Boat damage often stings four different times: when it happens, when you have to wait to use your boat again, when the boat repair cost hits, and when you’re prompted to talk about the situation with others. Missed maintenance and bad breaks are all it takes sometimes, but luckily for your bow, keel, skeg, and you, you can help keep your boat on the water with a few simple, maintenance-free safeguards.
The Best Ways to Prevent Costly Boat Repair: Protecting Surfaces
Apart from the moving components in or around your engine, there are three core areas where you’re most at-risk for needing boat repair: the keel, the bow, and the skeg. Before that happens though, remember that you have options like those listed below — options that put a protective layer between your boat and potential hazards.
Keel damage is ugly, costly, and bad for your boat. It can happen to boats of all kinds, too, from small aluminum boats to big wakesurfing boats. Thankfully though, you can get protection that installs easily and doesn't break the bank.
Sudden keel damage occurs when the hull of your boat hits an underwater hazard. You can also accumulate keel damage caused by friction if you beach your hull at boat ramps and on shorelines. This shouldn't prevent you from enjoying your boat though, especially if you keep it casual with how you park it. You just need to guard your keel with a KEELSHIELD® KEEL GUARD.
KeelShield was developed to protect your most vulnerable, and constant point of contact. Made of pure Urethane Polymers, it's rugged, 5” wide, and available in various lengths and colors. Best of all, installation is simple: just Prep, Peel, and Stick.
Bow damage is another unsightly symptom of rough routines and inadequate protection, especially when a bow has harsh contact with a trailer roller or dock. Repairs are often expensive, too, so bow protection is a must.
However, the Gator Guards Bow Shield is tough enough for the job: it’s constructed of strong and durable 22 gauge, 316 marine grade mirror finish stainless steel, the small BowShield is 6.5" x 6" and fits bow rollers up to 5'' and the medium fits bow rollers up to 8''.
(Important note: the area where the BowShield gets installed needs to be smooth with no steps or chines to conform around)
Skeg Protection (and Repair)
Your skeg will commonly sit lower than anything else on your boat, so it’s quite susceptible to damage from submerged objects and surfaces. This damage can then affect overall boat performance and it can even cause harm to your gearcase.
With the SKEGSHIELD® SKEG GUARD, however, you have added protection and you can even use it to cover skeg damage before it gets too significant.
Patching Protection (and Repair)
Canoes and kayaks are hardy watercraft, but they’re not invincible. Even though they may be built to endure a certain level of rough treatment, parking lots, trailers, hand-carrying, and other adversity can take a heavy toll. This is where a prep, peel, and stick patch can work to your advantage.
These patches, like Gator Patch, work where you apply them, reinforcing and shielding your boat from excessive friction. This includes keels that may rest on rough shorelines and any stretch of your boat where dragging or skidding occur.
If you already have damage in spots like these, that’s a good reason to consider Gator Patch, too, as you can apply it to mend and repair your boat. With a smooth and easy repair or just an extra layer of protection, you can have even more confidence about where the rugged road or rapids take you.
Related Ways to Protect Yourself, Too
You could say that protecting yourself and protecting your boat go hand-in-hand, though the innovative suggestions below involve your feet and your shins, too! Here are a few related tips and tricks that can help prevent harm to your boat and your body.
Whether you’re stepping up into and out of a boat while it’s trailered, going between a dock and a boat, or simply looking to eliminate any slick spots around your watercraft, non-skid tread can offer more benefits beyond what it gets credit for.
Since it’s always better when your footing will be one less factor to worry about, non-skid tread is particularly important to have when you’re hauling gear in and out of a boat. The same goes for anyone who has mobility limitations or children who aren’t quite sure-footed yet. However, it should also get more credit for providing a better step during inclimate weather, warming up to melt frost when the sun hits it, and reducing signs of wear in high areas of high foot traffic.
Make sure you get GATORSKINZ NON-SKID traction strips though, so you get a trusted solution that does more than run-of-the-mill traction tapes. GATORSKINZ have exceptional hold, come in various size options, can be cut to custom shapes, and more; this makes it perfectly suited for marine applications.
Hitch Protection (AKA: Shin Protection)
Hitches are notorious for banging up shins. It doesn’t even have to be your hitch; it’ll sneak up on your shin when you’re not looking and it won’t spare kids either. If you haven’t had this happen, consider yourself one of the few lucky ones out there. For the rest of us, there’s the Hitch Guard by Gator Guards.
Unlike conventional covers, there’s no need to remove it and it stays soft to provide a safe bumper in all conditions (year-round protection from -70F to 150F). Even better, it fits almost all single hitches and it’s extremely easy to install — just slide on the hitch guard to your existing tow hitch and secure the tie.
From then on, you'll have worry-free protection from a tow hitch that seems to find your knee or shin when you least expect it.
Choose Solutions that are American Made and ‘Gator Strong’
For trusted, durable, and easy-to-install solutions that are engineered to protect your boat and you, look no further than Gator Guards. They’re made in the USA and have been for 25 years — two big reasons why these products can protect your boat like no others out there, satisfaction guaranteed.