UV Protection - Boat on car all summer?

My new (to me)red 1983 Sawyer Summersong will probably be stored on top of my car in full sun all summer so I can go paddling after work. I would like to maintain the finish as well as possible. This is a golden glass layup with red gel coat. I’d appreciate suggestions. This is the first glass boat I’ve had with a finish that looks this nice and I’d like to keep it that way if possible. The boats I’d been keeping on top of my car were skin coat and the people at Phoenix said not to worry about the sun with their layups.

Right now, I’m leaning towards 303 because it goes on clear and doesn’t leave white residue in scratches like Starbright polish.

Does anyone know of a hull cover for this boat that could be used both when the car is parked and when it is in motion at up to highway speed?

Personal opinion…
Strictly my personal opinion.

If I had that canoe; I would “not” leave it exposed to UV on top of my vehicle all summer. I wouldn’t expect 303 to deal with the exposure you’re talking about. You might also consider making a small investment in some type of secuity cable. Before the summer is over; if the boat is left on top of your vehicle full time, it “might” get a case of “happy feet”. I’d consider it a very tempting target, and not an easy boat to replace.

Not that much trouble/effort to load a boat onto your vehicle on those days you “really” want to paddle; especially when you consider what might possibly occur.

What’s your street address? I’m already tempted.



Thanks Bob
I have to store the boat at my Dad’s, which is three miles from where I work and a mile from where I live and I have to store it outside there too. I’m not allowed to store boats outside in my community and I don’t have a garage. Storing the boat at my dad’s on days that I plan to paddle would add an hour to the time it takes to go paddling after work compared to if the boat is already on the car. I would really prefer to have the boat ready to go right after work, but that may not be a viable option if I want to preserve the finish on the boat.

I will start locking it to my roof rack.

Couldnt you cover it with a UV blocking tarp of some kind? It wont be pretty but it will protect your boat.

Handling a tarp on a windy day over top
of the car could be quite a challenge. I’d prefer a custom cover if there is such a thing. I know that people make deck covers, but does anyone make hull covers?

I saw a guy last year that was transporting his Wenonah Jensen Cruiser with a cover on it. Maybe I can track him down and find where he got it.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Covers for kayaks / canoes
Several companies specialize in making custom covers for kayaks. I don’t see why they couldn’t make you one for your canoe. Try http://www.kayakcovers.com/ for starters.

Or look in your local yellow pages, under boats, then accessories or such. I’m sure there are local custom cover makers in your area. Take it in, they’ll measure it exactly and give you a quote.

Boat Covers

– Last Updated: May-31-05 8:18 PM EST –

There is at least one company that specializes in boat covers, but the name escapes me just now. I'll try to find it, but failing that, you might get in touch with the people at Savage River Boats, as they supply covers for their boats and might be willing to tell you who they use.

Anybody know if Cooke's makes covers?

Pete in Atlanta



I think this is where Savage River gets theirs. They’re nice, go on easy, stay on well, seem to last a long time.

No shade trees I suppose?

Thanks for all your suggestions
I will check into “local” boat shops - most are 60 to 90 miles and feature power boats and sail boats according to my yellow pages, but it’s worth a try.

There is also a local tent & awning company which may be able to offer a solution to my needs.

Of the links suggested, http://www.waterworkscanoe.com/canoe_covers.html

appears to have a design closest to what I envisioned, very similar to the one I saw last summer. It looks like it can be intalled and removed while the boat is on the car, which would make loading and unloading the canoe much easier when I’m doing so without assistance.

There are some shade trees at my dad’s, so the boats get some shade during the summer, but almost none in the winter.

I’ll also look into storage sheds, but the cost for those would exceed the cost of the boats in a couple years.

I sent an e-mail inquiry to the Bag Lady who was listed at http://www.waterworkscanoe.com/canoe_covers.html

I hope to get a response tomorrow.



UV Protection
I store two new kevlar kayaks outside and have the same concern as you. I keep a good coat of fiberglass wax on my two yaks, (fiberglass wax with UV protection). I made storage socks for the boats which I use for storage but not transport. I used a breathable material for the covers, it is not water proof, but it keeps the sun off the gelcoat and the dirt out. I made the covers like big socks with zipper closures. The covers also keep the critters at bay.


store it at Dad’s house
If he’s only 3 miles away from work, that seems like your best option. You said you don’t want to do that cause it adds 1 hr. to your time. Why would you lose that much time if he’s 5 mins. from work?? Loading the boat & strapping it down shouldn’t take that long to do. Everything else you’re taking could be pre packed in the car & ready to go. Even if you only lost a 1/2 hour, it would be well worth it, rather than leaving it exposed all day to the sun. (& thieves) And if you found a good cover, you’d still have the thieves to contend with. Take it to Dad’s.

Water Works…
Sue Audette is the “bag lady” at Water Works shop. She is pretty nice to deal with. I am thinking about a cover of sorts for my kayak too to keep the dirt and pollen off.

I have confidance in “Star Brite Marine Polish with Teflon” for protecting Gel Coat on composite hulls. I have been using it for 3 years now, and as stated the “Extra UV Protection” it has does an Excellent job. Also you can read the multiple positive reviews here on P-Net done on this product too.

I would hate to leave a red canoe on the roof of my car all summer, but understand your position. Several good coats of this Star Brite Marine Polish with Teflon will go a long way to help protect it. This is specifically designed for boats that are left out in the sun. 303 helps, but seems to wash off with water too quickly for me.

Good Luck!

Any other suggestions?
I’m still waiting to hear back from the Bag Lady about covers.

Bag Lady Cover
I keep my workout boat on top of my truck in a Bag Lady Cover pretty much from ice out till its to dark to paddle after work, sometime in November.I try to get out every night for a workout during that time(key word being try). I am lucky in the fact that during work hours the truck is parked in the office lot, and the office looks out on the lot. If thats not enough the boys at auto parts store across the street spend a good part of the day sitting out front watching whats going on, so thieves would have to be quick. At home they would have to come down my dirt road and 200 yards up my driveway pass a couple of dogs who happen to believe they own the whole state of NH so I don’t worry a whole lot about it, but I guess it could happen. If I have to go into the city or somewhere like a mall(I try to avoid both if possible) I take it off the truck and put it in the barn with the other boats.

I say try to get one of her covers and while your at it pick up a copy of her book “The Old Town Canoe Company-The First 100 Years” interesting reading on a winters night.

Don’t worry - just use it!!
My kayak has lived on my car year round for the last two years. They are meant to be used! Throw a lock on it to keep honest people from being tempted. Try to park where it is difficult to take it off.

A side benefit to storing it on the car is that you are ALWAYS ready to paddle.

If it fades, it fades… At least you were able to use it! I have thought of buying/making a cover for it but know that it would make taking the boat on/off a bit more difficult so I don’t bother.

Are bow tie downs possible with the
Bag Lady covers? The picture of the cover on the web site looks like there is no opening in the cover for bow tie downs. Do you use bow tie downs when the boat is on your vehicle?

Thanks alot for your feed back on these covers.

suzanneP, thanks for sharing your
experience and for your encouragement. My experience has been that I’ll use the boats more if they’re easily available.