Painting a Gel Coat kayak

First post - first attempt at painting a kayak.
There is a minefield of advice on the old internet but thought I’d cast my line here for expert clarity and advice.

Just bought this kayak that has been green gel coated, and I want to change the whole look of the boat.

Naturally, sanding down the surface gloss a tad to provide grip is a given, but paint?
I’ve read Rustoleum oil based marine paint is an option… though colors are limited.

Anyone else either brushed on or spray canned over a sanded-down gel coat and had good results? I’m looking to use two different colors top and bottom.

In the last 45 years of fixing canoes I have used enamel porch paint, rattle cans, epoxy marine paint, Rustoleum marine paint and even latex house paint. All of them work surprisingly well. It is easy to get obsessive about painting your favorite boat. Don’t do it. Do some prep work, get rid of the dust and start painting. Lately I have used the Rustoleum marine paint and really like it.

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I wish Rustoleum marine (topside) paint had at least as many color choices as a three-old’s paint-by-numbers paint set from a $1 store. LOL. And I’m not looking for “gloss” which is what the topside stuff comes in. Did see some Rustoleum spray cans at Home Depot that came in two shades of gray though.

I have stuck with Interlux Brightsides, mainly because I have three cans of it hanging around. How you store your boat is probably more important than what you paint it with. Try and keep it cool and shaded.

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I’ve just checked the Interlux Brightsides paint and it’s a “gloss” finish. Trying to avoid that. I want a matte gray finish for the hull and a matte chestnut brown for the top. Guess I’m going to have to keep researching. I know I saw some premium Rust Oleum spray paint in those colors at Home Depot. Of course the first order of business is giving the entire kayak a light sanding for grip. I hear 400 is okay.

And to your point about storage,. I have it in the backyard down beside the deck and a large fence with a silver drop sheet. Is that okay?
And in the winter… should I seek paid indoor a storage.

I live in Florida and have spray painted things that end up in the water more than my boats and are weathering it fine, go for it.

Sanding with 220-300 grit will give the gel coat some tooth for the paint to stick too. Don’t sand it too much, gel coat has some strange anaerobic hardening qualities and it might get soft if you sand too much.

In the shade and with a tarp over it should be fine. The only problem in a cold weather clime should be the expansion and contraction of the air. Make sure the hatches and such aren’t sealed tightly.

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Gelcoat will not “get soft” from sanding. It’s either cured or it’s not, and if it’s not, it’s sticky on the surface and you’d know it.

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Of the gel coat is definitely cured. LOL. The kayak is handmade… bought it used from the builder/owner who used it for fishing trips on Georgian Bay. So yeah the I’m good with the gel coat hardening. (he did a green dye gel so when he was fishing the boat would be camouflaged… and not from the fish. LOL.