leaky compartments??

-- Last Updated: Jan-08-07 10:46 AM EST --

this is robbed from another thread and I figured it was worthy of it's own title. ;-)

Do you suspect your boat is leaky? do you find small amounts of water (or large!)in your compartments and don't know why?

here's a test I call the 'Soapy Bubble Test' that works for me:

1st you need to remove one of the screws that hold a deck fittings on and pump a small amount of air into the compartment. Some boats have sealed fittings. You'll have to figure out some way of introducing some air pressure. I use a raft foot pump with a nozzel I made that fits tight into the deck screw hole. a bike pump will work, as well. Once the compartment is pressurized (the hatch will bulge a bit, BUT DO NOT put too much pressure in the compartment, you can actually blow a bulkhead) take a spray bottle and fill it with water and just a little dish soap. spray the dish soaped H2o all over any spot that might leak: screw fittings, security bar, hatch rims and the connection to f/g, skeg box, bulkhead seam, etc. I have seen very small cracks in the seam leak. The soap will bubble up and viola, you clean up the soap residue and f/g repair or 5200 the crap out of it. You can make a nice outside bead of 5200 (black) look real good and cover up nasty leaks. sometimes the seal between rim and f/g just don't come out perfect. and not just on 'our' boats. ;-)

This technique will work on a warm day without the pump. the heating of air in the compartment may pressurize enough to force it's way out the leak. You can also physically 'pump' the rubber hatch but.....just marginal results.

The dealer 'might' take care of this for ya but IMO I use this technique on any boat suspect of a leak.


5200 on top of silicon caulking?
Steve, thanks for the idea on soaping the bulkhead seams.

On the fiberglass Tempests, is that silicon caulking that is applied at the factory?

For fixing a leak, would you apply the 5200 right over the the factory caulking?

Would you use 5200 quick dry? The regular 5200 take about 7 days to cure I think.

Paul S.

Please don’t discuss my leaky
compartment on this public site. I just have to take more “safety” breaks.

no, yes and yes
no. it is a glue, not a sealant.

yes, you can build up an exterior bead of 5200 (or any good marine sealant but IMO NOT Lexel)

yes, quick or regular cure. the standard stuff will dry close enough for paddling in 3 days @ 50-60 degrees


OK, I’ll bite …
what’s the problem(s) with Lexel, IYO.


not as durable
In my experience Lexel does not make a good outside bead as it is not as durable and sticky. You can roll it off with your finger, even after cure. 5200 becomes quite rigid and is very difficult to remove. now for bulkhead sealing it’s fine.


What type of glue, if you can reveal.
“no. it is a glue, not a sealant.”

Paul S.

Makes sense.