Real Life Boat-Holing stories

Let’s hear some good ones and how you patched up your boat to keep on paddlin’. I’m trying to put together a “real life” boat repair kit with stuff that actually works when I need it on the water. The few boat holings that I’ve been around have been in training circumstances where we were able to get the boats to shore and deal with the issue after we learned, on water, that the denzo tape from our kits had dried out and was useless, and the epoxy putty took way too long to cure while we were floating around rafted up and the epoxy didn’t stick anyway. Come to think of it, all the holings were from other boats, so maybe the lesson is to paddle solo. Give me some ideas please, of stuff that really works. Cheers

Duct tape, duct tape, and more duct

We don’ leave home with out it

But here is a true life story.

My wife and I enjoy racing our tandem canoe(s).

In a particular race, (the Lumber River 40 miler) we were in our Comp Cruiser which is a ultra-light racing canoe with a knife like bow.

She is the bow paddler and her foot brace is a specially made brace that has a vertical piece of fairly hard , but slightly pliable foam that nests nto the point of the bow, and then has a adjustable aluminum tube sticking back withe the foot plate attached to it.

The river was very low, and there were lots of logs that required getting out and pulling the boat over, but there were also some that were just a inch or two below the water’s surface which from previous experinece we could usually get up a head of steam and glide over.

On one particular one that we were trying our “head of steam method”, it didn’t work and as we hit the log, at about 6 plus miles per hour, we thunked to a jolting stop. We both got out and pulled the boat over the log and continued on.

We noticed that we had a fair amount of water in the boat, but just attributed it to the fact that we were constantly jumping in and out of the boat.

At the finish, we pulled the boat up onto the shore, and when we turned it around so the bow was on the sloping down part, there came the water gushing out of a two inch long by about a half ince wide hole hole in the front bow just below the water line.

Her bracing was evidently just firm enough to keep the hole sealed while we were under way.

Foot braces are good!



from other boats, or your boat :wink:

– Last Updated: Jul-11-08 9:52 AM EST –

word on the street is that if you see a white kayak with red flames coming your way its best to brace of impact...

I think window flashing works pretty well, as long as it isn't old or hasn't been wet. Wasn't that what was used on Bob's boat that one time...? Anyway, I used it to patch a boat that was holed while towing 3 kayaks in through surf. First rule is don't tow 3 kayaks in through surf unless it is absolutely necessary. Second rule, once you get to shore don't sit in your kayak waiting my scrawny butt to drag all three kayaks loaded with gear and your big ass up the beach. The kayak was holed when one paddler was back paddling to create more room between the kayaks. A small wave (maybe a foot) picked up the kayak, turned it sideways a bit, and dropped it right onto the stern of another kayak.

I also carry those small flexible cutting boards in my repair kit. On really big holes you put the pieces of cutting board on the inside and outside of the hole and secure the edges with window flashing.

Roofing material
And metal flashing, try Gorilla tape - those materials will stick on wet uncooperative surfaces like plastic.

Haven’t had to try a hard one in the field myself - the ones I know who have tried haven’t gotten had a huge success without a float bag or two (or four or five) as well.

Duct Tape and Solareez
The photo-activated polyester surfboard repair resin is handy for repairs when traveling. Duct tape is the fastest emergency repair. has held for a few hours and done a pretty good job.


– Last Updated: Jul-11-08 1:45 PM EST –

have done fieled repair with...(which is a nice way to say, okay, i mighta screwed up in the first place!)

duct tape. it's a blessing

denzo patches...cut an old rolled up slide into smaller plastic squares with denzo tape edges and stuffed that into baggies....have wood screws to really hold it on...apply duct tape around whole (hole) thing. worked well.

window flashing material works great. cut off, stick in your pfd to warm it up and apply.

float bags...buddy tossed my hatch into the drink (my own fault i hadn't tied it off) and inflated bag to max and stuffed neoprene shirt around it so that the hatch opening was pretty well secure. played in some little surf at the mouth of popham. was serviceable.

that 2 part epoxy/putty works well enough for small dings if you have time to stuff it in, smooth it out/over and then can let it sit/dry for a bit.

idea is to keep it ood enough to keep paddling and then work out a better solution when you have time/access to right materials....or a friend with the right materials and you provide the pints!

Disco in NZ
I rented an OT Discovery 169 in Taumuruni, New Zeeland. They must not have investment tax credits in kiwi land, because it was the best choice from the outfitter and it was beat. I put on the Whanganui River for a two-day float, and cursed myself for splashing so much water into the boat when I was shoving off. Then I noticed the water on the floor of the boat was flowing like a tide.

Returned to the landing, emptied and rolled the boat over. The repair of a two-foot long rip in the hull was failing. I thought Discoverys were supposed to be industructable! So what’s that rip? I stayed there an hour drying the hull. Then applied a few layers of duct tape, reloaded, and paddled her for two days down to Whackaharo. Nary a drop of water entered through the tape job.

I made a picture of myself in the boat and when I saw the picture I noticed someone had altered the name of the boat. On the hull, the name read “Discover 69”. Kiwi humor.


A testimony to Kevlar
YEARS ago, my first intro to water was a canoe.

My 2nd year paddling, I bought a Wenonah Advantage - solo canoe - kevlar - excellent boat.

Well, my 2nd trip out on the new boat was a trip down the Pine R, Menominee R. (WI,MI).

On day 1, of a 3 day trip:

Overconfinence and inexperience caused me to go down a set of rapids I shouldn’t have.

I flipped at the top of the rapids, and I won’t forget the picture in my memory as I looked back up the set of rapids - from where I’d washed down - the brand new canoe wrapped around a rock.

Luckily, it was fairly easy to ‘unwrap’.

All the ribs were broken, but the kevlar made the canoe ‘spring’ back to it’s original shape. There was only on small pinhole on the bottom where water would get in. One smallish greytape patch did the job - I was able to finish the remaining 2 days of the trip (not running any more rapids - though I did eye ‘Piers Gorge’ set pretty carefully).


doesn’t look like too many people
hole their boats :frowning: