Bulkhead seals

Just picked up a used Perception Carolina 14.5
Good price, needs a bit of maintenance catch up, e.g., bungee cord renewals, lube of the rudder controls.
On bringing it home, I filled it with soapy water in an effort to clean some of the buildup of grime and noticed that there is a small amount of water moving from the filling cockpit to the empty rear compartment.
I would definitely count it as slow and only when significant water was in the cockpit.
How big a deal is this?
Is this a “you need to take a look at this one of these days” or a “OMG! Don’t take this boat near water deeper than your ankles until this serious safety defect has been corrected!”?
My experiences tend to run to much larger boats (wooden cruisers) or really large boats (subs) where as long as leakage is well below the capabilities of the powered bilge pumps, its not that big a deal.
To be clear this is not water from outside the boat but from one section to another.
Searches reveal that Lexel is a likely candidate for the repair.

A common situation and Lexel is your friend.

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In normal circumstances, this is not an unusual problem or an emergency. Many boats often develop small leaks in the bulkheads over time. In normal paddling it would be only a small amount of water migrating from whatever is in the cockpit. Just be sure to open the leaking compartment after every paddle and dry it out until you get it fixed to prevent mold and mildew until you correct the problem.

Where it can become a serious problem is if the leak is substantial and your kayak capsizes or the cockpit gets swamped. It only takes a few inches of water sloshing around in a kayak before it becomes very unstable and there is no easy way to get the water out of a sealed compartment on the water. Having a friend pump it out in rough water risks allowing more water to get in. Enough water and you risk “Cleopatra’s Needle”, where only the bow or stern is above the water if enough water gets in such that the cockpit rim goes under water. Impossible to do a rescue at this point and extremely difficult to tow the boat to shore with hundreds of pounds of water in the boat which is now like a giant sea anchor.

Repair is fairly easy and straight forward just requiring recaulking the bulkhead. The manufacturer of my boat and many others recommend Lexel® for the caulk, but the manufacturer of your boat might recommend something else. Clean and dry the bulkhead seam thoroughly. You might want to finish up with wiping it down with acetone (caution- flammable and not good to breathe). Wear disposable gloves and use a caulk gun and a finger and go over the whole seam, working the caulk into the seam and cover the old caulk where it ends. Do not try and use just the caulk gun or you’ll end up with a mess.

Lexel® is a bit more expensive than regular caulk, but it will cure under water, sticks to about anything, and dries crystal clear. It is highly mold and mildew resistant. It also will stay usable long after you open it if you cover the nozzle, unlike silicone caulk. Promptly clean up any Lexel® that gets anywhere that you don’t want it. Once cured it is almost impossible to remove.

One trick to caulking bulkheads, as they can be a bit difficult to reach, is after you have gotten to everywhere that is easy to reach with the boat upright while on something like sawhorses, is to turn the boat upside down and go over it from underneath.

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FWIW each of the bulkheads in my Epic 18x have grometted air holes centered about 2" from the top. I’m guessing they keep bad things from happening when the atmospheric pressure changes.