Has anyone had problems with Sea Eagle 330 leaking?

I bought this back in '11 shortly after doing some research here and elsewhere. I used it only a few times over the past 10 years. It has been mostly in the bag these past 6 years, so figured it’s time to get it out.

Upon inflation, I was most dismayed to see that it had a pinhole in the left tube. Why would this happen when it hasn’t even been used? I know it wasn’t leaking the last time it was out on the water. I was really bummed and sent a letter to sea eagle expressing my disappointment. Also wrote a review on amazon mentioning the leak.

I put on a patch but have yet to re-inflate the boat to see how it holds up. Either way, the presence of a leak - after sea eagle refers to how strong their material is, and given that the boat was nowhere near any sharp objects nor has hardly ever been used - has caused me to completely lose confidence in it. I suspect that everytime I’m out on the water going forward I’ll always be worried that another leak will occur or else the patch won’t hold. It ruined the whole experience for me and I’m thinking I’ll probably just sell it for whatever I can get.

I will say this…being that the 330 has non-detachable skegs, I always worry about how they wind up getting folded in against the rest of the boat, and so wonder if maybe the pointy end of a skeg (although not sharp) maybe was against the boat and after years of being in the same position, could it have weakened the material enough to create the hole once air pressure was put in? Possible I guess but surely doesn’t speak to the purported strength of the hull.

Has anyone else experienced leaks for no apparent reason? I ask this since some reviewers on amazon refer to the same issue.

One other unrelated issue - which has to do with the size of the 330. Even for one person, I find it to be much narrower than I would have hoped for. It’s a bit tippy and not as stable as I would have expected either. I keep the seat at a low inflation since otherwise if it’s too firm I find the higher center of gravity to make the boat feel even more unsteady.

My brother has an Intex Explorer K2 and says it has plenty of room for two. What’s weird, though, is that the specs on the 330 indicate it being longer and wider than the K2. Doesn’t make much sense. I’m considering replacing the 330 with the K2, so any thoughts on that appreciated also. I’ll probably start another thread or just do some research here on the Intex.

Thanks for any thoughts…

I don’t know much about it, but PVC does naturally deteriorate over time, even if it’s just being stored. So even a material that’s very strong when it’s new could become somewhat brittle after 10 years. It might simply be the age of your Sea Eagle 330.

Doing a bit of research, most authorities estimate the lifespan of a PVC boat to be from 5-10 years, with a maximum of 15 years and much less than 10 years if used regularly and exposed to UV light. Even stored away from sunlight, PVC will gradually degrade and become more brittle.

More expensive inflatable boats made of Hypalon will last considerably longer.

As it seem that it’s at the end of its projected life and showing signs of failure for no definite cause, I would be somewhat hesitant to use it in all but very safe conditions such as very near shore in warm protected water.

A Sea Eagle 330 has a 3 year warranty and is a very inexpensive low end boat. It’s 7 years past warranty and the company owes you nothing. PVC and even the higher-end coated fabrics in inflatables can eventually start failing after a period of time even if not used. Just having a sharp fold in the material can weaken it.

Patches are a fact of life with inflatables and anyone who uses them regularly just accepts that as part of the maintenance. My outdoor club has always owned a fleet of high quality whitewater rafts and we regularly have patch parties where we drink beer, sniff the MEK solvent glue (not intentionally) and layer more patches on these old rafts.

I don’t use 100% inflatables but all the folding kayaks I have owned for nearly 20 years have inflatable flotation and skin tightening sponsons and I use inflatable PVC or vinyl float bags in them. I have had pinholes, small cuts and even seam blowouts over the years and simply patched them with the repair kits I always carry. One pinhole is nothing – I patch those with a dab of Aquaseal. Honestly, I prefer to notice a slow leak when I am out paddling because it is a hell of a lot easier to submerge a boat and find the tell tale air bubbles our on a river or lake than when you figure out at home you’ve got one and have to wrestle i semi inflated boat into a full bathtub to find a tiny hole.

So just relax and don’t obsess. Trust the patch, keep the repair kit with you (get some quick repair tape at any outdoor store to make quick patches when out on the water) and appreciate the fact that your boat only cost $300 or less and you’ve had it for 10 years.

