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Course Outline

Keeping your paddlecraft well-maintained will extend its life and help prevent leaks. It also gives you confidence that your craft is ready to go at any time.

Inspect the paddlecraft and other equipment at regular intervals, particularly before you store them.

  • Examine the paddlecraft in the water to check for cracks or leaks. Check the hull, through-hull fittings, gaskets, and any hatch covers.
  • Examine the hull when the paddlecraft is out of the water.
    • Check for oxidation, a common problem on aluminum hulls, that appears as white powder spots. Use fine sandpaper on oxidized areas until spots are replaced by bright shiny metal.
    • Check areas that are especially vulnerable to wear and damage from rocks, such as the underbelly areas ahead of the stern and below the bow.
    • Patch any cracks or holes in the hull with a material appropriate for your craft.
    • Keep the hull clean. To protect the environment, use only plain water or environmentally safe, non-phosphate detergents.
    • Check wooden canoes for dry rot and wet rot, which can cause severe problems if left unattended.
    • Treat the hull with an appropriate UV inhibitor if recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Check and tighten screws and deck fittings.
  • Check your paddles for breaks, dents, or weak points.
  • Check lines and grab handles for fraying.
  • For kayaks, check flotation air bags to be sure they stay inflated.
  • Refer to the owner’s manual for recommended maintenance schedules.
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