7 Tips to Help You Prepare Your Kayak for the Spring Paddling Season
For some, the idea of the “spring season” may seem a bit silly, because with the ponds and streams still frozen watersports may be the last thing on their mind. On the flipside, others are in the midst of an unseasonably warm winter. Then of course there are those paddlers who don’t believe seasons exist, and paddle all year long! Regardless of your position, now is a good time to take a look at your kayak or canoe to make sure that it is in tip-top shape for what we can refer to as the busy paddling season. We all understand that kayaks are virtually indestructible and part of what makes them appealing is the fact that you really don’t have to do much in terms of maintenance. However, over time and through heavy use, kayaks and canoes like everything else will begin to deteriorate. Here are a few quick tips that will help extend the life your boat for years to come.
1.) Check For Leaks:
Leaks are generally a result of a gash or more often wear on the bottom of your hull. While some leaks are slow and may not be an immediate threat, patching it up as quickly as possible will keep it from spreading into what may eventually become unrepairable or even worse, pose a safety risk. Also, check for thinning plastic on the bottom of your hull. When an area becomes thin with wear, even a small bump into a sharp rock can cause it to rupture. Obtain a plastic patch kit or take your kayak to your local dealer to repair any damage.
2.) Check the Hardware:
You may have experienced this before. You pick up your kayak only to find that the handle unexpectedly pops loose and your kayak goes falling to the ground. It’s always a good idea to tighten all of the hardware and replace any hardware that has rusted or is showing other signs of corrosion.
3.) Make Sure it All Works:
Sure, most kayaks have limited moving parts but if you own one with a rudder or pedal drive system, double check to make sure it’s all in working order before you head out. While you are at it, check all cables and tubing for fraying wires and cracking. Lubricate all moving parts per the manufacturers instructions.
4.) Check For Wear:
The first parts that typically need replacing are your straps, cargo bungee, rope and other fabric based materials. Check them all, these are usually easily replaceable. A seat that doesn’t provide the proper support due to a faulty strap is not fun when you’re miles from your destination.
5.) Check your Gear:
Just like your kayak, check that all of your gear is in good working order. Items such as your PFD, paddle, vehicle rack system (very important), cart, etc. This is also a good time to check to make sure you have all of your safety gear and replenish any consumables in your first aid kits that you may have used last season.
6.) Check Yourself:
Don’t forget, you are the engine of your kayak, without you, it’s not going anywhere. Start thinking about a conditioning program, shed a few pounds, work on those legs and get some cardio exercises integrated into your daily routine. It’s all for the benefit of your health and will lead to a more enjoyable day on the water.
7.) Make it Look Good:
Okay, maybe not necessary but cleaning your kayak with a mild soap/water mixture and conditioning it with some 303 protectant will not only bring it’s sheen back to life, but will help keep your kayak from fading. 303 contains UV inhibitors so it’s not just all about looks — it will also protect it.
Whether you are one of the few lucky ones experiencing this sensational mild winter or have your packed away in the garage, take a moment to look out for your investment and safety.