Much the same as with a car, regular maintenance of your canoe or kayak is essential; this includes tightening any loose bolts, checking the integrity of the outfitting, removing any grit or stones from the inside of the boat, and transporting and storing the kayak correctly.
Loose or weakened outfitting can lead to poor control over the kayak or canoe, which in itself can increase the likelihood of damage, and in addition can cause the force from any impact to be unevenly distributed and therefore more likely to lead to a breakage.
When checking the tightness of any bolts (particularly after long drives where road vibrations can cause them to loosen), be careful they are not overtightened, as this can break the seal of any rubber O-rings or gaskets and cause leaks, as well as applying excessive force to the shell and outfitting components which may lead to damage.
The moulded, plastic washers around the bolt heads of most fittings are designed to deform when overtightened; if this occurs, simply back the bolt off slightly. For any fittings which you do not plan to adjust regularly, we recommend the application of threadlock to reduce the need for regular tightening of bolts.
If you notice any other issues with your outfitting, refrain from using the kayak or canoe and contact your local dealer for advice and to order any necessary replacement parts; any damage caused by the use of a kayak / canoe with excessively worn or broken outfitting is not covered under warranty.
Due to the mode of flex during an impact and through general use, you may be surprised to learn that in actual fact it is internal scratches to the boat’s shell which are most likely to lead to a split; these are most commonly caused by the abrasion of grit or stones between your feet and the inside of the boat, and as such we strongly recommend rinsing your shoes before entering the kayak or canoe where possible, and regularly rinsing it out with fresh water.
It's also important to avoid scratching the inside of the boat with any tools when adjusting outfitting, or with any kit that you may load in to the boat.
Transport and storage are also important considerations in prolonging the life of your kayak or canoe; where possible, storing your boat off the ground, upside down on a padded rack and out of direct sunlight is strongly recommended, as this will protect it from both frost and UV rays; we use unique additives to significantly reduce the damage caused to the plastic by UV light, but in areas of strong UV concentration and after prolonged exposure, the structure of the boat may still be affected.
When transporting your kayak or canoe, NEVER strap it with the hull flat against the horizontal bars; they are not designed to withstand such forces, and this can lead to flexing the area of the boat which is most likely to be affected by scratches; instead, strap it either on its side with the hull against a set of padded uprights, or upside down with the bars evenly spaced fore and aft of the cockpit – in either case, the boat should be strapped down so that it is secure, but not excessively tight.
Please note that a warranty will only cover breakage as a result of a defect in materials or workmanship; paddlesports can be both unpredictable and unforgiving, particularly where kit is concerned, and as such we strongly recommend ensuring you have an appropriate insurance policy in place to cover accidental loss or damage to your boat, as well as the rest of your kit.
For UK residents, we recommend taking a look at the boat Insurance policies available with British Canoeing Membership.