drilling hole/installing hook, etc

just purchased old town kayak model: Helix… 9 1/2 foot sit on top with nothing mounted to surface but one carry strap on side. want to place a hook/eyebolt, etc for attaching something to hold a life jacket, preferrably just behind the molded seat. has anyone out there drilled/modified a smooth surface sitontop and what advice could you give… dealer would not drill any holes (warranty?) and suggested getting a pop rivet kit …

Pop Rivet Kit
You just need a drill and 13/64 bit, a pop rivet gun from the hardware store, rivets, and eyepads.

You can order the rivets and eyepads from Tom over at sit on top kayaking.

Don’t get too crazy. I did. I have eyepads all over my plastic boats.

padeyes, paddle clips, and flush-mount rod holders to, to, and INto my plastic & glass boats, respectively.

The drill bit Cuda speaks of will change according to the rivets you use -there are varying width rivets, hence different diameter bits to be used, and varying depth of rivets, too.

In riveting, both are important -you want to be able to thread thru the eye of anything you attach, and you also want the rivet to accomodate the thickness of the hull, and the thickness of the attachment, and to snug them down nice and firmly. Too MUCH depth, and it’ll be a loose fit; too LITTEL shank depth will result in too tight a squeeze, and you may just pull the rivet head “up” through the hull and not have anything attached.

Check with your hardware store rep.

Get a decent gun -some look cheap and are made that way. The cheaper ones may only take one diameter rivet -the better ones will take 3 or 4 sizes OK. ANd you may want it to keep around for a good long time so you can festoon your boat like Cuda has HIS…LOL!

Tell the truth, I’m not far behind -I’ve surrounded the tankwell on my S-Pro with padeyes so I can bungee in all my stuff and not have it go swimming just in case… (Been there, done that, take my advice…)

I’ve screwed in, mostly, on my platic hulls, and I’ve riveted, exclusively, on my fiberglass boat.

For screws, ALWAYS use brass or AL; do NOT NEVER EVER use any ferrous metal other than stainless. It WILL turn ugly brown & it WILL rust, moreso in salt water like we paddle in.

And I alwasy dab marine silicin sealant/adhesive in the holes pre-screwing or riveting, and around the flanges and edges when putting in/on other stuff like rod holders.

BTW… you know you really ought to be wearing your PFD in all but benign conditions (and probably always solo) when you

Paddle On!

-Frank in Miami

The first hole hurts the worst !
From then on the rest are easy.

I have drilled in plastic, kevlar, and fiberglass, and used bolts, screws and rivits.

Make sure your bolts and screws are stainless, and your rivits aluminum.



Frank, Have You Noticed…
On both the Frenzy and the Mars I drilled out the rivets holding the big straps with quick release buckles and replaced them with padeyes and bungee.

OK still has one strap for the seat, but they are now using the padeyes and bungee for tankwells and decks.

It is just plastic…
so it is easy to drill. It is also easy to patch with some good marine-grade sealant. Pop-rivets with sealant is a good approach, but you have to drill them out if you want to modify. Screws with sealant are ok, but do not have the strength of the others due to the small contact area. Well-nuts are the best (my opinion; easy, strong, self-sealing, do not require inside access. I have a Tarpon-140 and have made many mods/additions. They are very easy to personalize. As for your purpose, I have found over the years that the absolute best place to stow a PFD is on your shoulders. Spend the $$ for a top-end PFD that is light-weight, comfortable, and functional and you will be surprised how easy they are to wear ALL THE TIME.

Attachments and lifejackets
Although my experience with kayaks is limited, I do have 30+ years of on the water and seagoing experience on everything from canoes to a 300-foot tall ship and all kinds of boats in between.

From the basis of that experience I would suggest you stay away from pop rivets or screws for anything but the most cosmetic of attachments. I would suggest that you always use stainless steel nuts and bolts with stainless steel backing plates or large stainless washers to ensure the fitting doesn’t “pull out” at the most inconvenient moment. The nuts and bolts serve to attach the fitting to the backing plate and the hull while the backing plate spreads the pressure over more surface area to strengthen the attachment.

Given that in any human undertaking “Mr. Murphy” is an omnipresent potential visitor I wouldn’t trust my gear or my life to anything less than the best hardware and method(s) of attachment.

By the way, and you’ve already heard this, don’t bother with finding a way to secure your lifejacket to the boat. You already own the best method of securing your lifejacket. Your shoulders!! Always wear your lifejacket!


Harmony makes aircraft cable
security loops(at least they did), backed with a stainless plate. I have put them on 2 boats. Makes a good place to secure stuff when you aren’t securing the boat.

I take exception to two points
1. You don’t have to drill out rivits to remove them. Grind the head off with a dremel, and they will come out. In lieu of a dremel you can file the head off.

2. Why shoud I wear my PFD all the time if I enjoy swimming or if I am only paddling all day in three feet of water? My PFD stays on the back of my yak more than it stays on me. On the other hand there are some places I paddle where I realize it must be worn.