If you want better performance and more spacious seating, look at higher quality models next time like the $900 Sea Eagle 393RL Razorlite with drop stitch floor.

1890 and rstevens…thanks. Agreed that this could be a matter of the material simply starting to break down or, as was mentioned, becoming more brittle especially in the area of a sharp fold. I think I will look into getting a large plastic tote to store it in rather than trying to cram it in that carrying bag that it came with, which is a bit unwieldy anyway. Then, too, I do worry about how those skegs are positioned. All in all, probably just the age of the material. The boat actually feels about the same as I remember it, so surely worth continuing to use it while observing some degree of caution. Thus far the patch seems fine.

Willowleaf…great post! LOL on the “patch parties”. Luckily, this hole was easy to find even without a water source. I had the thing inflated in my garage, could hear the leak, and thus easily discovered. I always have the repair kit in my overboard bag, but it wouldn’t be real easy to use while out on the water cause you have to cut a piece of the patch off. So the advice to get some quick repair tape is a great idea. If the leak seems to be coming from under the bottom of the boat, well, then it’s a matter of a quick paddle back to shore I suppose! Or…worse case…swim and tow it along in whatever deflated condition it might be in. I do like the 330, but now it just makes me a bit more hesitant.

Any thoughts on maybe replacing it with the Intex I referred to? LOTS of reviews on those and most good.

Thanks again to all who replied!

Willowleaf…do you have any specific quick repair tape you’d suggest? Did some research and most things I’m finding require cutting with a scissors. Not my first choice to have a scissors along in an inflatable!

I have a small folding scissors in my first aid kit (a small kit that I always have with me paddling). See link below (but get them in a camping or sewing store, not freaking Amazon, please. We are trying to fight the Big A That Swallowed the World from destroying my tree lined neighborhood by cutting down 1300 trees and sticking a 5 story, 6 million square foot central warehouse here with 1000 semis a day coming in and out 24/7.)

But you can also just cut some rounded corner patches from the self adhesive peel and stick tape that is sold for tent and other gear repair and put those patches in your kit.

By the. way, a slow leak like a pinhole is not going to make you immediately deflate and sink. If you notice a portion of an inflatable starting to go soft you can almost always get to shore before having to bail out. You can then patch it and carry on. or if it seems to be a slow pinhole and you are not far from takeout or launch, just blow it back up and keep going.

On the Intex K2: if you really believe a $150 inflatable boat is going to be an improvement over your $300 boat I kind of don’t know where to start.

When you are reading low end boat reviews, bear in mind that 99 % of the people posting them have never owned any other boat and have nothing to compare their new toy with.

Any boat is fun to get out on the water with — heck, when I was a tadpole we used to paddle out into lake Michigan on $3 air mattresses from Sears and thought they were the bomb!

But the scores of “10 out of 10” reviews on cheapo boats sold at Walmart and Tractor Supply should be taken about as seriously as a review of flip-flops by someone who has never owned shoes and thinks their new plastic toe thongs are “the best shoes in the world.”

The guy who makes these video reviews of inflatables talks way too much but he does have more useful and unbiased information and model comparisions than the delusional “reviews” that pile up on vendor websites: (by the way, he pans the K2 in one of his videos as slow and poor tracking).

LOL. Some of your tales crack me up :grin:

Price comparison put aside for a second, one of my biggest concerns about the Sea Eagle (which many people report in reviews) is that it doesn’t seem very stable and can tip easily. I noticed right away that if I keep the bottom of the seat partially deflated the somewhat lower center of gravity felt a bit more secure, plus the fact that I don’t move around very much in it. Pretty much a matter of sitting still and paddling along (in very calm water to begin with). I always sensed that it could tip fairly easily.

While reviews are what they are and many likely have to be taken with a grain of salt, I do see that the Intex has over 18,000 ratings (yes…on Amazon…sorry), and 75% of them are 5-star compared to the 330’s 600+ ratings with only 55% top rated and 14% either 1 or 2 star. By the way, I agree totally on the amazon-oriented warehouse sprawl. We have it too. Locally some peoples’ views from the rear of their houses are no longer fields but rather all concrete walls. What really bothers me about Amazon is the totally ‘ungreen’ approach to their delivery. They send out thousands of their little vans and, if ordering 5 items on the same order, they’ll send a guy out to drop off ONE of the 5 items, then a 2nd might appear the following day, and so forth. So wasteful. But, that’s what people want - the immediate and quick delivery, even if spread out over a period of consecutive days.

