Finding Leaks In Dry Storage Area?

I just bought two Necky Kayaks. While practicing wet exits and entry I noticed in my yak the dry storage ends up with about 2-3 gallons of water in them both front and back? I would expect them to have a small amount of water but my wifes yak is dry as a popcorn fart? What are the typical points of water entry and how do you guys find the leaks? I have looked at the bulkheads and they “look” fine. I suspect the dry storage lids but how would you test that? I thought about filling the cockpit with water and see if it leaks into the dry storage. Would this cause any problems? Do the manufacturers use silicone on all the nuts and bolts throughout the yak? Thanks for any input.

What I do
this might sound kinda dumb but I put water in the dry compartment to see where it will come out. That is how I try to find leaks in my boats, drybags, and drysuits.

swap the covers
Swap the covers on the two boats, see if the leak changes boats with the covers.

To use less water
You can also try drawing chalk lines inside around the hatch and bulkhead then spray the suspect areas with a hose. Open the hatch and see which lines got wet. If it doesn’t work you can always go to the fill and check method.

Good Luck


What type of hatches?
Considering the amount of water you’re getting in the boats, something is seriously wrong. The typical minor leaks points won’t permit that much water in. It also seems odd that you’re having the same problem with both hatches.

Some Necky boats use a two-part hatch system consisting of a neoprene inner cover under a rigid outer cover. If you forget to install the inner covers, the hatches will leak like a sieve. Could that be the problem?

Hatch covers
My rubber covers used to leak on my Dagger.

The problem was mostly caused by the airs expansion and contraction inside the bow hatch; in the heat of the day the cover would almost pop itself off.

To cure this I simply used the smallest drill bit I had and drilled a hole dead center in the bulkhead.1/64.

Just my 2 cents worth. Maybe I was wrong to do it but it cured my problem. I figure a hole that size should be easy to fix.Duct tape,silicone…

good luck


Venting bulkheads is a good idea
I’ve done it on all of my boats for years.

However, that doesn’t explain “gallons” of water entering hatches. At worst, I had a cup or two in boats with unvented bulkheads.

It’s Not the hull leaking…
I put the kayak in my pool with the cockpit half full of water and the dry storage didn’t get any water in it. So the next thing will be looking into if the hardware pieces were properly sealed and if the hatches/lids are the cause. I was practicing wet exits for hours and the yak spent a lot of time upside down so it may be the hatches/lids. Yesterday again my wife and I played in the pool, her yak had at most 2 cups of water and mine had at least 3-4 gallons.

Was the boat upside down?
Agree with other posts - if you ever get caught out by surprise in slop (a hardly uncommon occurrence if you paddle long enough) that’s an alarming amount of water. It’s difficult to believe it’s hardware given the volume and that it is happening fairly similarly both front and back. Unless they managed to forget to seal every single one of the fittings.

Does your boat have a day hatch, if so is that compartment also wet?

And, I am guessing the boat was right side up when you filled the cockpit with water in the pool. What kind of bulkheads do you have? I am wondering if there is a deformity in shape between the bulkheads and the boat’s deck, or a place where the sealant between the two just isn’t making things meet up. It’s hard to see things under there, and a relatively non-visible problem along the bulkhead seam could cumulatively let in a good bit of water.

Have you tried having someone take a really bright flashlight and shine it towards you from the opposite side of the bulkhead that you are looking at? (This requires two people sitting there with their heads upside-down in the boat, but it should entertain the neighbors.)

Seems that you wouldn’t be having trouble in front if it were a skeg boax or rudder controls, and it’s hard to believe that it’s the seam if water isn’t coming into the cockpit too.

Hpe you find the problem soon.

more info please
How about a little more info? Or if you mentioned what boat it is that would give a starting point.

  1. plastic or composite kayak
  2. two part or one part hatch
  3. if one part hatch system is it a VCP / kajak sport style of hatch
  4. rudder, skeg, or nothing
  5. new or used boat

More Info

– Last Updated: May-09-05 12:02 AM EST –

It is a new Necky Zoar Sport poly. Rudder system. No day hatch. As far as the two storage hatches, they have a single rubber lid with a bungie cord loop that kinda locks the lid down. A crappy system in my opinion. The bulkheads are like a closed cell foam with calking around them. I am going to put water in the storage compartments, put the lids on, and dry off the whole yak in the cockpit and out side. Then just tip the boat around looking for where the water comes out from.

Today I took the yak out for about 4 hours and had one spill on entry. The dry storage was dry at the end of the day. I now suspect the lids but and not the hardware. But could also be the bulkheads. From the initial post when I had all the water in the dry storage I was practicing my wet exits and re-entry while in my pool. So my yak spent a lot of time upside down. I would say I fliped it 30 times each practice session. I would just continually flip and then get back in, put the skirt on, and flip it again. I can get in the yak within a minute and not have to use a paddle float. I was also trying to do skulling also. So the top of yak was introducted to a lot of water. What is bothering me is my wife boat was practically dry at the end of our practice sessions.

