Venting bulkheads

This subject recently popped up in another thread and I thought it might garner more attention on it’s own. Posters listed different sizes of holes to drill and in different places on the bulkhead. I thought it would be good to get multiple suggestions and see if a concensus can be reached on the best method. Should methodology be the same on plastic and composite bulkheads?

Drill a few small holes closer to the deck is better :wink:

Put a piece of nylon.

Put a piece of GoreTex ( or similar fabric).

Put another piece of nylon.

Sealant - whatever sticks to the surface, NOT SILICONE.

Nylon, heavy duty, is to protect breathable fabric from both sides.

You can find samples of both materials on the internet.

Near deck is not better
Even non rollers capsize!

A single hole near center works at all angles of heel. Hole can be quite small. Think large pinhole. Doesn’t take much to allow arirflow. When small, air flows - water doesn’t - or very little.

yep near the center and small
that says it all. Not rocket science.

Rhymes too!!! L NM

how much of a large pinhole? like a finish nail size?

sorry if I missed it… why are we venting the bulkheads again? thanks


Small “bit” of information…
1/32" drill bit was mentioned in past threads. I bought a set of small precision bits for my Dremel tool. Couldn’t bring myself to actually vent my bulkheads when it came time though. I must be “yellow.” Or wait…that’s the color of my boat.

Lemme know how it goes.

It takes two seconds…
and reversable… Most boats come with pin holes already in them, check first…

Venting bulkheads
Keeps the pressure from building in your sealed compartments. If the boat is sitting in the sun (like on your roof racks) the pressure can build enough to pop out a bulkhead, or blow a hatch off. My hatches don’t seal most of the time so it isn’t an issue for me, but most hatches are water tight (air tight too) so it could be potential problem. A small 1/32 hole will prevent this and is not big enough to let in water. Like Greyak said, most bulkheads are already vented. Shine a light in from the hatch and look for a tiny hole in the bulkhead.

That’s right, check close. Pin size hole
If it’s a composite with glassed bulkheads it should already be vented. Look for a pin sized hole which can be hard to see, in the center of the bulkhead.

Plastic and glass boats with foam bulkheads should also be already vented and releaf cut for expanshion (if it’s a newer boat) but it is harder to see the vent with foam bulkheads.

Into the cockpit?
Why not vent through the bulkhead into the cockpit instead of deck? Does it matter?



yes…not into the deck!

– Last Updated: Oct-01-05 1:15 PM EST –

would a photo help?

No photo necessary
Just reading and learning, I rarely post. I was imagining small holes in the deck or the hatch and it didn’t make sense to me. A humble thanks.

Remove The Hatch
Remove the hatch while transporting and place in the kayak. This just plain doesn’t make sense to me. Why compromise your bulkhead? I live in AZ and don’t have any problems. How much hotter can it get?

removing lids and keeping them in the compartment is not an option on many boats. A flexible tethered lid inside a compartment during transport could easily exit the compartment and fly about encouraging damage or loss if the tether fails.

Drilling a small pressure hole in a bulkhead does NOT compromise the bulkhead.

High temperatures are not the issue in and of themselves. The problem is raised when temperature DIFFERENTIALS are experienced, and this is underscored when combined with dramatic changes in altitude.


Consider the source of the comment
It’s probably not worth wasting keystrokes trying to convince him of anything.

Vent all bulkheads?
That would make three holes right? Keep in mind that I have a day hatch as well (counting on fingers with tongue out).

Correct, Grimloc
Vent your rear compartment to your day compartment, day compartment to cockpit. Front compartment to cockpit.

Still Doesn’t Make Sense
I’ve hauled kayaks from Idaho to Baja and to many different places in the west. The temperature and elevation changes, as well as speed and wind conditions are greater than you will probably be able to find anywhere in the east. Where my critics seem to live. I’ve stored hatches in my yaks for thousands of miles of travel until I got smart and added straps over the covers. Never have I had a problem with a hatch being blown out of a kayak. If you feel the need to drill a hole in your boat at least do it for a good reason, like adding straps or grab lines. I’ve paddled in temperatures well over 100 and have yet to see any problems.