Maintaining finish on new(ish) kayak?

I have a 3-year-old Impex Mystic and have never waxed it or applied 303 protectant. The earlier Pnet thread on restoring a chalky finish made me realize I should probably be doing something now to protect the finish of my Impex. (I store it out of the sun and rain, under the eaves on the north side of my house. But I paddle it often and have the scratches to prove it.) Any suggestions about what product to put on the boat and how often? Many thanks.


Just use 303
several times a season.

Or- have a wonderful “bride” like I do who does all the boats, and I don’t have to worry about it.



Quick clean
I use a solution of equal parts of car wash/wax concentrate, white vinegar and water all in a spray bottle. Cleans very well and leaves a light wax coating. I wax the boats with a teflon wax about once a year.

Wash and wax
You may find my technical article on boat maintenance helpful:

Some will tell you that any boat that’s getting used is going to get scratches in it, which is certainly true. But that’s no reason to give up. Keeping it clean and shiny not only makes a kayak look better, but allows you to spot actual damage and other problems earlier than you would on a dirty, scratched boat.

I use 303 UV protectant on poly kayaks and lots of other gear, but I personally prefer a good marine liquid or paste wax for composite boats. In addition to having what I believe is superior UV protection, wax is also waterproof, helps prevent dirt and mud from sticking to your boat, and forms a slippery layer that can sometimes minimize superficial damage caused by landing on sandy and rocky beaches.

If you decide to go the wax route, be sure to do subsequent washes with a car-wash liquid, not soap or dishwashing detergent. Those are too aggressive, and will strip your boat’s wax off each time you use them, while a car-wash liquid will leave the wax intact and shiny.

Here’s another good article from the Guidelines section of

Good Luck!


Thanks for good info!
I appreciate all the suggestions and will check out the articles. Thanks so much, guys!


Delphinus, it is interesting that the
owner, builder, and racer of Millbrook Boats, nearly all very light whitewater boats, is also recommending use of a wax with a UV inhibitor, rather than 303 or McNett, for his boats.

Meguiar’s Flagship boat wax
on composite boats. Available at marine supply stores. Wash with boat soap (like Delphinus’ suggestion of car soap) so as not to strip the wax. A little pricy, but my babies are worth it.