Skid Plates Good Idea?

I’m thinking of a new ultralight kevlar boat. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to reinforce the ridges with a skid plate from the onset? I have these on my royalex boats, but the UL flexibility makes me think it would be a good preventative measure on such a material.

No way! - Bad idea!
Why ruin a beautiful light weight kevlar boat with skid plates.

It would be a different story if the under side of the bow and stern was beat to crap. but not on a new boat.

I have three ultralight kevlar canoes, and will never put skid plates on them.

It is a simple matter to put on a little epoxy if they start to get any wear on them.

I wouldn’t even put them on my OT Penobscot

Skid plates are for the rental people who get the crap beat out of their boats, and for boats that are beyond hope.



What ridges…the stems?
Get in your boat in the water and dont bridge it on shore to get in and out.

That avoids alot of wear on your boat. I cringe when I see UL paddlers run their boats up on shore with them in it.

In ten years or so when you do have some wear and tear on the stems anyway, thats the time for skid plates.

Agree with jackl & kayakmedic.

Use more care in how you use your canoe; don’t put on those “ugly as sin” skid plates except as a last resort…when they are “really” needed.

Another thought: I just passed up a nice canoe I wanted to buy. A previous owner put skid plates on it when it was in like new condition. That person had no idea what they were doing, and the result was an absolute mess.

Once on they’re a big hassle to take off if you don’t know what you’re doing. Not a job I’d take on without a lot of thought. May drive down your resale value if you decide you want to resell the canoe later.



– Last Updated: Apr-13-10 11:55 AM EST –

I concur with everyone else so far, including the part about not running the boat up onto the shore or making it act like a "bridge" when you climb in and out.

Also, you will discover as soon as you examine that boat in-person that the stems are actually very stiff, and even the bottom of the hull will be much stiffer than the bottom of a Royalex boat. There is no need for the stems of the boat to be any stronger than they already are unless you plan on ramming rocks, and if you plan on ramming rocks, you are getting a boat made of the wrong material. Remember too, that any composite boat will not scratch as deeply or wear down as rapidly as Royalex does. Royalex is VERY soft and easy to scratch, but we buy Royalex for its ability to take a hit, not for its abrasion resistance.

Maybe someday you will want to install skid plates, but on an ultralight layup, that's an awfully BIG "maybe".

My Kevlar Bluewater came with skid
plates from the factory. Even though they are unusually thin, I’m very sorry to have them on the boat. They spoil clean entry of the bow. They haven’t actually prevented anything. If the bow or stern stem were ever seriously damaged, I would have to grind the skid plates off to make a repair.

I have put skid plates on a Royalex boat. I used thin layers of S-glass and epoxy resin, and got skid plates that were flush with the boat, and that slide more easily than Kevlar Felt.

Kevlar felt skid plates are a convenience product, easy to apply. But they are NOT the best way to add stem protection to a canoe. And, most canoes are better left without any stem protection, until enough wear has occured that S-glass and epoxy are needed.

I have some pretty scratched up Rx canoes, but it all came honest (no ramming the shore or standing up on rocks). I have a Tufweave solo canoe sans skids, but this will be my first UL boat. Hate to get 3 days into a trip and have a failure.

Failure is more apt to come from the side.

In a UL boat we hit a set of rocks head on (missed a portage) and the failure was not in the bow…but the bow transmitted to the sides…more specifically the gunwales which bent badly.

There often is far more reinforcement in the stems than on the side.

I have some UL boats that skidplateless have not failed in some 17 years of tripping…lots of tripping.

Just keep some duct tape with you

– Last Updated: Apr-15-10 10:41 AM EST –

Several years ago in the Lumber River 40 mile race we were going full tilt with our ultralight kevlar comp cruiser, and hit a semi submerged log. We punched a hole right in the bow and never even knew it till after the race was over, because the front foot brace kept the water from coming in.
The following week I patched it with a fiberglass patch and epoxy, and the only way you can tell that it has been patched is if you get up within a few inches of it.

In another race, where we used our ultralight kevlar Jensen, the river was very low and rocky, and we knew we would be scraping in a lot of places, so prior to the race, we ran a length of duct tape under the bottom from bow to stern, and you wouldn't believe all the people that borrowed the duct tape after watching us.
We did a little unintentional littering of duct tape, but the boat came through with only minor scratches.


Skid Plates?
It seems skid plates are not a good idea most of the time. I have a 30 yr old MR Explorer with skid plates and wonder if they could be taken off. If so some info on how would be helpful.

On a 30 year old boat, I would not
take them off.

I said they were a “bad idea”, so I better qualify that.

I meant they were a bad idea to put them on a new ultralight kevlar boat.



I must be an outcast :frowning: Every time I come ashore in both my boats I always paddle like crazy,lean back, and run the bow up as far on shore as possible. If I could figure a way to paddle and slide it all the way to my truck I’d be doing it. I just cant ever imagine wading out to my canoe to use it…for me, it would take a lot of the fun away. Early March and wet feet just aint fun. Heck,if I can get a good enough momentum and beach the entire front half of my canoe I feel a sudden warming feeling inside…ahhhh, perfection.

Kevlar felt
I’ve recently had good success grinding off skid-plates using an angle grinder. It takes some care, though.