plastic boat hull repair

I just got done kayaking all 340 miles of the entire lower Colorado River from Hoover Dam to the Mexican border. I took a plastic perception eclipse 17 sea kayak and the hull got pretty scratched up from the trip. There are a few healthy gouges too from hitting rocks due to the low water levels.

Although it maybe not possible, does anyone know of any methods to seal the plastic or repair the gouges? A kayak like that is a major purchase for me and I’d like to use this boat as long as possible.

Also, the trip was AMAZING and the lower Colorado is a hell of a run.

Ignore the scratches
It’s the beauty of plastic kayaks. They can get scratched as heck and it doesn’t matter. If the gouges became holes, then you have to fix, but barring that, don’t sweat it.

So, the whole Colorado? Did you go down Cateract Canyon and through the Grand Canyon? That’s major whitewater. Class IV or V, correct. Nice paddling!


Sounds like it was a great trip.

From the Perception website:

"What repair options do I have for my kayak?

"Although it is unlikely that your kayak will need repair during its lifetime, it is possible that a hull crack or puncture might occur due to extreme impact or contact with a sharp object. If this happens, first contact Perception or your Perecption dealer to determine if the damage falls under the boat’s warranty. We will need the serial number of your kayak (located on the stern), a good description of the damage (a photograph is very helpful), and a description of the incident during which the damage occurred. All this information will help us to determine the best course of action in getting you back on the water. As an owner of a boat made from polyethylene plastic, one repair option which may be available to you is welding.

“Polyethylene is recyclable and repairable, unlike many other plastics. Incidents necessitating welding happen to less than one percent of boats, but if for some reason you should get a crack or hole in your boat, refer to the following repair instructions or call us for additional assistance.”

Nope grand canyon or cateract
As stated in the 1st post I went from the base of Hoover dam to the Mexican border. I took out at Morelos Dam that straddles the border last Sunday. The whole trip took 2 weeks with 6 dams to portage around.

There is a method for filling gouges
using a hot iron to melt on pieces of woven poly tarp. I may have the link, I’ll look and see. The results are not factory shiny, but appear surprisingly good. Of course you need tarp material that matches in color.

oops, Geography Challenged
I thought Hoover Dam was much further upstream.

I welded or plugged a crack in a plastic kayak with a burning stick of plastic. My stick was made from melted milk jug. I lit one end and let burning plastic flow into the crack. That was 2010. The kayak is still going strong and the kayak doesn’t leak.

I used to fill gouges in the p-tex base of skis in similar fashion, only it wasn’t milk jug plastic. Rather, they sold p-tex rods in the ski shop. We’d light the rod on fire and drip plastic into the gouges, then scrape the surface to get it level. You could do something similar to the bottom of your kayak. OTH, you could go put the kayak in the water and go paddling, which is what I recommend.

So, there are ways to put plastic back on the boat, but I don’t think you will really extend the life of the kayak doing this. Consider your scratches to be badges of honor and be proud of them!


Plastic welding
Harbor freight sells the welders and rods. Talking to people who’ve done it I’ve been told get one that is adjustable, not fixed. You tube has tutorials.

But I like the adage, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Burning milk jugs does have a certain appeal though.

check this link out,

plastic welding rods and a video of showing how its done. I’ve heard of folks using heat guns (designed strip paint) to melt the rods for welding as well.

Can’t say I’ve ever bothered to weld. If you can wear a hole in each end of your boat, then you got a self bailer. It don’t matter which end up you pull up on shore. The water will drain out the other end automatically.

Hi , I have that same kayak…
and have had it for years.

I just keep it now for down river WW races.

If I were you I would use West systems Gel-Flex two part epoxy. It is made for plastic kayaks.

Mix up a batch and put it on the gouges. Place the boat so the mix won’t run.

After you fill in the gouge, (you can use some thickener if necessary) tape a piece of plastic film like loose leaf page protectors or overhead film projector material over the repair. Make it nice and tight. The next day, peel the film off and you should have a nice smooth glass like repair.

You can always paint over it to match your boats color.

Get a good automotive spray paint or Valspar. Mask around the area to prevent the spray from going on other surfaces.

For what it is worth, I once won a down river class III

WW race, with my Eclipse and they told me afterwards that it was the first time a sea kayak had run the race. - Needless to say I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, and did many “oh shits” on the way down.

Good luck with your Eclipse. They are a keeper

Jack L

Woven poly tarp repair method youtube

– Last Updated: Dec-04-14 6:00 PM EST –

Although they don't say so, links to pictures of repair tarp materials shows they are using woven rather than solid poly tarp material. It is likely that the woven structure contributes to the strength of the repair, even though the woven fibers would be melted in the process. Woven tarps are more common than solid tarps, and that may reflect a strength advantage.

Here ya go.

full blog post
There is a full blog post that goes with that video which can be read at