Okay, I went out and spent money on a big spray bottle and dutifully slathered the stuff on my old ‘Oltonar’ cruiser in an attempt to make her pretty. I followed the instructions carefully and rubbed off as much as seemed necessary. Then, satisfied with the improved appearance, I put her up on the rack for a couple of days to ‘dry’. When I next put the boat in the pond, I noticed that a distinct sheen of an oil slick was surrounding me and continued to be left in my wake for the next half-hour, or so. After taking her out, everything below the waterline was back to it’s normal semi-matte appearance. Is this product environmentally hazardous? Have I fallen victim to yet another marketing ploy? Is 303 worth the money and effort? Thanks in advance, Tom

Almost any liquid shiny you put on your boat will do that.

Its likely not great for fish and ducks but the boat should see some UV protection.

Car wax may do what you want but it takes down the outer shell of what ever it is used on . Thats how it gets rid of the fading on a car.

The upside…
I find comfort knowing that the ducks are UV protected… That’s why you never see ducks with sunburn.

Well !!!
It must be worth it.

Why would every decent paddle shop recomend it if it was a hoax?

I agree, tktoo.

– Last Updated: Oct-20-07 11:32 AM EST –

I have had precisely the same experience. When 303 was posted on here in the past (there have been plenty of threads about it, check the archived search under "303"), some say to rub it in harder.

Look, the way I see it, plastic is not porous (thus our boats stay watertight and our plastic cups hold beer), so I cannot fathom how this stuff can work.

Also frequently mentioned is that fact that 303 bottle, website, etc. does not ever mention any secret ingredient. They won't even say what's in it. And with a gallon bottle of 303 going for $65, we should know what's in it,no?

So, it is a highly expensive, vaguely described, milky, gimmicky fluid of unknown benefit.

That said, I slather it on everything I own.

Every paddle shop suggests PFDs, too
And those aren’t necessary either.

You’ve been misled
"Slathering" it on might make the boat look prettier, but you’d get the same effect with Corn Oil. 303 offers UV protection, that’s it. Any “shiny new” appearance is just temporary. Use it sparingly. A small amount wiped on is all you need. If your boat was giving off a toxic film for as long as you said you put way too much on. It ain’t going to make your boat look prettier. But it might make it last longer.

I like 303
I think it does a good job.

Did you possibly “slather” it on too thick ?



303 application
Perhaps my choice of the term ‘slather’ was a mistake. In good yankee fashion, I sprayed enough solution onto a cotton terry towel scrap about 8 inches square until nearly saturated but not dripping. Using moderate pressure, I spread it onto an inverted Old Town Penobscot 17 with long strokes running stem to stern occasionally spraying on a bit more when the rag seemed too dry. I probably went over every square inch four or five times until an even overall sheen was achieved. After letting everything ‘soak-in’ for ten or fifteen minutes, I rubbed off as much as I could with a dry piece of the same towel and a fair amount of elbow grease. General appearance of my boats has always been of secondary concern, although I keep them cleaner than most folks and I do care for them and store them properly. My main problem with products like 303 is that they seem to wash off almost instantly and I don’t understand how a layer that is microscopically thin and nearly transparent can inhibit the deleterious effects of ultraviolet radiation.

I agree again, ktkoo.

– Last Updated: Oct-20-07 6:20 PM EST –

"My main problem with products like 303 is that they seem to wash off almost instantly and I don't understand how a layer that is microscopically thin and nearly transparent can inhibit the deleterious effects of ultraviolet radiation", ktkoo from New England. Well stated.

The above posters seem to be missing the point. Allow me to clarify further, as you have already done a wonderful job.

Stone and granite is porous. Concrete, porous. Wood, you got it, porous.

Plastic is, essentially, nonporous. Put 12 ounces of room temp water is a plastic cup and, other than evaporation, you will have 12 ounces in there six months from now. (Put 12 ounces of beer in there, and it won't last until evening around my house).

