Any harm in drilling holes for handles?

A few months ago I purchased a Mainstream Streak kayak for $25. It had a hole in it which is now repaired but I am finding out that isn’t all that was wrong with it…for one thing it has no bow or stern handles (sorry, unsure of correct terminology)

I purchased some 1/4 inch rope and some flexible tubing to thread the rope through at our local TCS store. My plan was to drill two holes on the top ends of the kayak just big enough to fit the tubing through. Then tie a knot in the rope to secure the ends together. (forming a loop at each end to be used as a grab handle) Then some caulking to seal out any water where the tubing touches the kayak.

I think we really need something to grab a hold of but I am a little afraid to go drilling holes in the kayak. The outside of the tubing is just under 1/2 inch in diameter. So I would actually be drilling two 1/2 inch holes at each end of the kayak.

Thanks in advance for any opinions you have to offer!!! ~ Kim

  • This is our first experience with a kayak as we have always paddled canoes up to this point. I got it just so when I take my two kids canoeing one of them could sit in the kayak instead of the sitting in the bottom of the canoe. It seemed like a good idea at the time but I am beginning to wonder…

It should have had carry handles
Every picture I’ve seen of this kayak shows that it came equipped with bow and stearn carry handles.

Although the handles may be gone on yours, the original holes should still be there.

Some models have none - for info…
for some great info on adding hardware to plastic boats - go to:

For attachment hardware info read:

Those rivets or some stainless locknuts with big washers should do the trick. Get some tubular webbing - insert a short length of plasting tubing inside (grip area) - then cut to length long enough to complete the handle (plus 2"). Fold the ends under (1" each side) and bolt or rivet though the doubled under part on each end.

Voila! Strong and professional looking handles. Add a dab of silicone/goop/or similar around hole when installing for a waterprooof seal. Be sure to flame seal the ends of the webbing to prevent fraying too.

You can also find ready made handles - and attach similarly.

Another option would be to install thigh straps - then either of them can be used as a shoulder strap to carry. Makes it much easier. Instructions at the site above.

thanks but…
Thanks but it isn’t a sit on top…and there are no holes. I don’t think it made it clear through production. ~ Kim

Methods and harware are the same…
for any plastic boat.

I wouldn’t recommend the loop approach you desribed as the flexing will make it dificult to get a good seal.

This simple handle will work, no leak

– Last Updated: Mar-24-04 7:07 PM EST –

I use flat 1" webbing and stainless gunnel washers and bolts. Thread the webbing through a short length of rubber hose, cut and singe the webbing so it wont fray. Heat a bolt hot enough to push it through the webbing and make a hole. Install on the boat by drilling two holes and use a washer under the deck with a stainless nylock nut. This photo is of a handle I made for a chuck box but a shorter version will work fine for kayak painters (grab handles) see it installed on top of the box in this photo very strong stuff that webbing is!

While we are here remember
That handles represent a hazard in surf. A toggle can never twist and catch your hand but a handle can to so with ease if the surf turns the boat.

Also if your boat is loaded a handle or toggle can rip out. On narrow boats I just grab the hull to carry them. I use the toggle as a backup wiht the other hand sometimes. I guess one might need q handle with a rec boat, my wife uses the handle to carry her end of the pamlico when I am not solo carrying it.

I am not a handle fan! I like toggles better for the safety reason above. If one is not in surf or carrying a loaded boat handles should be fine.