on rock gardening, and bashing it off rocks, then the occasional bump isn’t going to do much to a well built glass boat.

Agree with all here. I have a 2009 WS Tempest Pro in fiberglass. And though I scratch it on nearly every ocean trip it is easily repairable. I probably go after serious scratches twice a season (in New England a season is between April and October). Wax it once or twice as well. Color matching scratches can be a problem if you care about that, but I don’t mind a few scars.

I’m a Boston Bruins fan and in the 1970 as goalie masks were becoming a thing, Gerry Cheevers wore a simple fiberglass mask. Every time he got hit with a puck it would leave a black mark and he took a magic marker and drew stitches on it as a sign of the stitches the mask saved on his face. Late in his career it looked like this:

I’m seriously considering doing the same thing to the scratches/cracks I repair in my boat now.