I'm putting dings in my boat!

I’ve been kayaking on and off for a few years and finally bought a fiberglass boat. I’ve found my paddling style evolving from low-angle to high-angle. As a result, I find myself paddling closer to the boat and I occasionally “tap” the edge of the boat where it makes the hard transition from deck to hull. I’ve put several small chips in the gelcoat. Rather than repeatedly repair the dings (I’m totally comfortable making minor touch-up repairs to gelcoat) I think I’d rather put some kind of “rub strip” or stick-on protective padding there to take the abuse. I figure that, over time, I’ll outgrow this boat and will want to sell it so I don’t want to add anything permanent.

Any ideas?

There is a clear tape available
for cars and motorcycles to prevent stone chips. I don’t remember what it’s called but I’m sure Google does…

Clear Shelf Paper
There is “special tape” but what I’ve done on my racing boats that works really well is just cut pieces to size of clear shelf paper (contact paper). Then clean your boat, dry very, very well and put the shelf paper down. Rub hard.

I’ve found that it lasts all season in both fresh and saltwater. At the end of the each year I take it off, throughly clean the boat and reapply a fresh layer.

Works for me.

Good call!
I discovered (by Googling) that 3M/Scotchgard makes a clear “paint protection film” for cars and boats that you apply to protect against stone chips, etc. Seems to be pretty durable … or at least that’s what their website says. 3M’s on-line store has small rolls (6" x 12") on sale for $4.

I like that idea, too! (nm)

You arre hurting the boat with a paddle??

What is it made of?

I’ve dinged mine a bit also

– Last Updated: Jul-25-08 9:56 AM EST –

gelcoat is relatively soft. I consider them character lines....

The paddle is carbon fiber.

I wonder if

– Last Updated: Jul-25-08 7:46 PM EST –

the clear tape will allow the sun to fade the color evenly. I have numerous decals on a poly kayak which the sun has faded. After removing some of the decals the underside still looks new.I tried everything gentle at first to bring the color back on the kayak that is faded but even sanding and buffing won't do it.

Enyoy the FG kayak.

Paddlin' on

yo have a little dingy…

…in your boat?

Apply reflective tape…
to the areas of contact. Increases visibility and can easily be replaced.

change how you paddle
Even with a high angle stroke the paddle blade should move gradually away from the boat. I would guess that you are bending your arm and not rotating enough. Have someone who is competent watch you paddle.

Plasti Dip - a possibility . . .
I have dinged the shearline of my wood-fiberglass boat, bumping the park ranger’s crappy boat-trailer racks. Since I dislike this same vulnerability, I have corresponded with the Plasti Dip company online. They recommend one of their rubber-based dip products that can be painted or sprayed on. This is like the very durable rubber grips you find on quality tools. I am still exploring this possibility - both for the shearlines of our boats and, eventually, for possibly painting below the waterline - as we have much underwater rock monsters in our NC paddling country. One consideration to check out is the amount of weight that would be added, but after much research, this is the most durable option I have come up with to protect boats that are not poly-constructed.

…your priorities need tougher water!
True, working on your stroke is a starting point, but start pushing yourself by getting out into tougher water = more fun will be returned…

Paddling for years.
My Explorer has had 4 holes, lots of scrapes, its horrible to look at but the padle has never hurt it.


Don’t have this problem, but it occurs…
…to me that a piece of the slit foam tubes sold at hardware stores as pipe insulation could be taped on. Would look ugly, but should work.

Fixing gel coat v. fixing paddle stroke.
It seems you’re treating the symptoms, not the cause. If you’re banging your boat on your forward stroke, that can be corrected. I used to have the same problem!

A tip that Nigel Foster told me that seems to have worked well over the years: rather than using the on water hand to initiate the catch, focus on using the off water hand to direct the paddle into position for the catch. In this sense, the bottom hand works as a bit of a pivot point, and the top hand simple swings the paddle down into position. This will make for an even higher angle and a cleaner catch.

Not sure if that makes sense in writing or not!

Number Plate Film for Motorcycles

I’ve applied this to all the boats in the ‘quiver.’ It’s bulletproof stuff, comes in colors, but the clear works fine in most applications.

Beat way to apply is to slice a thin strip (1/8") off the hard edge with an X-Acto or paper cutter-it’s cleaner to do this as the factory edge has the adhesive oozing out. You can trim it to whatever size or shape/s you require with paper templates or freehand.

Let the sheet sit in the sun a bit to soften it, then apply, smoothing from the center out to avoid air bubbles. I also use a plastic tool handle to burnish it down for an ultra clean look. Any pockets of air can be pricked with a needle in the center and the trapped air burnished out. Great for the strike zones on the deck or under bungees, etc. to prevent scratches. I’m a little AR about the look of my boats, even though I use them-this helps them look great longer and definitely pays off at resale time.

Your boat has battle scars, so what? It shows you use it.

Paddle easy,


Good suggestion …
…which I’ll try the next time I’m out!