Protection Film for Kayak?

I’d appreciate any feedback on a protective plastic film that I can put on my fiberglass Explorer LV to protect against scratches in my deck to the side of and just in front of my cockpit. We have found that the higher end carbon Epic paddles can scratch the paint, and between normal use and my very erratic paddle handling in a roll attempt I have some scratches to buff out now.

I couldn’t find anything like this at the local auto supply store (Advance Auto), but I did find the following product at JC Whitney online. Does anyone know if there are problems with this product, or of another source for same? Clear would be preferable, but white would be OK if it was safer for the boat.

LC Whitney description:

"Gila Clear Paint-Protection Film.

  • Protects any fully cured automotive surface
  • Deflects stones and debris

    Shields against pollutants and other environmental hazards. UV protected - won’t yellow over time. Simply clean painted finish, then apply the film. Flexible urethane (I think - printout was cut off) film can be stretched and molded to fit your vehicles curves and angles. Adhesives removes with product (even after years) and leaves no residue. No special care needed; wash and wax vehicle without damaging film… Not recommended for glass."

    It comes in two widths, 4" or 8", both 6 ft long rolls.

    Thanks for any help or advice. Celia

Deck Protection
Most ski shops sell clear “scuff gaurd” tape to protect the top of skis for getting scratched when crossed. These products also work great for the application you are interested in.

Deck Protection
A friend of mine actually took her boat to a local auto body shop and had them apply a clear protective film. It’s been on for about a year now and seems to have held up very well. It’s probably the same stuff you are looking at in the J.C Whitney catalog.

3M product
I’m No Quarters friend who had this done.

3M makes a product that is used on high end cars. I live in MA and we have someone locally that installs it. He did it for me in one day. Took off all my deck fittings and applied it to the whole deck and made cut outs where necessary. I did this to prevent the “paddle wounds” I was getting on the green deck of my explorer and it has worked well. So far the stuff has been on for a year and has held up. There are a few spots where it has been nicked but not the gel coat underneath.

At the time, the owner said that he was experimenting with using this product on sail boats. He REALLY wanted to try it on my hull but I wouldn’t let him.

Here is a website with product info:

The person I spoke to is Pierre Richard and phone is 978-739-4262. He may know of someone who does it in your area or may be able to ship you the product to apply yourself.


the 3M product is the one to use.

3M licenses franchises to install this product, usually detail shops, etc.

It can also be purchased in a couple of sizes through autobody jobber stores. I’ll try to get part numbers together and post them.

The 3M tape is very heavy, quite clear, and extremely durable. UV degradation is minimal over time.

The adhesive is very aggressive. May be best to have it professionally installed unless experienced with graphic/decal application. Go for soft corners as they hold up better during handling and banging.

I’m experimenting with a clear epoxy coating right now that we apply with spray guns like other automotive finishes. Holds great promise as it will comform to any kind of compound angles.

Pleasant waters.


There are several options
The cheapest is clear protective tape that’s available at many automotive stores. It’s not all that clear or consistent and probabably wouldn’t look too good on large areas. The wider, clear door protection tape is another option. A similar product is used for bumpers and such, but has a textured black finish. I’ve used this on a boat that I recently did a deck restoration on. The contrasting color looks sharp, IMO, but that’s a personal preference. You can see pics of it on a red Anas Acuta in my Deck Rigging album on Webshots at:

I used 4" tape that I ordered from an auto body suplier, but it’s available in a wide variety of widths. Keep in mind that the wider the tape, the more difficult it is to get it to conform to compound curves.

Another option is what’s know as “leading edge tape” or "helicopter tape. It’s a softer material that was originally developed to protect aircraft leading edges and helicopter rotor blades from sand abrasion. It’s made by Tyco, who calls it “Patco 8210, Exterior Protection Polyurethane Tape”. It’s more flexible than the automotive products and has a VERY aggressive adhesive. It’s great for protection from paddles and sand and such, but rocks and barnacles slice right through it. I also found that it tends to creep back to its original shape over time if you stretch it.