How to Store a Kayak (and Prevent Serious Damage)

So you just bought that fancy new kayak and now you need to figure out how and where to store it.

The last thing you want is for your beautiful new baby to get damaged, right?

From plastic to fiberglass to coated fabric, sunlight can degrade almost any kayak hull material.

Even though the idea of long-term storage may seem like a strange concept, to keep your craft in top shape (and add a few more years of life to it) proper storage is a must.

In fact, the longer you store your kayak, the more important a proper storage method becomes.

Whether you want to store your boat until the weekend, or keep it out of the way until the season comes, you will probably want to consider a few storage tips.

These tips are for home, deck/dock, cabin, and club storage to protect your valuable kayak from the sun, harsh weather, hull distortion, or damage.

These are the most dangerous elements that can affect your kayak’s performance.

Preparing your kayak for storage

Before you safely and securely store your boat, you need to make it ready. Here are some tips on preparing your yak for storage.

  • Wash it. Using a mild soap, wash your kayak both inside and out to remove dirt and grime. And especially if you’re an angler — wipe all the gooey stuff off which come from who knows where.
  • Wipe it dry. Once you are done washing your craft, wipe it dry and allow it to fully dry, especially inside.
  • Spray it with aerospace protectant. Spray your kayak with aerospace protectant, a water-based solution that’s designed to protect surfaces like rubber, vinyl, and plastic. Apply a light coating of the protectant to keep your boat conditioned.
  • Oil it. Oil all the metal parts of your kayak to prevent rusting.
  • Tighten the screws. To ensure a safe and secure revival when spring comes, tighten your kayak’s bolts and screws. This allows you time to find replacement hardware should it be that you misplaced any of them.
  • Remove soft and fabric type materials. If you are storing your kayak outside, ensure to remove any fabric or soft material and store them separately. This will protect the material from rodents, should they find their way into the storage site.

A quick note on protective coatings…

Spray-on protective coatings, which are usually available in auto spare shops, are helpful in bulking up UV protection on your boat. You can apply some of the sprays to fiberglass boats, if you happen to have one, to add to your kayak’s from-the-factory protection. Remember not overdo the spraying, though.

Storing your kayak

Protecting your new kayak against damage is crucial. Here are some things to consider.

Hull distortion and damage

Over time, the hull of your fishing kayak will deform, or even bend, if the weight of your boat is unevenly distributed.

Fabric and plastic hulls are the most susceptible to this kind of damage.

However, deformation can also occur with wood-hulled and fiberglass kayaks.

Storing your kayak on its hull forces it to bear the full weight of the boat, leading to distortion, which may affect the performance of your craft.

Ideally, the best technique to store your kayak and avoid hull damage is to store it on its side – the strongest part of the kayak.

kayak storage

It’s important to evenly distribute the boat’s weight, and at the same time, avoid support from hard surfaces that might dent the hull.

An improperly-stored kayak on a hard surface will, over time, result in a dented hull.

The sun

Sunlight can destroy just about any hull material – from plastic to fiberglass to coated fabric.

To protect your valuable boat from damage by sunlight, store it inside.

If that becomes impossible, then store your craft somewhere in a shaded spot, or protect it under a tarp or cover.

Make sure the cover is weather-resistant and tough, and rig it in such a way that it’s suspended above the hull.

If it comes into contact with the hull, the contact is likely to promote the growth of fungal or molds when conditions are wet.

Theft

The best way you can protect your kayak from theft is to store it inside.

But if you decide to have your boat stored outdoors, ensure you keep it out of sight and position it in a way that a thief will find it hard to grab quickly and escape.

In high-insecurity areas, thread a robust and durable security cable through a strong part of the kayak and connect it to a fence, post, or building.

It might not stop every thief, but at least it will deter most.

Other weather elements

Prolonged exposure of your kayak to unfavorable weather conditions will cause the hull material to oxidize and degrade.

By storing your kayak indoors, you will save it from most of the weather-related threats.

But if you decide to store your craft outside, make sure that snow and rain aren’t collecting in the tarp, pressing it down into the hull material.

Keep in mind that prolonged exposure of your kayak to cold can, over time, damage the fabric skin.

If you’ve stored your kayak in an unheated place, beware of repeated freezing and thawing.

This can cause the fiberglass of your kayak tor crack if by any chance water seeps into joints, seams, or crevices.

Another danger to your kayak is salt water. It can corrode the metal parts as well as degrade the hull materials.

If you regularly paddle in salt water, make sure you rinse your kayak thoroughly using fresh water, just before you store it.

Choosing the right storage system

Now that you have the basic storage tips down, here are some guidelines for creating the best storage system for your kayak.

Space

Always think about the storage space you have. If side storage (like mentioned above) will offer you additional room, that’s even better. As we said before, always think about storing your kayak indoors. But if space doesn’t allow, have a shaded and secure place outdoors.

Loading and unloading

The place you store your kayak should offer easy of loading and unloading of your kayak. Keep in mind that storing your kayak isn’t a headache, it’s a step closer to your next paddling adventure.

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