Seals Mariner skirt...Bilge Pump Portal?

-- Last Updated: Jun-11-07 1:34 PM EST --

I noticed the Seals Mariner spray skirt now has a "bilge pump portal". It looks like a plastic screw-top day hatch that is sewn into the spray skirt. Has anyone seen one? Is it like I envision? Did the fabric/plastic seal seem robust?

I’ve seen it, but not used it
It is as you describe. It has a neoprene gasket under the screw in cover that seals around the bilge pump shaft. The first ones made were riveted through the skirt to the backing plate, but that did not work out. It was then re- engineered to use small stainless steel screws in place of the rivits. Seals may try to engineer this into their neoprene line - at least that’s what I suggested to them.


What a sweet feature
Of all the designs I’ve heard of & seen to provide access through a skirt, this has to be the only one that I can visualize actually working. Provided it’s durable. But given the robust nature of this skirt, I’m willing to take a chance.

Aside from the convenience, that is quite a safety feature. Seems like there was more than one story in “Deep Trouble” that had to do w/ someone not being able to pump water from their boat w/ the skirt unfastened.

Now if they do that in neoprene…

Pretty easy to add your own.
All you need it the small screw hatch and a simple backer plate.

A more Tupperware-like lid/gasket might be easier to work.

i have VAGUE recollections about
a neoprene skirt that had a portal like this…without any hard pieces…

it was a hole through the skirt with a long neck…to seal it off you had to cinch the neck shut and twist it off…

anyone else remember seeing this???

maybe it was in my head…


reed sprayskirt
Has a bilge pump opening that acts just like a dry bag top. works great to pump water, reach into an underdeck bag, or just to “have a scratch”.


Corgimas and Paul…
be well advised that a roll top drybag spraydeck portal is not wave proof. I have no experience with the hard cover types. If a wave hits the roll top kind you will fill your cockpit (or more) to the brim. Mine did.


I don’t know about the screw-style hatches on spray skirts, but I did add one to a Dagger Crossover I had. It turned out to be the driest hatch I’ve ever seen.

I can see the point that you could add your own.

Comments straight from the factory
I emailed the manufacture and Joe Galea promptly responded w/ a very detailed message. Excerpts are as follows. I find his differentiation between spray skirt seal on roto boats and composite boats to be especially interesting. One of the reviews of this skirt found elsewhere on this site stated that the skirt experienced virtually no leakage even after 10 rolls. I wonder if that was with a composite boat.

“Thank you for your interest in our Mariner Sprayskirt. Our Pumphouse portal is a lightweight, 5” screw top deck plate. The top is tethered so it can not be dropped overboard. Although there is a sewn element to the design, there is no stitching through the fabric that is associated with this feature. We have developed a watertight interface assembly which includes an inner gasket that hugs and supports a standard pump. [Brian-in-Lansing comment: I read that to be a hatch backing plate] To date we have not experienced any returns for any quality matters on this product…"

“With regards to rolling: It is generally accepted that a sprayskirt with a neoprene deck is dryer when compared to to a “nylon” fabric deck. With a neoprene deck the seal around the rim is most generally tighter and therefore more reliable. We believe that a “nylon” fabric sprayskirt is capable of handling up to moderate paddling conditions when properly sized and adjusted on rotational molded cockpits and more demanding conditions when properly sized and adjusted on composite cockpits or any other proprietary plastic that forms a well defined lip on the rim. We do not recommend using a “nylon” fabric sprayskirt on a roto kayak whenever repeated Eskimo rolls will be expected unless its near shore and for fun. This same sprayskirt installed on a composite cockpit rim would be able to perform numerous rolls although as previously stated, one could have a higher expectation of a dry performance when using a neoprene decked sprayskirt. It has been our experience that when rolling, the skirt coming off at the sides of the cockpit is more of an issue than implosion.”

thats the one…knew i had seen it…
not completely h2o proof…good to know!!!

Not completely waterproof…
If you mean the portal isn’t waterproof, it actually is when it’s closed. And when in use there is a neoprene flange that semi-seals around your bilge pump to prevent splashing large amounts of water into the boat while you’re pumping. Or scratching for that matter.

As for the skirt… I read that the seal around a rotomolded cockpit is a bit of a problem, and the seal around a composite cockpit is much less of a problem. Like I said, there’s a guy who reviewed this skirt & said he had no leakage after 10 rolls. That’s pretty water proof to me.

I’m getting this skirt for my wife’s boat (Hurricane Tracer). That boat has a composite-style cockpit combing. I’m getting a new neoprene skirt for my boat (Valley Skerry rotomolded) partially because of the leakage issue. I’ll report back when I actually use both skirts side-by-side, and I’ll switch boats to see if I can get the Mariner to seal to my rotomolded boat. [It won’t be cut to fit my cockpit, but if it does seal pretty well it will prove the skirt to be up to snuff.]