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Storage & Maintenance

With a little care and frequent applications of common sense, your new Clipper Canoe will provide you with years of trouble-free use. Here are some of the more common rules to follow:


Always store the canoe upside down, preferably off the ground and secure against wind and theft. Better yet, store it inside if possible. Before putting the canoe away for the winter, clean and wax the outer hull, any good car wax with a UV inhibitor will do. The wax will protect it over the winter and you will discover any repairs that may be required. If you place a tarp over the canoe for the winter, ensure that the tarp is not touching the canoe. This will allow proper air flow, avoiding dampness and gelcoat discoloration. Letting large quantities of snow build up on top of your canoe over the winter can cause hull damage. Wet snow can weigh a lot, so if your canoe is next to a building where snow from the roof can slide off on to it, or if you are in an area where there is heavy snowfall, clean the snow off your canoe often.


Wash your canoe, the same as you would your car ie; just soap and water.

UV Exposure

When canoes are exposed to UV rays, over a period of time, gelcoats will fade. In clear canoes, canoes without gelcoat, UV will deteriorate the resin. Please be sure to wax your canoe, and store your clear canoes inside or under cover. Bags designed for this purpose are available. Be sure if you ‘bag’ your canoe that you use a breathable material.

Wood Trim Finishes

Most of Western Canoeing’s wood trim models have an oil finish. Always keep the wood well oiled. When you get the canoe it will have been oiled three to four times at the factory; the wood will still absorb additional oil. We recommend that you use Watco wood oil.

Canoes with varnished wood will require re-varnishing after hard use. We recommend Spar Urethane by Minwax. Wood cane and wood web seats may require re-varnishing after hard use as well.

Salt Water Use

After use in the ocean, we recommend that you hose your canoe down with fresh water, then wash with soapy water. Nothing will rust but salt will build up a dirty film over a period of time and may decrease the shine of the gelcoat.


There are several types of minor damage that your canoe will encounter in normal use.

1. Gelcoat may fade slightly depending on color. Use of a good car wax with UV inhibitors will slow down the fading. On clear canoes we suggest inside storage or a boat cover to prevent UV deterioration. This is especially true for clear canoes, as years of continuous exposure will cause the resin to deteriorate.

2. It is almost impossible to use a canoe and not scratch the surface gelcoat. Minor scratches will not affect the durability of your canoe. It is not practical to repair and fill in these small scratches with gelcoat. The best alternative is to use an automotive rubbing compound. Deep scratches that are all the way through the gelcoat, or chips in the gelcoat, may be repaired by covering the area with new gelcoat. Even deep scratches will seldom affect the overall durability of your canoe. Treat them like facial wrinkles; as signs of distinction.

Some types of damage that do require repairs are:

  • Cracked gunnels or ones that are badly bent
  • Cracks in the laminate that show up both on the inside and outside of the canoe
  • Damaged or cracked yokes
  • Damaged or cracked flotation tanks
  • Loose rivets, thwarts or seats

Temporary Repairs

Temporary repairs can often be made in emergency situations, until dealer assistance is available. Minor breaks in the hull can usually be patched with ordinary duct tape. Dry the area thoroughly and tape both sides of the hull. Upon completion of a trip, the hull should then be repaired with fiberglass or Kevlar as soon as possible. Duct tape can also be used to make temporary repairs to split wooden paddles. If structural rivets become loose, clean around the rivet head and apply a coat of a marine sealer, like “Goop”. In a tripping situation, you can use duct tape on the outside of the hull. This seldom occurs, but you should always be prepared.

When you return from your trip, ask your dealer for assistance for any major repairs or return the canoe to Western Canoeing. If a Western Canoeing truck can pick it up at the dealer, there will be no charge for transport to the factory. You will only be billed for the repairs and return freight.