So, if 303 protects from UV light--in thin and carefully applied coats, well rubbed "in" even though there is no "in" as plastic is nonporous--how does it work after a rainstorm? If I protect my plastic lawn furniture with it, after a rain, you suggest I reapply it? Every time?

I find, from the other threads about this product, that no one seesm to know what it is, and the anecdotal evidence of those that have used it over the years with statements like "Well, I use it on my plastic kayak every autumn and it still looks like a showroom model after 15 years", and that sort of stuff.

Frankly, the plastic all over the outside of my 2003 GMC Sierra (black plastic grill, plastic bumpers, et cetera), that has been stored outside all year long, 365 days per year, even in 100F days all summer, looks fantastic and I have never had a speck of 303 on it. Not a drop. I don't even wash it.

I am getting an Chevy Avalanche and those have black plastic all over the bed and back of truck, and heavy reading of the Av forums (like Pnet for Avs) has some suggesting 303 based on mystique and nonsense, and most others (at least in the auto world) saying that it makes little difference in the end.

Again, I am using it because I bought a gallon, so now I gotta use it. But, after a couple years of using it on my plastic boats (hey, a gallon lasts a long time, lemme tell ya), I see no major difference between the ones with it and the ones without use.

So, if plastic were porous, it might be a winner. But as it stands now, Coppertone SPF 50 for Infants likely works as well and stays on as long.

I like 303.
I use it several times a year on all my boats, composite and plastic.

I think it does a good job.

Sounds repetitious.

That is because I have used it for about four or five years and have watched how it restores the faded gel coat to a nice and shiny like new finish.

I’ll gladly pay the bucks for something that I have experimented with and found to work well.



How can something thin and transparent?
Yeah, Coppertone and all those other sun screen products don’t do anything either.

I have used armor all on my plastic
kayaks and seems to do a decent job for a lot less than 303.

i pay for house insurance, car insurance
trip insurance, etc.

so i buy 303 and use it just for that, insurance.

There are many boats that sit on the rack for months at a time before they get their turn, 303 is probably idea for a kayak that will sit for that time. The boats that get used the most actually get the least amount of 303 until they are retired. I did spend 3 hours rubbing down most of them the other night.

Skin, mintjulep, is porous.

– Last Updated: Oct-20-07 11:34 PM EST –

So it accepts the microfilm.

Armor All sprayed on the kayak (or bumper, or deck chairs) also makes them look new and appear rejuvinated. At about 1/4 the price of 303.

Now you’ve done it. The anti-Armor-All
folks will be out soon.

most of my bodily fluids stay inside my skin, so by the same (flawed) logic by which you have established that plastic is non-porous, so is skin.

perfect response… nm

Ever use sunscreen on yourself?
I can’t see it after it goes on, I can’t feel it after it dries, but I sure as hell know, and can see where I forgot to apply it after being in the sun all day. Doesn’t make me doubt it works just because I can’t see it on me.

Since skin is pourous, if I stick my feet in a bucket of wine, will I get a buzz on, ya know…from absorbing it? If I go swimming, will I weigh more after an hour or two in the water, ya know, from absorbtion? You telling me polyethylene doesn’t absorb on some level??? Test a POLY Nalgene bottle, not a Lexan one, by putting wine in it for a while. Then try to get the stain that was ABSORBED into the poly out of the Nalgene bottle. All I know is I’ve been selling the stuff for years not only to boaters, but to RV’ers who claim awnings etc that they might have missed sections of do show sun fading much more. Windsurfers I’ve talked to over the years also claim a much longer life and far less fade to fabric sails which have been treated also.

I think to better understand the stuff one should really talk to the folks at 303, they can explain how it works if you really care to know. The stuff has been on the market for a long time, most products that don’t work, or do what they claim, dissapear. My boats see a lot of cartop time as I paddle after work and don’t wanna go home, in the opposite direction, to get a boat at night. My kevlar skincoat boats look great after 15+ years spending long hours and days getting baked on top of my car and in the H2o in southern Illinois sun. Me thinks the stuff isn’t the ‘snake oil’ some claim it to be. A lack of understanding of how something works really doesn’t mean it doesn’t.