Kayak Spring Prep: Winter Prep in Reverse. Sort of.
Spring means a happy return to the water – if you follow a few simple procedures in preparation for that beautiful, sunny day with a slight breeze out of the south and a chance of rain overnight.
Kayak Prep: Look at your boat
First, look your boat over from stem to stern. Inspect the hatches and the cockpit. Focus on the hull, checking particularly for any effects of misplaced winter storage. Too much pressure improperly placed is the principal cause of damage to the hull, warping it into a bad, bad banana shape at the worst.
Make a promise to yourself right now that next winter you’ll invest in a storage system for your beloved kayak.
Inspect the deck hardware, perimeter lines, and bungies.
Kayak Prep: Now Clean your Yak
Here’s some fun. Look for vagrants and their remains. Scrub away mold. Destroy nests of any sort. Search intently for black widows and brown recluses, insidious little bastards just waiting to ruin an early April afternoon. They love and live in dark corners. Roust them. Roust them right now.
You were advised, last fall, to remove your seats for safe storage indoors. If you didn’t listen, well, inspect kayak’s softer materials for damage that nasty weather or nastier critters may have inflicted.
Now let’s get to cleaning. Soap, warm water in a thorough scrub-down inside and out with – after careful drying – a light coat of 303 Aerospace Protectant.
Kayak Prep: Tweak and Tighten your Kayak
If again, contrary to loving advice from the Hughes Winter Storage Corporation, you failed to tighten connectors and eradicate any looming rust, you really must do so now. Every technical part of your craft warrants a long look and attentive service to tight joints and fluid movements. Give special attention to your rudder, should your kayak have one, ensuring lubrication for the cables and fine-tuning for the rudder’s pivoting. Inspect closely its deployment lines, its stainless steel crimps and cables. Clean the rudder’s main pivot points, and apply a spray lubricant – same for the pedals or sliders.
Kayak Prep: Supply and Stock your Kayak
Lastly, replenish supplies – in your first-aid kit, in your bailout bag. Lay in energy bars, batteries, glue, firestarters, sunglasses, insect repellants, sunscreen, a multitool of some sort, duct tape, materials for an improvised shelter, signal mirror, compass, maps of the area where you’re yakking, and on. The Coast Guard teaches, “If you don’t have it on you, you won’t have it with you.” A good dictum to follow, most especially in the matter of ID, keys, phone, money, vital prescription drugs.
Pedal safe now. Hear?