Washing poly kayaks?

I know this is probably a silly question, but do you really have to wash off a poly rotomolded kayak after every paddle in seawater?

In fact, other than for cosmetics, do you have to wash it off at all?

the problem
Isn’t the plastic. It is the hardware. Its a good idea to just rinse the outside and inside to keep the salt and other gunk from building up. I do it occasionally even in fresh water.

Ryan L.

Sometimes it’s good to use a bit of mild soap and a rag to clean off the build up and funk but otherwise a quick rinse is good enough. My glass kayaks often go weeks without a bath. Even the salt water doesn’t seem to affect them too much. Don’t sweat it.


As above - rigging and hardware
UV hurt rigging over time, salt hurts both rigging and hardware.

It’s easy enough - bring lots of water and dump out whatever you didn’t drink on the rigging when you get in. And/or get a nice tight cockpit cover and turn the boat up for rain.

Has nothing to do with poly vs. other
Reasons to wash off saltwater, or any mineral-loaded water:

  1. Prevent corrosion of some metal fittings (salt damage).
  2. Avoid dripping onto your car’s rooftop and windshield (salt damage).
  3. Avoid getting stinky fabrics (microorganisms in sea water). Some seats are covered with fabric; they really can get smelly from paddling in some places if not rinsed clean.

    The poly itself will not be damaged by seawater.

Washing Kayaks

– Last Updated: Dec-28-11 2:08 PM EST –

Transferring aquatic species is a massive issue in USA.
Washing/Rinsing your recreational equipment helps.

Perfect Example.

P.S. - a smooth, clean hull, is a fast hull :-)
No need for wax, polish, or other stuff - just clean.

If you don’t mind ungulates licking your
fuselage, just leave it salty.

Or porcupines chewing it!
They will chew auto parts if craving the salt.

I once woke up to the sound of a porky nibbling on my radiator’s splash shield. I’ve heard of tires being destroyed the same way.

That is an old map
we have them in Vermont now. Major problem.