Seasonal Maintenance Checklist for Your Kayak
In the wonderful world of watercraft, traditional kayaks require little to no maintenance throughout the year. Fortunately, kayaks are a breeze for paddlers to keep in shape as the seasons come and go. There are no big engines to flush, fluids to fill, critical oils to change, or onboard batteries to charge. That said, just because these small water vessels are reliable and resilient doesn’t mean you should skip out on some TLC.
Maintaining a kayak is the cornerstone of ensuring apex performance and longevity as seasons come and go—and certifying safety and comfort while paddling out on the water. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a general seasonal maintenance checklist for your kayak. Here are the key tasks to focus on.
Pre-Storage Care: Debrief, Drain, and Dry
Winter is coming. For kayaks, this seasonal change signals the arrival of the off-season. Many paddlers who face colder conditions choose to store their rig safely away this time of year. Before stowing your kayak, examine its condition. Is there any hull damage? Is the rigging still in good shape—no frayed or broken hardware, bungees, straps, or lines?
Then, confirm that no water is in the hull or compartments, as freezing days and nights are inevitable during the colder seasons. Leftover water will contract and expand inside the kayak’s structure, causing serious damage. A dry kayak is a protected kayak.
Must-Do Tasks: Clean and Cover
On this seasonal maintenance checklist for your kayak, proper cleaning and covering are the next steps in the process. Remove any loose debris or built-up dirt and grim on the inside and outside of the kayak. If you use water, soap, or cleaning products, soak up leftover drops and dry off the entire structure. Again, preventing mold and corrosion is the key to short-term and long-term storage.
After cleaning, cover the cockpit securely. Whether you store your watercraft in an indoor or outdoor environment, keeping out seasonal squatters is essential. Take note to store your kayak upside down and not leaning upright. You can use an additional tarp covering for greater protection.
Take Inventory of Your Gear and Accessories
Last but not least, carefully inventory the kayaking gear and accessories you currently have. An efficient glance over will reveal that everything is in working order. Consider what you need to replace or purchase for the future to come, such as paddles, life jackets, gloves, tow ropes, dry bags, etc. Is there anything else that can enhance your paddling experience?
Perhaps now is the optimal time to think about investing in new innovative gear, such as electric outboard motor systems. Today’s energy-efficient technologies make outboard motor upkeep relatively straightforward. Either way, you’ll be savvily prepared and rearing to go once prime kayak season arrives in sweet springtime.