Has anyone here worn out a poly boat?

I keep seeing the figure 10-15 years as a lifespan for poly boats with proper storage.

Out of curiosity, has anyone here actually completely “worn out” a poly boat to the point it was unusable, if so; what did you observe happening with it.

Caveat: it was well-worn when I bought it, and I give it little care. But the hull had so many scratches and gouges that aftre another two years of the same, the hull broke through along a few deep scratches.

20 plus
I know a guy who has a faded Prjon Seayak and its over 20 years old and its kept outside on his van most of the summer and never put 303 on it. But Prijon are real thick type plastic. Not sure if other brands would last that long under those conditions.

I think the real killer of most plastic boats is sun and general aging, not wear through. As plastics are exposed to sun, they get brittle. At some point, it may crack.

I do a lot of rock gardening, and know a lot of others who do so. We don’t always get over the rocks/barnacles/muscles cleanly. So our boats have lots of scratches. But I can’t recall having seen a boat die from being worn through. If the rocks cause them to die, it is due to some trauma (ramming straight into rick and causing it to bend too far or crack).

I’ve seen boats that had a hole worn through on the stern from repeatedly being dragged over pavement.

So with the boats that were dragged or scratched badly, would it be possible to lay in pieces of poly with some welding to reinforce them (however crude it might look) ?

I’m wondering if the functional life of one of these could be basically indefinite if you keep patching it and don’t let it sit in the sun…

Had one of those
While the only dragging it got was over rocks and clam beds and never pavement a hole in the stern defied repair. It was an early 90’s boat… one of the first seakayaks in poly…

Then we went to the more repairable Kevlar and glass.

My Perception poly Sage “Miss Piggy”
began cracking up and breaking under the cockpit. This was after less than 5 years.

I talked to Perception, and they said, well, what can one expect with UV?

That is the biggest killer of them
If the idiot owners didn’t drag them they would last as long as they wanted to keep them.

Jack L

My Perception Swifty
finally got a small hole in the stern, after 9 years. Repaired by plastic welding and was still sound when stolen 4 years later.

Stored outside, in partial sun, in Florida.

I am not sure they still make them like that.

qualitiy changes ?

– Last Updated: Jul-07-14 8:52 PM EST –

Owners and experts comment on plastic boat changes ..for the better...or major upgrades noting the year improved ?

You know what degassing is right ? Corvettes degass. Are poly boats degassing but not specifically UV damage ?

A plastic boat may reside in garage but still brittle from degassing

Never seen it happen to a poly boat. ,
Not even to one of the poly Hersheys bottles we use for canteens. But I grant you, degassing is a phenomenon or process that really does occur in the right circumstances.

corvettes are poly?
I knew they’d moved on from second-rate composite…

not applicable
degassing is now a word used defining adequate processing not a pejorative indicting degradation after processing.

oxidative degradation, chlorine AGING, aging is used not degassing.

Papers seem to state an aging problem for investigation then qualify that aging under a load of if then that defies immediate understanding of what ‘aging’ could mean.

That is going thru the data could take an evening.

By chance, I drove by the local livery on Estero Creek where poly boats are staked high on a large frame. Top yaks exposed to vapor filtered Gulf sunshine.

Local noise was aware of my driving by shouting " we rotate the kayaks"

I’m pretty sure
My two poly kayaks will probably outlast me if looks are any indication. They are both several years old, but look like brand new. They have never been dragged on anything and they are stored indoors on nice soft air cushions. They take care of me on the water, so I reciprocate on land.

not uncommon to wear out
ww kayaks in a year or two of hard use. I dragged my kayak just the other day- paddling the northfork of the shoshone in wyoming- got to a class III I couldn’t see the bottom of so I dragged the boat up to the road and then back to the river. I ain’t afraid to drag the boat when its easier or safer, people rag on plastic but its good stuff but you can wear anything out if you try hard enough!


try this…


there’s a Wiki for polyethylene degradation


– Last Updated: Jul-09-14 9:04 AM EST –

I have seen a bunch of three layer polyethylene boats worn through into the foam core as a result of abrasion. Solid polyethylene boats more commonly die as a result of cracking than erosion through the entire hull.

Avoiding abrasion to polyethylene whitewater canoes and kayaks is often not an option. They get abraded running over rocky ledges. Many times river access points or portages around rapids involve steep carries over large rocks that require some dragging. Even in non-whitewater rivers hull bottoms can get pretty badly abraded in shallow rapids with gravelly bottoms.

I have seen a number of polyethylene kayaks and C-1s get brittle and crack over the years. Some of these were subjected to prolonged UV exposure but some were stored in protected environments. This seems to have been more common for boats manufactured in the 1980s and early 1990s for whatever reason. Some degraded within 5-10 years. On the other hand, I have seen plenty of 20+ year old polyethylene boats that seem to be doing fine, even if stored outdoors.

I suspect that UV exposure plays a role but I agree that other factors are at work in polyethylene degradation, whether they be temperature extremes, degassing, bacterial effects, or exposure to air-borne chemical agents.

My practical experience with poly is
worth ten times as much as those arcane articles.

NO ONE’s poly boat is going to disintegrate through those rare mechanisms. That information is useless to the average boater.

If I suspect my own ecperience on poly boats is insufficient, I consult pblanc, Eric Jackson, Woody at Liquid Logic, etc., etc.

Every year I contribute to Wikipedia. That does not mean I read their contributors uncritically.

Early plastic was more likely to crack
without reason. After “Miss Piggy” cracked up, about 1984, I had a friendly talk with Perception, and they said flatly that their expectation for crack free performance at the time was only about 5 years.