Why is white on white important?

I read a post here that mentioned that having a white on white kayak is very important. Also,I overheard a vendor at the East Coast Kayak fest say the same thing. Is it a visibility issue for rescue purposes? It seems that yellow would be more visible, especially in whitecapped water.

By the way, my Currituck is white on white, and I just ordered a yellow Night Hawk.

The only advantage I can think of for
white on white is white gelcoat doesn’t show wear quite as badly as say red, or orange where every little scratch is plainly visible, but they are only visible when dry, when wet, they don’t show. so if you keep paddling the scratches are invisible.

Yellow is much more visible than white.

White is an invisible dot at distances as close as 1/4 mile. Yellow you can see quite a ways.

White often blends into the horizon as well as whitecaps. Go yellow!

makes no sense
the only reason could be that white wouldn’t show scratches as much. I prefer light grey with 4"x4" reflective patches,if I have to have more visibility then I’ll wear a flourescent orange vest or put a flourescent orange aft hatch cover on. A light grey deck is easier on my eyes.

If you paddle an SOT
It allows you to burn equally both top and bottom.

Not that you’d want your bottom burned or anything.

  • Big D

Very Important??
Not sure I agree that it is very important, but color is an issue from at least several perspectives. Gelcoat does not like sunlight, specifically the UV component. Gelcoat will oxidize when exposed to UV over time. Im lazy and dont like the amount of elbow greese it takes to remove the oxidation. Darker colors will oxidize faster than lighter colors. Deep/dark red, (favorite boat color) oxidizes fastest. UV protectants, wax and others will retard oxidation but white will oxidize the least. Modern gelcoat is more resistive to UV as compared to gelcoat manufactured in prior years.

In hot climates a dark color will absorb a tremendous amount of heat. I once had a really nice sailboat with a medium tan deck. When it was warm and sunny out you could not touch the deck without getting burned, and forget about going below, too hot.

White, particularly a nicely shined gelcoat bright white will reflect more sunlight than any other color.

Visibility is important and something to consider. White will beome lost in white caps easily. I always wear a bright orange PFD with reflective tape.

BTW- I own a kayak with cream deak, white hull, and red trim. My thinking was white hull will handle UV best, cream deck to keep the deck cool, and red trim just because. It works and looks nice.


Matter of preference
White on white is important to me (yes, it does show scratches less, but it’s also pretty darned cool-looking). Visibility - I don’t think it really matters too much: yellow does seem to be a bit more visible, but it really depends more on conditions, light, etc. (At 1/4 mile, a kayak is equivalent to less than 1/2" at 3 feet). Do you know who the vendor was?

My guess was the vender had White on White yacks for Sale!!!


If Your Night Hawk is Carbonlite Only
Then the material is yellow in color through and through. My Night Hawk doesn’t have any scratches on top that I can see, but if it did, the groove wouldn’t be white, it would be yellow.


I agree, he was trying to dump them…

We do a lot of off shore paddling and would not have any color on the deck except yellow or red for ease of other larger boats spotting us.

About six years ago we were doing an eight mile crossing and off in the distance we spotted a large pleasure boat, running parallel to us. then we noticed it changed course and headed toward us.

When it pulled up real close the skipper said that they were about three miles from us when they spotted our red/yellow colors and couldn’t figure what we were so they came to investigate.

His parting comment was that we should never have to worry about being seen unless we were in a dense fog.



Well, it depends on material. Dark plastic colors absorb more heat and will expand more. It is more prone to fading. Bright (hot colors…yellow or red)colors will always fade faster than light colors…and white will fade to…well white.

Fiberglass is very stable (does not move much)even at high temperature, but UV is very hard on fiberglass.

Not An Issue With Night Hawk
IMO. The outfitter I go to has a fleet of Night Hawk rentals that are outside all of the time and the yellows don’t look faded to me. I keep my yellow Night Hawk in a garage most of the time, and it looks the same as the rental fleet.


It aint.

red, yellow, orange
those seem like the safer deck colors. could be safer hull cover if you’re capsized. i do like white on the hull, though, because it hides scratches.

red is too dark
at dusk it looks brown.

Very important!
Fashion dictates that you should not wear white after Labor Day.


Guinness Explorer
My NDK Explorer has deep chocolate hull and a creamy deck. The hull does show scratches when not in the water, but they become invisible when wet. I ordered the smiling pint Guinness poster, cut out the smiley face and will have a decal made for the deck. I had the smiley face scanned, but having trouble finding a printer that can make a decal that takes the beating of surf. The problem seems to be all the shades of color, and the fact that I only want on decal. Cheaper by the hundreds.


Since Yellow is more visable
why are most kayaks white on the bottom? Seems like if you were capsized and needed help, yellow would be more easily seen? I have a decal on the bottom of my Romany “If you can read this, turn me over” :slight_smile:

Yellow Freight trucks are orange

– Last Updated: May-04-05 12:07 AM EST –

The shipping company, Yellow Freight had a study done to see what color was safest for their trucks. The results came back orange because other drivers would see it better.

But then what do I know everything I own from my car to my canoe is Oldtown green. ;)