Maintenance and Safety
As a result of years of research and development, ALL new ’Channel Kayaks’ sit on top kayaks are now made out of a composite material known and registered as AQUALYTE®.
AQUALYTE® is unique to Channel Kayaks and all of our kayaks are currently made to order for you locally in the South West of England. As well as having the highly recognised and phenomenal weight saving against previous Channel Kayaks Polyethylene products, AQUALYTE® also offers you maximum durability, resilience and longetivity of use. By following a few simple care and maintenance tips you should be able to enjoy your AQUALYTE® Channel Kayak for years to come.
Your AQUALYTE® kayak is designed to require minimal maintenance and just a little care will ensure a lifetime of enjoyment. When you wash your AQUALYTE® kayak we recommend that you use mild soap and water and then rinse with clean water. Rinse your AQUALYTE® kayak and any accessories thoroughly, especially after kayaking in salt water as well as brackish or polluted water. A quick rinse of any moving parts, foot braces, rudder assemblies, cam or screw lockers, keeps them clean and operating smoothly. Any joints or moving parts such as rudder assemblies will benefit from light lubrication.
Although AQUALYTE® has been designed as an immensely robust product, to prevent unnecessary wear, avoid dragging your kayak along the ground as even the cleanest of sandy beaches may have sharp rocks under the surface that will cause damage to the underside of your AQUALYTE® kayak.
To help avoid damage to your AQUALYTE® kayak, carry the kayak between two people using the carry handles or purchase one of our convenient folding Channel Kayaks trolleys available from our website.
Storing your kayak:
Your new Channel Kayaks AQUALYTE® kayak has been carefully crafted to ensure optimum durability and long life, however improper storage can degrade the shape of the hull, colour and UV protection.
Your AQUALYTE® Kayak should always be stored safely. When suspending a kayak for storage, run straps around the cockpit as this is the strongest part of the kayak. Hanging your AQUALYTE® kayak in a sling or webbing will spread the load and prolong its life. Do not hang your AQUALYTE® kayak by its scupper holes as these are the weakest part of the kayak and may cause damage. Also hanging from the handles may put undue stress on them and result in damage to your AQUALYTE® kayak. If you wish to store your AQUALYTE® kayak off the ground, consider purchasing a wall hanging bracket specifically made for it (below). These are available for purchase from our website.
To ensure extra years of flexibility and vibrant colours avoid storing your AQUALYTE® kayak in direct sunlight. Do not rely on waxes and UV protectants alone as they will eventually wash off your kayak. Signs of UV damage include fading, loss of flexibility and cracking to the external colour application. Ideally you should keep your AQUALYTE® kayak stored inside or under a UV cover. A tarpaulin suspended above your AQUALYTE® kayak will protect it from ultraviolet light. Do not lay any cover directly on top of your AQUALYTE® kayak as the heat of the sun will cause an oven effect that may cause damage. By leaving an airspace you allow air to circulate which will help to prevent overheating.
Before storing your AQUALYTE® kayak, open the drain plug and carefully stand it on its end to drain any water from the hull. (Consider getting help with this to avoid potential injury to yourself) If you store your AQUALYTE® kayak outside we recommend you that you tie it down as strong winds may flip it over causing damage. A chain through the scupper holes and secured to a permanent fixing will also reduce the likelihood of theft.
Regular operational checkups will keep your AQUALYTE® kayak in top condition. Check hatch covers, cables, buckles, straps and other moving parts for wear and replace them when necessary. Check nuts, bolts and screws for tightness and pay particular attention to carry handles as these can work loose due to excessive pulling and movement. Moving parts such as rudder assemblies will benefit from a small amount of lubricant to keep them operating smoothly.
Fittings such as rod holders and hatches are screwed in place and sealed with silicone for water tightness. To maintain the water tightness of these seals we recommend replacing the silicone annually. Simply unscrew the hatch and remove from your AQUALYTE® kayak, ensuring you keep all the screws together so that you do not lose any. Peel off any old silicone still attached to the hatch or kayak and then apply a new bead of silicone around the hole of the kayak. Replace the hatch making sure you line up the hatch with the original screw holes and then screw the hatch in place using a screwdriver or drill driver on a low torque setting to prevent over tightening and damage to the kayak. Once all the screws have been tightened remove any excess silicone with a damp cloth. We recommend the use of a good quality marine or aqua silicone.
Kayak Safety Advice
Channel Kayaks Ltd promote safe paddling and have produced this guide to assist kayakers of all abilities to stay safe on the water. For further information however, Channel Kayaks also recommend that you visit the RNLI website where you can learn from their extensive knowledge of safety on the water to make the most of your kayaking experience. In the meantime, here are some basic safety guidelines:
- Before entering the water always check your kayak for loose fittings or any damage that may affect its seaworthiness.
- Never exceed the weight capacity of your kayak, which includes your equipment and yourself. Weight capacities provided by Channel kayaks for our sit on top kayaks are for calm waters only.
- Always use a kayak paddle leash. Your paddle is your engine, you won’t go anywhere without it.
- Always wear a personal flotation device (buoyancy aid). Coast guard regulations require all kayakers have a life jacket on board. You are also required to have a means of signalling other boats of your presence and so may want to consider attaching a whistle to your PFD. Channel Kayaks supply a range of buoyancy aids from Gul and can also supply any Gul products not shown on our website. Please contact us for further details.
- Be aware of water temperatures which are at their lowest in early spring. If kayaking in cold water a wetsuit or dry suit will help keep you warm and comfortable. Channel Kayaks supply a range of wetsuits from Gul and can also supply any Gul products not shown on our website. Please contact us for further details.
- Do not go into deep water until you have practised kayak re-entry. Practice in calm shallow water and then again in more extreme conditions whilst under the supervision of another kayaker. If unsure contact the British Canoe Union who will recommend a local registered kayak instructor. A number of staff from the Channel Kayaks team are currently undergoing BCU instructors courses and we hope to offer 1 star and 2 star BCU kayak instruction courses in the near future.
- Be aware of your limitations and stick to them. Go paddling with a more experienced kayaker or join a club. Practice good paddling techniques and prepare for self rescue.
- If you are new to kayaking practice your paddling technique on a slow moving river. Paddle upstream to make your return journey easier when you are tired.
- Do not use your kayak in flood conditions, fast currents or rapids. Sit on top kayaks are designed for leisure. Misuse will risk damage to the kayak and severe injury to the user.
- Never use your sit on top kayak in severe weather conditions. Although stable, large waves could cause your kayak to overturn.
- Check predicted weather conditions before going to sea. Both the Met and BBC provide inshore forecasts with predicted sea state.
- Be aware of offshore winds that make it difficult to return to shore
- Paddling in surf can be dangerous. If you fall off in the surf take a deep breath and hold yourself under for a second, this will allow your kayak to pass over you and wash up on the beach. A wave will move your kayak with great force, if your head is in its way it will not stop!
- If you plan to use your kayak regularly in the surf we recommend you consider purchasing a helmet to provide an extra level of protection. Gul provide a number of helmets suitable for adults and kids.
- Make a paddle plan, tell somebody where you will be going, what you will be doing and when you plan to return. If you change your kayaking paddle plan make sure you update the person you have previously told, otherwise the coast guard may come looking for you.
- Never consume alcohol or any form of drug (prescription or non prescription) that are likely to affect you ability to make decisions when at sea.