Select Page

Kayak Care

You’ve made a choice and an investment and now you want to take care of your kayak to get years of service and fun from your boat. It may be your plan to keep your kayak for several seasons or maximize your return when you go to sell it. After having several kayaks, I developed a system to keep my kayaks “ship shape” functional and safe.

My basic program starts with the moment I peel the plastic off my newest Jackson kayak. I do a quick inspection top to bottom looking for anything that might need attention. Rarely I have I found any problems but in the event, I have the Customer Service team at Jackson has responded quickly and completely to any concerns or questions.

Kayak Care
Once I’ve determined the kayak as being water worthy, I add any accessories that I deem necessary. Fundamental items are a strong 20-foot nylon tow rope attached front and back in the event I need to pull my boat whether it’s because of super shallow water or a tow from another watercraft. Each side rail gets a “screw ball” to secure items. I’ve found that carbineers and more stout rope make good stringers if you want to keep part of your catch. Grippers in each side of the seat are handy. Each of my kayak models have a stand-up assist strap and a casting brace. I opt for no electronics which keeps the weight down and makes it unnecessary to drill holes or run wiring anywhere in my kayaks.

Seat security is essential. Buckles are tightened and checked periodically to make sure there is no loose play in the positioning of the seat. Avoid flopping into your seat. Personally, I stand to cast and fish a great deal of the time but when I return to the seat, which is often to paddle I do it with care. Along with the tightening seat buckle I also go around the kayak using a screwdriver to hand tighten all the screws twice a year. Similarly, I use a small wrench to tighten the bolts in the casting brace as needed, generally once a year. It’s a good habit to give your boat a routine inspection. *It should be noted that I spend an average of 100 days on the water, so I pay attention to details.

I use but never abuse my kayak or fishing equipment. My current kayak has been in use for five years and I have fishing reels that have provided me with over 25 years of service. Beside the physical care I wipe down my kayak after each use and when necessary replace any accessories.

In keeping with my minimalist approach, I haul my kayaks in the bed of my pickup truck. My theory is the more variables you add the more likely you are to have a failure. If you use a trailer to haul your kayak (s) there are additional tires, cost, handling issues etc. I secure my kayaks in the bed of the truck using three-point contact. My choice are industrial ratchet straps to hook to the rings attached to the truck bed and thread the straps to the handles and additionally the rear opening. Don’t over tighten the ratchet straps which could over time loosen screws or damage kayak handles. Once I reach my destination, I loosen the ratchet straps and slide the kayak out and either by myself or with my partners assistance carry the boat to the water. (I never drag my kayaks on hard surfaces) “River rash” is inevitable but I always lift the front of the kayak to use the small (replaceable, two screws) drag strip located on the back underside when it’s necessary to pull the kayak short distances on rough surfaces. If you have a long haul to launch you may want to consider a C-Tug or similar system to move your kayak. When leaving you merely reverse the process. I never short cut the securing the kayak and always use a red JK flag to visually alert others to the kayak extending past the tail gate of the truck.

In long term storage of my kayaks, I use stands designed to keep the boats off the ground, your local dealer probably offers the stands for sale. If possible, I minimize long term exposure to the summer sun.

That’s my simple system to keep my kayaks in good shape. I’ve also realized great resale prices because of the condition of my kayaks. I treasure my recreational paddling and fishing time and it’s an easy formula to keep your kayak safe, secure and ready for several seasons. A little kayak care goes a long way.