Troubleshooting a hatch leak...

I’m paddling a Current Designs Squamish kayak. The Squamish employs a retractable skeg and has a rubber hatch stern cover with a rip cord to hold it tight. My stern hatch has a leak. My first thoughts were the skeg, so I re-taped the nut threads with silicon tape and gooped up the hardware with silicon sealant. The skeg box also looks intact, but the hatch cover seems it could be a bit tighter. I recently yakked 16 miles in rough coastal seas where the deck was constantly being washed over. When I pulled up at the end of the day, my stern hatch has several inches of H2O. Even in calm seas where little water get up near the stern hatch cover, I get a small amount in the hatch. Any ideas out there for troubleshooting/fixing this issue?

Standard procedure

– Last Updated: Feb-17-10 10:57 AM EST –

is to put the boat on saw horses and fill the compartment with water. Other than the skeg box area, you can get a leak where the rope goes through the grab loop hole. You may also have a little water coming in one area and a bit more from the hatch cover as you experienced on your rough water day. You'll find it.

Similar Problem
My stern compartment leaks on my greenlander pro. I tried a couple of techniques mentioned by friends and isolated the leak to my skeg box.

First, in a darkened room I put a bright light inside the stern compartment, closed everything up, and then looked for light leaking out. I shifted the light location a couple of times to get a thorough look. I also tried the light on the outside and stuck my head in hatch to look for light leaking into the compartment. I didn’t find any leaks this way, but you could see thin spots in the hull/gel coat.

The second method was putting a fair amount of water in the stern compartment and checking for leaks that way. I did NOT fill the entire compartment and I made sure I supported the kayak to prevent damaging it. I too thought it was my hatch leaking, but the “gel coat” cracks around my skeg box told a different story. I checked the seal of my stern hatch cover by rotating the kayak upside down and lifting so that the hatch was completely submerged by the water inside the compartment.

The important points of the second method to me was to use only enough water to submerge what I needed checked, support the boat, and thoroughly dry out the stern compartment when finished. Also, consider asking for some help lifting and rotating the kayak. It’s awkward with water sloshing around.

If anyone has better or different ideas, I’d be interested in hearing them too!



check the hatch cover rims too
This is a possibility, and very easy to check. Take off the hatch cover and run water around the outside of the rim, making sure not to drip any inside the kayak. Do it for a couple minutes and see if water starts to leak inside.

With the kayak dry on the inside of the rear compartment and on the floor or drive way, remove rear lid, take a hose with out much water coming out, run water over all of the safety line fittings and the rear hand loop, watch inside of the rear compartment. If no leaks, fill the rear compartment up to the very top of the rear deck,have a marker ready in case you see leaks in the rear bulkhead, if no leaks put rear lid on, check rear bungee cord, if it has stretched tie a overhand knot in it to make the cord fit tight on the rear lid. Roll the boat side to side to see if you have any leaks coming out from under the lid. Any leaks you find seal with goop, I use it on all of the rotomold boats that I need to seal leaks on, some times the manufacturer will drill through the top deck when they install the safety line holes, you may turn your rear lid upside down and fill it with water to see if it leaks. if the lid or hatch rim are the cause Current Design has a replacement rim and lid to install, you will need to cut the old rim off and goop and screw the new one to your rear deck,this repair is very water tight.

Start with dry rear compartment. go to a water source that is easy to get to and calm water. I had to get on my knees with my head in the rear hatch. With a headlamp on my head. I leaned my body weight on the kayak with the kayak in the water. I was able to see the water was coming in from the screw that allowed the skeg to move up and down. It was missing a small rubber washer.

So what was the outcome? Have you diagnosed your leak? I’ve been watching you and your greenlander for the last couple of years and the design has really grown on me. Somewhere in the future, I could see one in my garage. I tested it at the last Riverside demo day and it was by far my favorite boat on the beach. Great handling, perfect fit, fast, easy to roll and you gotta love the elf toe. It’s all about the elf toe.

Have you reglued the bulkhead?

– Last Updated: Feb-20-10 9:26 AM EST –

The Squamish is plastic with just one rear bukhead, no day hatch. Yes?
One of the standard maintenance procedures on my old Squall was to reglue the bulkhead, especially the rear one, once or twice a year. Unless you renew that seal, as the boat ages that gets to leaking pretty enthusiastically. The water may be coming in from what is getting thru your skirt. If you have a really dry cockpit, especially with a plastic coaming, I'd be suspicious that it is going somewhere else.

compressed air & soap
spray soap all over your kayak.

drill a very small hole in the middle off each bulkhead. (if it isn’t there allready) and push your air compressor-hose against the hole.Use low air pressure.

If there’s a leak you see soap bubbles.

On a (brand new)Point 65, I’ve found 4 leaks, this way.

And with all the soap, you have a clean kayak (-;