Side note regarding my swim today. I never thought my wife and I would get as much enjoyment out of these kayaks as we have in such short time. We bought them just to horse around with while in AK this summer while she does a internship for 6 weeks. We were initally planning on selling them after our trip. Since I've had them they have been a hoot and we plan to keep them. Today we arrived at the lake. We had all our equipment that everyone on this site recommended; pump, sponge, paddle float, skirts, etc. People at the marina were checking us out as we loaded all our equipment up in the yaks. Some even commented as how neat it all was. I was feeling cool and very happy. Just as I sat my butt in the yak and tell my wife she just needs to get her feet wet and get in the yak, I flipped. The water was kinda cool. Maybe 70 degrees. Now, I know that is warm for some of you guys but we have been swimming in soup aready in AZ for over a month now. My pool has been 88 for several weeks. I came up with seaweed all over gasping and coughing. My wife fell over laughing so hard. Later she told me it was so funny she actually felt embarrassed for me. My feet up in the air on the boat and my head implanted in the seaweeds. She said I actually looked professional up until the point I sat in the yak. She also said that the spill was so bad that I should have stayed under the water until the coast was clear. God I love this stuff! It kinda reminded me of my first time skiing. The instructor said; "look, it doesn't matter how bad you ski, just buy a bunch of good looking equipment and nobody will notice." It didn't work for me today. I had the whole marina laughing at me. One good thing is my deck bag kept my lunch and camera dry and the rest of the day was awesome.

Great Story, and Suggestion
The story is great!

I hadn’t caught that you were practicing wet exits etc (which I am sure you said) - I was thinking in terms of rolling where the skirt would have blocked some amount of water into the cockpit if successful.

I am definately thinking it is the upper part of the bulkheads - I have ones like that in my Squall, and it is really impossible to tell from just looking at them whether there is a place where water is coming thru. I know because the Lexan re-do was an annual rite, even though I never was sure where the leak was. The bulkheads could be off-shape or the sealant could have dried out.

The light around the edges bit may not work too well if they are pretty thick foam blocks. But yes, try putting some water into the dry areas and holding the boat upside down (with your wife, see where water domes out.

By the way - I forget you answer but if these boats are new the dealer owes you some kind of fix or consideration. This is probably quite easily solved by you, but a boat shouldn’t leave the manufacturer in this condition. You should get a decent chunk of a season out of a new boat before you have to start fixing up the sealant around the builkhead.

Contact Necky
Everything you’ve told us points to severely leaking hatches. It shouldn’t matter how much time the boat spends inverted, the hatches should be watertight. Give Necky a shout and discuss it with them. You may end up with a new boat.

hatch leak
I bet that its your hatches leaking!

Your hatches are what?
Assuming stuff gets me every time… I just reread your description of your hatches and reviewed Necky’s web site. The website says that the Zoar series hatches are what I thought - an inner neoprene cover with a hard plastic cover over it. They also picture what looks like straps with buckles over the hatches. This is the same as the hatches on my husband’s older skegged Elaho, which have always been quite dry. The two-part systems with an inner neoprene cover are usually pretty trouble-free as long as the hard lid is well secured.

But you said your hatches were “…a single rubber lid with a bungie cord loop that kinda locks the lid down.”

This doesn’t sound like what Necky describes on their website. I suggest that you review that description (it’s on a .pdf) and see if the boats you bought seem to match. And maybe you have more of a beef with the dealer than thought…

Good catch!
It sounds like the outer covers are missing.

Zoar Sport has rubber hatches
at least in the pictures. The LV model still has the 2 piece.

I stand corrected
Must not have gotten the .pdf image up big enough to read it well. Too bad they went to the rubber hatches for the Sport - the others are really problem-free.

I’m with the others - bad hatches, either the hatches themselves or the quality of how the hatch cover and the molding it sits on match up. If they are Kayak Sport or Valley rubber hatches the issue is most likely with the mold of the rim, but the bit about there being a bungie cord of some kind holding them on suggests some other thrid party type. Valley hatches tend to be if anything too secure, and Kayak Sport hatches are solid too. I’ve never seen either reinforced with extra strapping over them.

First, thanks for the suggestions.
The yak is the Zoar Sport with the rubber lids with a looped bungie cord. Ok, first I dried the yak off inside and out. I then filled both front and rear dry storage about 1/2 full of water. I checked for leaks all around the yak. None found. Inside the cockpit there was a small stream of water coming through the rear bulkhead. Nothing from the front. Then I tipped the yak on its side and check the hardware and seam. No leaks. I checked the lids/hatches for leaks. They leaked at a pretty good rate. I checked the cockpit and the rear bulkhead was leaking abut twice as much on its side. I then tipped the yak on the other side and no leaks in the cockpit. The lids/hatch leaked as before on its other side. The lids and rear bulkhead seem to be the source of the water. I had really suspected the lids since I think they are a crappy design. They are a real PITA to get off and on so I thought they might work. I really am not too concerned about the lids. I would expect all lids to leak some. But the bulkhead I am concerned about. I am new to this stuff but would suspect that it will get worse over time if nothing is done. When I was practicing my wet exits and entry I alway left a few gallons in the bottom of the yak since I was going to just flip again so with water in the bottom of the yak for an hour or so could leak a significant amount in the dry storage. The front dry storage always had about half of what the rear dry storage had. It was more than what I would think could leak in through the lids. I am a little confused about this. So now I will call Necky and see what they say. Any suggestions before I call them. The yak is less than a month old and been out on real water once and in the pool 6-7 times.

if your wife’s boat is staying dry and yours isn’t, they are both Zoar Sports yes?, then Necky is capable of providing a dry boat.

If it was just the hatches, bad enough in itself, in your shoes I’d probably be vulnerable to someone talking me into waiting for new hatches to come in and seeing if that worked. But if there is a stream of water that you can see coming thru the rear bulkhead - that’s a huge issue. At its worst end of season leaks around the foam bulkhead, my Squall never got a flow that you could see just looking at it. I suspect the rear bulkhead has a bigger problem than some dried out sealant around the edges.

I’ve not had a problem like this myself, so can’t speak from experience in resolving it - but from your latest report I think Necky owes you a new boat. It wouldn’t be a new precedent. Necky had to replace a number of the second year skegged Elahos due to things like leaking seams major skeg box leaks. It was the first year after they had shifted the rotomolding to the US from Canada.