Detecting leak in Perception Carolina 14

The hatch covers have always leaked a bit, but on our last 17 mile trip two days ago, my husband’s Perception Carolina 14 needed to be sponged out (rear hatch and cockpit). We turned over the kayak to see where the leak might be, and couldn`t detect any punctures or deep scratches, even while depressing sections of the hull. As a precaution we applied duct tape along what seemed to be the deepest of scratches. While there was less water when we took out, there was still water in hatch and cockpit. We are on the road camping and paddling. Any one know a good way to detect leaks and a good emergency fix until we get home.

Fiberglass or “poly” hull?
As an expedient, there are certain anti leak sprays that you might try on the most suspicious area. Messy, but you get to finish the trip.

Take the boat out of the water
1. pour some water into the cockpit, (several gallons)

then check for it leaking through to the front compartment, the rear compartment, and the hull.

Then dry it out and repeat the process in the front compartment.

Then the rear compartment.

When you find the leak tape over it with packing tape, (the kind with the strings in it). Duct tape won’t stick in water

Jack L

some food color to the water.

new hatch covers

a round hatch cover could be tightend with a roller cam strap like on an auto fluid hose but custom made probably b by an a/c company building duct work

However if round covers are flabby this means extra length more than the as new design circumference.

but if you’re not paddling without splash on deck then…?

find a bright lamp, use at least in twilight, inside the hull.

Look for weak spots as lighter, dark lines, uh you’ll see.

Jack is on the right track
The OP doesn’t say what kind of water conditions they were paddling in (we have no idea if there was a lot of splashing over the hatch covers), but bilge water in the cockpit leaking past the bulkhead into the storage compartment is a more likely scenario than water leaking through the hull from the outside.

Check the bolts holding the footpegs
They are often responsible for leaks in the cockpit.

You can try drying the interior thoroughly, then set the boat in the water for several minutes, ideally with weight in it, to check for leaks below waterline.

Good Luck


Bulkhead seal.
Your foam bulkhead is probably delmainating from the hull. You need to buy some silicone glue or caulking to seal that back up.

Next, you need to treat your hatch covers with lubricant/hydrator to restore them to a supple state. This will make their seal better.

Source: I sell these boats.

lubricant ?
what lubricant is recommended ?

CRC HD Silicone ? Aerospace 303 ?

From the Perception FAQ:
“How can I keep my storage compartments dry?

You will want to periodically check that your hatches are watertight. We use a very durable sealant for our bulkheads, but the flexing that occurs during transport and paddling may wear them out over time.

If your storage compartments are wet, first identify where the water is getting in. Are your hatch covers intact and securely fastened? Are your bulkheads sealed well? Are there any deck fittings that have broken or become loose? If the source isn’t obvious, do a “reverse leak test.” Begin with a dry boat. Put about a gallon of water in the suspect hatch, seal the cover, then roll the boat around and see where the water comes out. If the leak is coming from a bulkhead, simply clean and dry it, then simply reseal it with a good marine sealant such as Lexel, 3M 5200 or Sikaflex.

DO NOT use silicone as it does not stick well to plastic or composite materials. Replacement deck fittings and neoprene washers are available for deck leaks.

Remember to use dry bags for items that MUST stay dry.”

Use marine sealant, not silicone.

  1. 303 works wonders but armorall will work well too, even if it is messy you may already have some in the garage. Let the hatches soak up as much as they can and you will note a difference in their ability to form a seal.


I use 303 on windshield over Rain-ex, on nylon yak straps/rigging and the kayak itself.

On rubber, CRC. Why ? No good reason, I haven’t tried 303 on rubber.

The CRC, used as a lubricant eg van door hinges/locks/bicycle chain n parts all over Teflon wax…CRC renewing the wax lubricity, found its CRC way on bicycle tubes as a replacement for talc.

No good. The CRC produced a slippery live rubber feel in the tubing, good penetration, enclosed environment effects. Excellent. Problem was rubber softened and abraded, granulating soft bits off the tube surface where excessive (?) movement occurred.

The CRC may be positive for hatching. However, renewing rubber with chemicals may, again, lengthen the circumference beyond the hatch dimensions. And this lengthen would not then tighten up on the yak coaming.

CRC HD silicone also useful for lubing auto door seal gaskets. Have you lubed your Merc’s door seals ?

Too messy and expensive
Marine sealant is too big of a hassle (I also sell that). If you have an existing seal with holes, silicon will do well to fill the holes.

Lexel is a silicon-like product that bonds well to polyethylene.

Same view here. I’d check as jackl said before going off and buying hatch covers. I’m also doubtful that the water found its way in through a scratch.

Shoe Goo works well for sealing…
or adhering things to poly boats! If you smear some over gouges using your finger it will dry in about fifteen minutes. Just so you know when it comes time to remove the Shoe Goo it will take a razor blade to cut it off.