So anyway, I went with the Sea Eagle due to the alleged toughness of the material, and yet read quite a reviews of it being easily punctured and leaving people stranded out on a lake far from shore with a deflating boat (some reviews of such experiences rather humorous actually but one referenced alligators in the water as his boat was losing air. Not sure why one would take an inflatable out on water full of creatures that could easily chomp a 12-inch hole in your boat to begin with, but people do what they do). I’ll get it back on the water again and see what I think. Only reason I got talking about the Intex is because my brother has one and really likes it - says there is more room for 2 people than what appears to be the case with the 330. I’dlike him to take some measurements and then I’ll compare. When I got the SE, my wife took one look at it (in terms of us going out together) and said, ‘no way’. It really is more of a one-person boat I think. Reviews suggest the same. I like also how the Intex seats attach in place. One complaint about the 330 is that, depending on the conditions, the seat can shift all over the place. Another issue with the 330 is, I think anyway, the non-removable skegs. Sea Eagle cautions about being careful how the boat is folded due to the position of the skegs. Having two is surely better than one, but I wonder if a removable skeg (like the Intex) is a better way to go from the standpoint of it not doing any potential harm depending on how it’s against the material. Funny story - one of the first times I used it I wound up having the skegs in the front of the boat. With a stiff wind that day, talk about ‘going against the grain’. It was actually fun though. Great arm exercise going upwind but then most relaxing coming back.

Thanks for additional thoughts! Most interesting. I think I had seen that guy’s video at one point.

The reason I suggested the Sea Eagle 393RL is that it has a whole different structure. It uses drop stitch sides and floor which are much thinner and can be pumped up much stiffer. People with experience in them and with hardshell kayaks say the Razorlites are comparable in speed and tracking.

Cheap inflatables are really more raft than kayak. The bulgy walls and flat hulls make them wide, slow, vulnerable to wind and currents plus the volume of the chambers reduces the space for paddlers and cargo. Also the fact that they lack rigidity means that the weight of people and gear makes the floor sag, further reducing tracking and adding drag in the water.

We often get accused of “elitism” on the forums for dissing cheap boats, but there are valid reasons why you get what you pay for in boats. If you want a more pleasurable experince on the water, you usually have to spend more OR make the effort and take the time to find a good deal on a used quality boat. One advantage of seeking a “bag boat” is they can be mailed to you. If you seek a hardshell kayak you have to drive to pick it up.

I tecently picked up one of the higher end and high performing inflatables, a 16’ long Feathercraft Java which can be solo or tandem. The company closed down 5 years ago but their well made boats last many years — have another sit inside kayak model from them that is 14 years old and I just used it paddling on the Maine shore last month. The Java was nearly $4,000 new and is a very fast sit on top (the Feathercraft catalog is still archived on line and there are Youtube videos if you want to see what a high end inflatable is like.) I paid $650 for it plus about $70 for shipping.

When you consider how well a quality boat will last and how they are safer (stronger materials, multiple back up chambers), and divide the cost over years of use, buying “disposable” cheapies that become untrustworthy within a few years is kind of a false economy.

The German company Grabner makes some impressive high end inflatables. Advanced Elements makes some decent mid priced ones, as does Aquaglide, Innova and Sea Eagle in their higher priced models. A lot of tge AE boats have their inflation bladders inside fabric shells, which protects from punctures and wear,

The company AirKayaks has a range of models, from many manufacturers (i have bought from them and tgey are very helpful) though this year’s demand and slowdowns in supply have limited their stock. Too bad you don’t live near Pittsburgh because my local outfitter has several nice inflatables on consignment at the moment.

There is also a category for inflatables on the forum for collapsible boats at foldingkayaks.org which has user info on a range of models.

