Wax vs. 303 for longevity/durability

People seem to have very split opinions on the value - or lack-there-of - of 303. I don’t care(well, OK, I care a little) about my kevlar kayak being shiny…I just want to protect it from the sun and I don’t want to have to reapply every time I paddle.

How long does 303 really last? Would waxing(paste wax properly done) last longer and do a better job?

I will continue to use 303 on my seat, the cockpit cover, and the hatch seals. But I’m wondering about everything else. I do like the ‘look’ that 303 gives, but I’m wondering how well protected my boat actually is. It isn’t cheap, so I want to be sure I’m using the longest lasting best stuff.


I would wax the hull…
and 303 everything else.

I 303 all the plastic in my Jeep but it’s too expensive to use on the tires.

Wax is so OLD tech in my opinion anyone using wax for protection on a car or gel coated kayak is foolish at best. Acrylic sealer is what Klasse is. Started using it on my cars back in 2000. Once I got my first thermo formed kayak and then gel coated kayak used Klasse on those too. ONLY downside is its so slippery especially at first it will slide down back into water at beaches while other kayaks just sit there. So make sure it doesn’t just slip away. Not kidding, I was at beach with about 30 other kayaks mine kept slipping back into the water, I had to put it sideways to stop it while the other kayaks just sat there. This stuff lasts a whole year while wax will be gone in a month under hot temps. BUT 303 is also good for deck lines and bungees so I use that too. Not for rotomold kayaks.

I guess I must be “foolish”…
according to you.

I do my truck, my car, and my travel trailer with wax once a year.

I will only use a wax with carnuba in it.

It works for me, so according to me I am not “foolish”

My wife does our kayaks once a month with 303, but our boats are used constantly, year round

Jack L

303 is perfectly
fine for RM boats and if the boat is stored in the sun, should be used.

wax has been tested to death

– Last Updated: Jul-03-15 11:35 PM EST –

Car detail forums have tested wax to death. its not a good protectant anymore. The very best wax last maybe a month to 2 months depends on conditions. Acrylic sealers are best by a huge margin for protection. And yes anyone still using wax is foolish if they know about Acrylic's. If they don't then there just to be kind, Out of the Loop. I used to be very active on car details forums. Wax is still used by some show car guys as they like the deep type of shine wax can give but for pure protection standpoint wax is a joke now.

Yes 303 is the best that I know of for roto mold plastic kayaks, thermo formed like Eddyline then Klasse.

But hey if you like wasting time for less protection by a HUGE margin go for it. Just trying to give the BEST advice hear.

I’ve been using a blend of Carnauba plus polymers, seems to hold up.

There is good advice and bad …
on every forum I have ever been on.

I learned many years ago to weed out and disregard the advice from any one that claims to be an “expert”

Your posts are the type that I weed out and disregard, especially when I know what works for me

Jack L

the surface

– Last Updated: Jul-04-15 8:43 AM EST –

under a microscope, is sen cracked into a million small seams and fissures. 303 flows into the surface cracks and to an unknown efficiency the surface itself.

This works on deck cords and webbing, a surface we can feel and see so expect the same on gelcoat.

I use 303 on a vinylester Ford van grille. Tho the shine blows off, the hardend 303 coating holds for 3-4-5 months in a not rainy environment. I avoid driving in rain.

Apply 303 then stand in sun for 2 days avoiding rain for a week or 2. On the grille.

For Van wax, I went to polymer 'wax' from Mothers with questions on longevity hardwiring onto depth (wax) equals protection. Polymer is advised for acrylic paint, by polymer people off course. One coat lasts 4-5 months at peak efficiency ie max beading.

West sells marine wax. Check with West.

You may coat your yak with fish oil. Google search for animal attractants chemicals oils.

the cracks
need cleaning out. Try Maguire’s maroon bottle auto wash with a ? brush. Maybe a large toothbrush, try Walmart’s rack.

303 has a solvent characteristic for the last debris and your unfiltered limestone water.

for the responses. Ha ha, a lot of differences of opinion for sure! I guess I’ll have to try a few things out and see what seems to last the longest for me.

you don’t understand the purpose of wax.

Referance material
These guys know there stuff. Its about cars but it applies to gel coated kayaks equally.


Care to expand that thought?

I have used 303 on my Composite Current Design kayaks and roto Ocean and Hobie SOT. Easy to use and cheap. I go on fleabay and get a gallon for 50 bucks. It takes about2-3 minutes to do my 21’-6" CD Libra tandem. It protects the rigging also. It is a snap to apply unlike wax where if you touch the rigging it’s a white mess on the lines. Spay it all over everything and wipe with micro fiber towel. Do I expect it to last months? No but after a wash it takes so little time why not do it monthly? I do it almost all the time after use. Waxing a kayak is so and labor intensive. I use 303 on rubber parts of cars and truck too. Inside and out. Great stuff. I also blast it on some gear and webbing straps. Helps preserve suction cups too. Sure if you buy a tiny bottle for 8 bucks it’s expensive. I use it like nad and a gallon in a spray bottle will last very long.

Nu finish
I have always used 303 on my canoes gel coat and interior carbon/Kevlar. One year I decided to use marine wax but it was too much work. I use my canoe a minimum of 3 weekends a month. This year I was looking for something easy to apply that provides uv protection and grabbed a bottle of Nu finish. It’s cheaper than 303 which I still use on the interior including bungies, seat and any plastic. Already applied one coat and also the required 2nd application as instructed a month later. Anybody ever used this inexpensive polish?


I have yet to see any objective evidence
on how long 303 gives UV protection. Only opinions, no evidence. The company that makes it seems not to have made any claims, nor do they offer specific advice.

303 washes off too easily
It is good for dry applications such as vehicle dashboards and tires (depending on your climate). However, it washes off boats very quickly. The one kayak location where I find it useful is on rubber hatch covers. Apply it to them with a cloth rag and let the 303 have some time to be absorbed by the rubber–that is, don’t treat it immediately before launching. You will still need to reapply it several times a year.

303 is great for dashboards because it does not dry them out. But skip it for watery uses. Wax will last longer, but the best thing is to store the boat out of the sun when it is not iin use.

How do you know when 303 has washed

Also, suppose it does not wash off. How long does its UV protection last? The 303 folks note that all UV protectant products work sacrificially. That is, they contain an ingredient that works by serving as a screen that is slowly destroyed by UV. So, the 303 matrix might still be on the boat, but how long does it still screen out UV?

I am no expert. However Bell, Hemlock, Mad River and Placid Boatworks recommend 303 and recommend against wax. Only Winnonah recommends waxing their boats. I don’t know if the gel coat on a kayak is any different than a gel coat on a canoe but 303 works fine for me. Most say “frequent use” - whatever that means. As far as durability in the water goes - the bottom of the hull is not exposed to much uv when it is in the water is it? I love to detail my cars and the opinions on waxes is about as extensive as the opinions on religion and politics.