How to Repair Scratches on a Kayak

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Kayaking over sharp rocks, shallow stream beds, and shells, can cause scratching and other unsightly damage to your kayak. Remember that any significant cracks and grooves should be inspected by a professional. But if the damage is minimal, you can repair it yourself with a steady hand and a little heat to get your kayak looking new again.

Items you will need

  • Polish

  • Polyester gelcoat paint

  • Hair dryer

  • Blow torch

  • Gloves and protective clothing

Assess the damage of your kayak. Light scratches should be left alone and don't require complex repair.

Rub your kayak down with a coat of polish to remove superficial scratches.

Apply a light coat of polyester gelcoat paint to deeper scratches according to the product instructions. Test a small area to see if it matches the color of your kayak. Ask the paint retailer if it will work with the color and material of your kayak.

Take a hair dryer and run hot air over the scratches until they diminish. This technique replaces the need for paint or polish.

Run a blow torch flame across the scratches on a polyethylene kayak until scratches fade or disappear.

Be careful not to scorch or deform your kayak and take frequent breaks to reassess the scratches.

Heat up the end of a metal spoon on kayak with deep scratches and grooves that need more concentrated attention.

Gently apply the tip to the scratch and weld the surface. Work slowly and do not overheat the area you're working on.

Let your kayak cool off and settle for at least 24 hours before hitting the open water.


  • Remember that you could damage, discolor, or deform your kayak further by applying too much heat of any kind. Always wear a heat resistant glove, protective clothing, and goggles before using blow torches or open flames. Do not attempt to fix cracks or holes yourself. They could reopen and create a dangerous situation the next time you're on the water.


  • Professional advice or assistance is your best option for kayak repair. Exercise extreme caution when using a blow torch, welding equipment, or heat of any kind. Do not let children and pets near your work station. Work slowly and deliberately when repairing a kayak.
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