Kayak Maintenance

Dearly love my Cobra Fish 'Dive, and I want it to last, so I gotta take care of it! It stays outside under a tarp and I clean it every time I finish with it! I then give it a good coating with Armorall! Good idea, or waste of time? Any suggestions for something better? (Never have been able to get a response from Cobra!)

Would sincerely appreciate any and all advice!


put the armor all AWAY
NO armor all. bad. crap that washes off right away and does no good what so ever. If it’s stored under a tarp,all it needs is a wash after salt water use and thats it. periodic 303 on rubber hatch seals wouldn’t hurt if it has any rubber seals-but dont put it on neoprene.

Go you one better
put some 303 on the boat every two or three months

Armor All says do not use Armor All
Here we go again. I contacted Armor All over a year ago and asked them about its use on plastic boats. Here is the reply:

October 28, 2005

Dear …

Thank you for contacting us about Armor All Protectant - Original. We always appreciate hearing from our consumers.

We would not recommend that you use this product on a plastic boat. There are two reasons, the first is it is not waterproof and it will streak and the second is that many boat manufacturers treat the boats with something that may react with the silicone in the protectant. Please contact us at any time if you have additional questions.

Again, thank you for contacting us.


Patti Copper

Consumer Response Representative

Consumer Services

Some kayak manufacturers
warn against storing under a tarp in direct sunlight unless the tarp is suspended to keep an air space between the tarp and hull. Too much heat build up could cause the plastic to warp. You may want to rig up some type of frame to support the tarp and allow some air flow so it won’t get too hot under there.


– Last Updated: Sep-17-06 7:40 AM EST –

Thanks, Rider! And Peter! I appreciate the input! The general concensus tends to agree with you! So much for the Armorall!
Next question!
What is 303???

Agree wholeheartedly, mdloon! This Texas sun can be brutal on vinyl, rubber, plastic - - that sort of stuff! I built a “makeshift A-frame” that I set in the “Cadillac” (that’s what I call my kayak) before I cover it with a tarp, Helps prevent mildew, too!

I sincerely appreciate your response!

Thanks for the info, Hermiting! Guess I’ll stick to using that stuff on my pick-up!

Armor All
Own an older special interest convertible, and the consensus in the show and detailing realm is to avoid Armorall like the plague. I experienced this first hand after building up multiple coats on my white interior, then trustingly stored it away for the winter. In the spring, I found the Armorall had congealed into a sticky mess, trapping moisture and yellowing the seats. It took many hours with a toothbrush and citrus-based cleaner to remove the residue. Tires treated with it will turn orange after the first rain. Has the same effect as those that color their hair with pure peroxide-bizarre.

There are FAR better products out there (Meguiars and Mothers make several.) Armorall was one of the first protectant products out there, so it’s a recognized name. I’d use 303, and do. It doesn’t last very long, but truly does what it’s purported to do. All my boats shine like the day I bought 'em. Just a caveat, a freshly 303’d boat can be very slippery when putting it on or off your vehicle. My surf ski almost went shooting off the other side of the saddles one day…


– Last Updated: Sep-17-06 9:54 AM EST –

Thanks, Trilobite! Appreciate the info! I've never tried using Armorall on a long-term storage project, and based on what I've been reading, I doubt that I will!
Personally, I prefer the "Son-of-A-Gun" protecterant or the 3M equivilant, but they're both hard to find and the Armorall is readily available.
I've never heard of "303" until I got on this message board, so I have been doing a bit of "Google Research'!So far, I'm impressed with what I've been reading! Gotta find some of that stuff! Surely, someone around here carries it!
I will also pass this information on to the students in my class. I teach Automotive Refinishing at Tarrant County College in Fort Worth, Texas.This kind of information is excellent for them to know!

Using 303
If your boat is slippery after coating with 303 you are using much too much 303. A tiny bit on a small rag is all you need. When I first started using it I generously coated the boat and wiped it lightly. Very slippery! Now I use it like it is the most expensive liquid on the planet and the boat is not slippery.

sells 303…and do many online kayak stores.

Cobras Warp
Watch out with the tarp and sun and Cobras…my navigator has a dip in the bottom.

303 purchase source
We purchased a gallon container of 303 at one of our local RV dealerships. A gallon may cost $50-60.

Purchase the gallon and if you don’t need the large amount, offer to share it and the cost with a fellow paddler. If you have a scanner, copy the directions and precautions (if possible) for the person not getting the original container.