Repairing Animal Damage

Either chipmunks or squirrels have been gnawing on my Dagger Edisto and Walden Passage touring kayaks while they were stored on a rack in my back yard. The Walden has sustained what is really only cosmetic damage–just a bunch of surface chewing along one side and the bow. But the bow of the Dagger (not sure what year–the blue-white-black model) has been chewed clear down through the surface coat into the black core. There’s even a small hole the size of a pen point in one spot. How important is it to repair this damage for both performance and preventing deterioration? Since I bought these kayaks used and not terribly concerned with appearance, I am tempted simply to put duct tape over the damage to the Dagger. Please don’t flame me–I’m just a recreational paddler, not an expert or fashion plate! Thanks for any help you can give me!

salt water?
i took my cedar shaft paddle to the mountains and some varmint ate some wood off the paddle shaft- i wonder if the cedar made him sick- i suspect he was after the salt in the wood. i usually paddle on the coast. if you are paddling in salt water, maybe you should wash your boats after use.

The Dagger should be solid poly.
There shouldn’t be a “core,” but the critter may have chewed through a surface color into a region of black poly. May not even need duct tape.

Hard to say why squirrels do this. A squirrel climbs up to chew cedar off the side of one of our carport supports. He could chew cedar anywhere on the deck, but that one spot attracts him. One purpose of chewing on a boat would be to wear down the teeth, which grow more or less continuously.

I was thinking the same thing about salt
Except not just salt water, but the salt from your perspiration, which would be on the shaft of a paddle, esp. a wood one, where your hands were.

Are these glass boats?
Anywhere that the gelcoat is compromised, water can get in, and cause blistering in adjacent areas.

Actually not. I have owned two
glass boats with gelcoat on them, bought in '73. One had plenty of chips, but never blistered. The other blistered a lot, but not near the chips. Blistering has more to do with use of polyester resin, which slowly combines with water and generates gasses, causing blisters. But if a polyester boat is allowed to dry out properly, the blistering process will never get started. The problem I had with the boat that DID blister was that I kept it outside under a tarp. That prevented the hull from drying after use.

Vinylester boats and epoxy boats don’t blister. West Epoxy Systems has an excellent discussion of blistering on their website.

And I think the boats under discussion are poly.