Water in bulkhead

After my kayak trip today I looked in my 2 hatches, one from and one back. The front one was dry. The back one had quite a bit of water in it.

I didn’t get water in the cockpit so I’m thinking it is coming in from the skeg wire or a nut I see in there.

Is this normal? Should I try to fix it? How? I’m a little bummed because I want to put gear in there.


Define "quite a bit"
Were you flipping the boat practicing rescue? Taking waves over the deck?

fill with water and look for leaks
put the boat on a stand and tilt it at various angles while there’s water inside. How to fix will depend on where the leak is and what your boat is made of. Include turning the boat upside down since it could be the cover or the rim that holds the cover as well.

What boat was it - plastic, composite

What hatches - Valley, KajakSport, neoprene covers with lids, etc.

Not doing rescues
No, I just did a kayak trip with a group. 3 hours and 8 miles but on flat water.

It was about a half cup of water I think.

Finding the leak
Good idea, thanks! I’ll do this.

Boat type
Plastic boat. Neoprene hatch covers with plastic hatch cover on top of that. Maybe the back one wasn’t tight?

Join the club. Just half a cup is pretty normal, especially for a plastic boat. It will get worse.

If you want to fix it, the first step is find the leak. Put water in the hatch, maybe half full. Then see if any leaks out while the boat is right side up and flat. Rotate and tilt the boat until you find the leak.

3M 5200 works well for little leak patches.

In your case with the Manitou 14
I would suspect the skeg cable location first. Had the same issue one time myself. Not that uncommon on a new boat, could be just a loose clamp or needs a little sealant around the joint.

Since you were on flat water with no rescue practice, no water in cockpit I wouldn’t immediately suspect bulkheads or hatch covers. Those two piece covers work incredibly well if installed properly.

Even with dry hatches I recommend a dry bag inside the hatch for anything you don’t want to risk getting water on.

New boat? Under warranty?
Dry it out real good, make sure the hatch covers are on tight, and take it paddling again. If there’s water in it again, don’t try fixing it yourself, take it back to the dealer.

Skeg cable
Cool! I’m thinking it is that as well.

Yes, new boat
It’s new and under warranty.

A half a cup of water is not much to worry about in a plastic boat, or even some glass boats with less than perfect hatch covers, if you were doing wet work. It may be more of a concern if the boat was on flat water and did not have water washing over the deck, as it appears was the case.

I’d suggest a middle path - see if it works to tighten things up around the skeg cable works, and do so soon, so you can take it back to the seller if that does not seem to solve the problem.

There is a sort of tolerance for getting water into the bulkheaded areas in plastic boats, and over time you have to maintain the seal in any of them because they loosen up from the flexing of the boat. But a brand new boat should start out fairly dry.

Dry bags are always a good idea for storage - I use them even in my boat that is bone dry in all hatches. It makes stuff easier to organize and takes away worries about doofus moments like when I don’t get the hatch cover on tight after putting my lunch bag back into the boat.

My experience,
and granted, a bit different since mine was a SOT. Bought a new boat last September. It started getting a little water in the hull, maybe half a cup. I was told that’s normal, not to worry. By the time it was getting to be a gallon of water after 3 hours of flat water paddling, I was worried, and I sent it back, as it was under warranty. Five months later, when it came back after repair at the factory, it took on 3 gallons of water in about 15 minutes of paddling. The company replaced it with a new boat.

Our dealer here (Travel Country Outdoors) has phenomenal customer service, with an employee whose main job is handling warranty issues, and I’m sure that helped a lot.

If you’ve made sure the hatch covers are on tight and you still get water in the hatches, I would at least let the dealer know you have this concern. Photos never hurt.

One of my main paddling buddies has a composite Manitou 14 (with skeg) that stays bone dry in all conditions, and she also has about a 6 year old Manitou Sport, plastic, that has been used a lot, and it too stays dry, so I wouldn’t think that is normal for your boat to be taking on water.

Seems like people have different tolerances for water in their hatches. My qcc gets a little water in them when I am doing rescues. I don’t really worry about it. But some get very angry when their hatches leak at all.

One thing that is certain, your boat should not get any water in the hatches if you did not roll it over or take an excessive amount of water over top.

Ryan L.

Pretty flat water
Yeah, I was in light chop but mostly glad water. Again today, same conditions. I went out for 3 hours on the intercoastal. When I got back there was about the same about of water in the back hatch. The front was completely dry.

The bolt in there was completely loose and I tightened it a lot. That’s probably where the water was getting In. The nut where the skeg cable comes in was also a little loose so that got tightened as well.

I’ll use dry bags but I want it to be as dry as possible.

Try some sealant around there too
Go to the local hardware store and look for stuff like Lexel - will seal on plastic but not get too rigid.

Ok, will do that! Thanks!

I agree
There’s no reason a kayak should leak plastic or not. I understand a hatch drip on some covers if you roll or in very rough water.

Another place not mentioned is the grab handles hole. Many boats have a hole which they insert a plastic tube that the rope goes through and that can allow water in. But it’s easy to go to the water with the compartment dry, put someone in the boat, open the hatch and using a flash light, watch.

fill er up
with water and see where it leaks out. Skeg fitting is a likely culprit. Teflon tape can take care of that sometimes. But you will be putting your gear in dry bags anyway, right? Right?