New boat's cool, but stinks!!!!

I findly got my new boat, and it is great! A new fiberglas kayak. How ever it stinks below deck of fiberglas? I have had the boat about two weeks know and turn it upside down with the hatches off after paddling. I’s still pretty cold outside yet and I’m sure after some time that it will go away, right? Or is there some magic trick to it? If you have tricks to get rid of the smell, It would be a big help.

Thanks as always, George

What about flushing the compartments?
Just fill the hatches and cockpit up to displace the nasty air, then drain (or refill with fresh air…however you want to look at it). I would think that any chemical reactions in the resin/epoxy would be done for some time, and the odor is just leftovers that have no place to go. As a bonus, you get to check for leaks at the same time.


Get used to it
I have kayaks that are 12 years old and they still smell of resin when you open the hatches. The smell subsides as the years pass, but it never completely goes away.

Wondered about
that. Not going away on mine either, though it’s only a year old. Always wondered what clothes or food stuffed in there would smell like if I ever actually went camping with it. Guess drybags help with that problem too.

BTW, depending on how well the boat is supported, filling the hull compartments with a few hundred lbs of water to displace the air may not be such a good idea.


pee in it

I haven’t noticed it when camping…
…but I don’t leave my gear in the boats for long periods of time either. The smell of fiberglass doesn’t seem to permeate other materials, nor does it “rub off” onto them.

Smells good!!! :slight_smile:
Try Baking Soda, or Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets. Both of these items work for some oders. it might help you.

Baking soda comes in Refridgerator boxes, so you tear off the front and back panels to let the soda absorb the oders.

I kinda like the smell myself! But it will go away after a while

Put a small fan in it and leave it on.
When it gets warmer, put it in the sun and put the fan in it.

I like that 'new boat smell’
I wonder if you can buy “new boat smell” spray anywhere?

i always thought that…
new fiberglass smelled like cat urine…

are you talking about the smell of resin

If so don’t try to get rid of it, revel in it !!!

i would but…
i’m allergic to cats…

i believe it is the resin and not the glass.

Could be worse
Fumes from my QCC made my lower legs itch after a few hours in the cockpit for the first several months. I must be sensitive to the vinylester.

Our 11 year old Pintal still smells inside the hatches. The only composite I have that doesn’t smell of resin is the Tsunami X-1. Inside - it smells more like - a Hospital!

Is it fully cured yet?

– Last Updated: Feb-25-05 3:06 PM EST –

How new is the boat? Was it made in cold weather? How was the humidity? Immediately after the build was it stored inside or outside at factory, distributor, dealer, etc? If it is fairly new I will bet it is still curing and out gassing. Do you store it inside or outside? How long does it take to cure? I do not know. I will tell you a few facts I know and you decide what may be up.

First let us look to something with a cure time I do know something about to illustrate the principle of curing: After you pour a concrete slab you can walk on it carefully the next day, drive a light vehicle on it in 3-4 days, heavy vehicle like semi tractor in about three weeks, really heavy stuff a few months and so on. It takes concrete 7 years to cure to what is considered full hardness. In actuality it takes many, many times 7 years to harden to actual full hardness, BUT it also starts getting brittle to a point it causes problems. So we have loosely defined a useful life span, but it is curing and out gassing the whole time, right into it's deterioration.

Moving on to resins:

Maybe someone here knows the time frames for resins curing and can supply that info for us. If not and we REALLY just have to know I do know a retired DOW plastics/resins research scientist I probably can ask. Wife's Uncle Al has some fascinating nuts, bolts and things laying around his place that are stronger than steel, can flex, and have all kinds of other interesting properties!

I do know that it is time, moisture, and also temperature dependent and it does not surprise me at all that you are experiencing a problem (?) and asking this question in winter.

A brief glimpse at some of my experiences in the Kruger canoe shop:

Heat and humidity were always a concern when it came to layup day. We would heat for either reason. If it was too cold of course we heated, but if it was too humid we also heated even if warm enough as additional heat drive the excess moisture out of the air. If too humid to correct with heat we simply waited. The hulls were normally hard enough to loosen from the mold in a day or so, BUT we left them in the mold after doing so until it was actually time to work on them. This gave more time to cure and helped prevent warping.

Cure time example: There was one part that pulled the hull in a bit deforming it permanently. No big deal really, I just did not like the appearance or idea of a permanent stress in the hull. For the last hull I helped make for myself I machined the parts so there was no deforming of the hull when they were applied. Worked great! Liked the fix so I machined a few more parts and set to uninstalling the original parts from my year old hulls to replace them. To my surprise the deformations were now permanent and it would cause more stress and most likely crack the resin to straighten them so I placed the old parts back on the hull and left them alone. I used the machined parts on a couple of hulls completed a month or so before. Deformations came right out and mods worked fine. So it was obvious the hulls were not cured to the point of taking a permanent set against steady applied force in the first month or so. They were still curing and out gassing, "STINKING".

Temperature: Too low of a temperature can arrest the curing of resin. I wished to add some non structural Kevlar roping to one of my boats one cold winter day. Too cold to do in the garage so I took it to Kruger's shop on a paddling day. Did the mod. Cranked up the heat and went paddling for a few hours. After the roping seemed hard enough to transport seeing as is was not structural. Figured it had enough of a start in the heat that even though slowed by cold it would finish. Throw it on the truck racks and went home. Two weeks later I was back at the shop to help out and do the next mod to my boat as well. Once I got it inside and warmed up I discovered that the roping was at the same stage of cure it had been two weeks prior! The cold of winter it seemed had totally arrested the cure of the resin. Left it a few days in the shop and it cured fine.

I did have some experiences with 20 year old plus boats there also. I kind of have the idea that even though they were strong and we used them they were starting to show problems of aging. Curing process progressing into degeneration? Don't know. Maybe a good question for Uncle Al.

Does this help you understand what may be going on and that the smell should mostly dissipate with time. It will always smell some as the cure is an ongoing process.

Happy Paddl'n!



So that’s why my cats like to explore
the inside of my boat! Little #%@*ers like to use the mini-cell as a scratching post too.

I wish
mine still smelled the way it did new.Love that smell,I guess Im just wierd. Anways enjoy it while youve got it

Bad to eat the food that has
soaked up that gas whil it sat on your hatches. Makes sleeping bags and other clothes stink too

Is the Tsunami made with epoxy?
That would explain the lack of the typical polyester/vinylester smell.

Curing and deformation
My 12 year old boat still smells like resin and I’m pretty sure that it’s cured by now. :wink:

I’m not surprised at the deformation you spoke of. Particularly since the part in question was installed when the boat was built, it makes sense that there would be some deformation of the shape to accommodate the stress it created.

All resins (polyester, vinylester, epoxy and even varnish) are plastics when they cure. All are suspectible to heat and stresses to some degree. The lighter and more flexible the layup, the more susceptible it will be, so it stands to reason that this would be an issue in canoes and kayaks. In some cases, you can change the shape of composite parts though judicious application of heat, but there’s a fine line between just enough and too much, and limits to how much you can bend it without weakening it.

Don’t waste your time
None of these “solutions” will get rid of the resin smell permanently.