Care & Maintenance -- Wisdom from Master Boat Builder Mark Eckhart
Greetings Folding Boat Enthusiasts --
The information presented on this page and throughout this website is based on my experience from nearly three decades of professionally repairing and manufacturing wood frame folding kayaks.
My plan for this page of the website is to provide sound information regarding the care and maintenance of folding kayaks. Give us time as we rebuild our website and we promise we'll share lots of great information and learning.
First of all, folding kayaks are not cheap. We spend a lot of money on them and we expect them to perform well particularly when we find ourselves in conditions we might not want to be in. It's these moments when we want to be confident our boats are in great shape and ready to meet the challenge. We want to have fun and be safe while kayaking. Lack of proper care and maintenance jeopardizes both of these.
There are two folding boat "crimes" I continually see in my position as a boat builder and repair expert: long-term outside boat storage and storing hulls folded up wet. I can confirm without question that doing either is a DEATH SENTENCE for any folding kayak.
Examples of mistakes that will kill a boat . . .
- Storing a boat in a shed with a leaking roof
- Leaning a folding boat upside down against a tree or a garage, thinking that because it's upside down there's not a problem
- Storing a boat under a deck on a rack with a cheap tarp over it
- Leaving a folding boat on the deck of a larger boat to be used as a dingy
- Folding up a boat and storing when wet
I have replaced the decks on nearly new boats because of these issues. That repair costs $1,000 for folks who have already paid a great deal for their boat.
The moral of the story is treat your folding boat with care. Avoiding these mistakes and giving your boat a little tender loving care will help it last for decades, ensure reliability when you're on the water, and keep more cash in your pocket. All good things.
Thanks for Reading -- Mark