Foam Bulkhead Install

I recently purchase an EPI-Sea kids kayak for my two boys. Seems like a great greenland style boat that promises to aid in their development as sea kayakers - at least that’s Dad’s agenda.

The boat has a rear foam bulkhead that seems relatively well installed. The front does not have a bulkhead and I plan to add one. I know this has been discussed ad nauseum on this board, but I’d like any tips on installing the foam bulkead. A few specific questions:

  1. I will use a cardboard cutout (w/ solder wire for sizing) to make the bulkhead. I plan to use 3" minicell. Should I score the poly with sandpaper where I plan to glue in the foam? What’s the best glue to use? I am planning on using 5200 for the sealer.

  2. Do I need to drill some kind of vent in the foam? I want to make this watertight, but I’ve seen references on this board to pressuirized oil canning when there is no vent. On this note…

  3. I plan to add a basic screw-on hatch (similar to rear hatch). It looks straight forward, but any tips on that install is welcome. If I have the hatch installed, do I need to put a vent in the bulkead.

  4. Unrelated - The boat doesn’t come with a backband. My boys are 8 and 11 and there might be an argument they don’t yet need a backband, but for the sake of comfort, what’s a good bakband for this boat - I know IR makes a small, narrow backband that could work well and it would require minimal effort to screw on.

    Thanks for your feedback!

NSI makes back bands of all sizes too

Just installed a rear bulkhead in my…
few tips:

Thin foam insulation sheets work very well as a template making material. It’s easy to work and will crush to the shape of your hull contour if you didn’t cut it out perfect.

I didn’t notice if you mentioned what your boat is made out of, but if it’s poly, know it is very difficult to glue things to. 3M 5200 will work well enough (it’s what I used) if you roughen the hull where you plan to glue, but know that on poly, it acts less like glue than a good caulk. In the case of a bulkhead where you just need to keep it from sliding and leaking, the product works great.

Make sure you get “Fast Cure” 5200 unless you plan on installing the hull in a very warm environment or have weeks to wait for it to cure. I used the fast cure version in our 64 degree basement and it took at least a week to fully cure.

As far as bulkhead venting, in my case, I don’t think it’s neccessary because I have a “tupperware” style hatch that breathes a little. If you feel you need to vent pressure, just poke a hole in the foam as high up as you can and insert a coffee stirer or WD-40 (style) “spray straw”.

Really though, if you already have a rear hatch, it would be much easier to install floataion bags up front.

As per step # 1
Remember to factor in the thickness of the boat when transfering the wire to the cardboard. Also helps to put a couple holes ( think bowling ball ) in the cardboard to enable easier in and out when final marking / shaping.

No need to get the 5200 between the foam and boat … just do both sides of the outside perimeter.

Also see if you can taper the 3" foam closer to hull / deck lines and do not punch it in too tight as it will cause the hull to creep.

Hope the boys like it.

Thanks for the feedback

I was considering not putting in the bulkhead and just using floatbags, but it seems much safer to install the bulkhead.

As long as you have a means of keeping the floatation bags in (a snap if the boat has foot peg rails), they work quite well.

In fact, some people recommend putting flotation bags inside your hatch/bulkhead area for additional safety.

I put the rear bulkhead in my boat mainly because it has a rear hatch that was largely useless without it. My front floatation bag is held in by D-rings sewn into nylon strap that I bolted in with the strap rail bolts, but if your boats have a foam pillar in the front, they actually make a horse collar shaped floatation bag that fits in and holds itself in place.


Where did you find the horsecollar shaped float bag for around the front pillar. I have been looking for something along that lines and have not been able to find anything.