Great info. Thanks! I really only bought the SE to get out on this local lake (just posted some stuff on this on the ‘pretty pictures’ part of the forum since, up until 2011, I had never kayaked before. So, after retiring from teaching, thought I’d finally have time to experiment with it. Loved it (though there is the concern about the tippiness of the 330) and then the whole idea sort of fizzled when the disagreement over the curent lease ensued resulting in the park closing. There is another, much nicer and larger lake less than 30 minutes from me, but thus far just haven’t been motivated to go there. So I don’t even qualify as a regular recreational kayaker. I did it a few times. That’s it. Just got it out again the other day, which is when I discovered the leak. Not planning on using it any time soon in the hot summer weather. A cooler day, or as we get into fall will be much nicer. Love being out on the water though since I grew up with it. My Dad sold West Bend outboards so we always had a boat and our vacations were centered around boating. Probably why I now like cruising so much.

I really appreciate all the helpful advice. I’ve always considered that probably any of these low-end inflatables are just that - inflatable rafts rather than even being close to a “real” kayak. Indeed, the SE 330 is often advertised as a ‘canoe’, which it much more closely resembles. Just not crazy about the idea of hoisting a heavy hard-shell up on my roof rack. In my mid-60s, that sort of thing just doesn’t go as easy anymore :grin:

I will take a look at the folding kayaks - never did much research on that. Before I’d buy anything else, I probably should wait and see what the future of Kaercher Lake is going to be. Some changes will be taking place next month that could result in the level of maintenance possibly becoming much worse than it has been since the '14 closure.

When using an inflatable, you should always carry a repair kit and a way to reinflate a repaired section. If the repair kit contains patches or tape that has to be cut, it should also contain something that will cut them. If it does not, there are many marine grade knives or cutters available online. I carry a knife on my PFD as basic safety gear. I probably use it most often to help clean up bodies of water from abandoned fishing line and tackle.

Be sure that the repair kit is tethered to the boat. Most inflatables come with repair kits.

I turned 71 in June and am no Amazon (5’ 4" and 150 pounds). But I can so far solo load and carry any my boats which range from a 12’ Pakboat folding kayak that is 24 pounds to my heaviest, a 46 pound 15’ plastic touring kayak. Most of my boats are 32 pounds or less including my solo canoe and 18’ wood framed skin-on-frame replica of a Greenland hunter’s kayak.

Pakboat (in New Hampshire) is the best value at this point for folding kayaks. Besides being easy to set up, their Puffin models come in solo or solo./tandem versions and can be paddled open like an inflatable or closed with a removable deck. I have owned 4 models of their kayaks. SInce they have open frames and thin fabric and rubber shells they have a ton of room inside and super comfortable seats. Also outperform inflatables because they are faster and have less resistance in the water. Dry faster too so easier to store than inflatables. Here are pics of my 12 footer (red) and the 13.5 footer (yellow, which I named “Chiquita” for obvious reasons.) They are 24 and 27 pounds respectively. Both can be packed for airline travel in standard rolling duffels that come in under the “oversized baggage” extra fees.

It does take 20 to 40 minutes to set one up but I usually do it in the Spring and just keep them set up through the summer, hauling them on the roof rack unless I pack them for long distance trips.


The thing is…how far do you go with it? To reinflate a damaged section would really require taking along either the pump that came with the boat or something else that would be reasonably portable. I generally have the repair kit in my overboard bag, but your point of actually tethering it to the boat is well taken. Definitely need to find some sort of quick repair tape and the means to cut it. Short of a major blowout, if I see any bubbles or evidence of deflation, I’m high tailing it back to shore anyway. Plus, I never go out without wearing a life vest. I appreciate all the thoughts and advice!

Both nice looking kayaks!!

You gave a negative review for a leak on a 10 year old $300 IK? That is about the design life of IK and they sometimes have to be patched depending on what they go through.

I have the larger version of your boat (SE 370). While it is a solid entry level boat, I have no illusion that I will have it for 10+ years. It just has too many little shortcomings for frequent or long-distance use. But it is one of the much better entry level IKs. Besides picking the right type of boat, you kind of get what you pay for.

Plastic has softeners that evaporate and make plastic brittle. In addition, the high-energy double-and triple carbon bonds break down. Sun and heat accelerate the process, but storing in the dark and cold still won’t stop it. Also over-inflating will break the seams. That includes leaving an inflated IK in the sun to dry. Better (=more expensive) plastic will be better, but still won’t last forever. while a new boat also can have a leak, older plastic is much more likely to get damaged.

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