Water in hatches after roll class

I took a roll class at a indoor pool. That went fine. When i got home with my kayak a Eddyline Nighthawk 16 which i bought used last October so no warranty. I found i had some water in both front and rear hatch compartments. About a cup in the rear hatch and about 2 cups of water in front hatch.

Ok so is there an easy way to test for leaks?? If I put a gallon or two of water in the hatch compartment itself I would think it will be hard to tell with clear water were its leaking through bulkhead? Can i ad small amount of food coloring to water to make it easier to see were exactly its leaking or will this be easier than I think it will be?

It could have leaked in through hatch covers but no idea at this point. Any recommendations from the experienced kayakers here?

You have the right idea
Fill the bow with water, look for leaks, roll the kayak over, look for leaks. Empty the bow compartment. Repeat for each one.

Don’t forget to look for leaks through the cockpit bulkheads.

Dry Bags
Use them, fold them properly, and all will be fine.

Sealing a repeatedly moveable hatch 100% drip free

-when immersed and upside down in a kayak won’t happen.

Drips get in, protect your gear.



Iam thinking the water got in through the bulk heads as the hatch covers seem to fit nice and tight. I will try this this weekend.

Not sure what to reseal bulkheads with plus if its just in a few small spots on bulkheads I wonder if i can just seal in those spots. I did contact Eddyline and they said first determine were the leaks are then they will tell me what to do. I don’t think its much of leaks since the class was 2 hours and i had water in the boat for pretty much the whole class. Not a ton of water but a few inches in main compartment from bailing out plus I was trying to cowboy scramble back into kayak which didn’t go all that well.Kept tipping over when I tried getting legs back in.

Ok water will get in
Ok but just wondering what is an exceptable amount of water to get in during a 2 hour class of rolling? Is a cup of water good and to be expected?

I do have a dry bag but don’t want a kayak that leaks more than it should.

Does the boat have a rudder? The holes where cables go through the hull are likely leak spots.

At any rate, put some water in various places, turn the boat on it’s sides, upside-down, etc. Look for leaks. Fix leaks.

no rudder
But it has a cable operated skeg. I will check this weekend when i have the time.

But do most boats leak some? Just trying to figure out if this is normal to have some water get in during 2 hours of rolling practice.

My kayak leaking at bulkhead

– Last Updated: Mar-22-12 4:06 PM EST –

I found the leak with the water-in-the-hatch test. It is going to be obvious and you do not need to color the water. I plan to put Lexel sealant on it. It is generally agreed by boaters that using silicone caulk as a sealer is not a good idea.

I had another kayak that developed cracks in the seam between the hull and the deck. This became obvious when the kayak would take on rain water while sitting upside down on a rack. But to determine the extent of the crack and how much I needed to repair, I used a vacuum cleaner and a candle.

I reversed the vacuum cleaner so that it was blowing instead of sucking. I put the hose in through the hatch and used some rags to partially seal the hatch hole. You can't seal it all the way, some air has to get past, but the seal was enough so that the air pressure on the interior of the kayak was higher than normal, atmospheric pressure. I held the candle flame next to the deck/hull seam and moved it around the circumference of the seam, and the flame blew sideways where the leaks were, which was a lot more area than I had suspected. For your situation, inside the cockpit by the bulkheads, a candle isn't real practical. However, recounting this has led me to conclude I will use the vacuum method again when I go to seal the leaky bulkheads of my current problem boat.

I think I can just lay lexel sealant on the area where by bulkhead leaks are. Then I'll put the vacuum, sucking not blowing, inside the hatch and partially seal it. I will hope that the negative air pressure inside the hatch will draw the Lexel into the crack I want to seal. Wish me luck.

One last note. The forward compartment of this problem boat has never had a leak. Not a spoonful. So, I disagree with the statement that all hatches leak.


I have…
…a RockPool Alaw TCC, which is also built by EddyLine. My boat was number 77 (if I recall correctly) and a shop demo boat.

I found that the day hatch was taking in too much water and did the same thing you purpose… put water in the hatch and see where it comes out.

Turned out the bulkhead was leaking up behind the seat. I bought 3M 5200 marine adhesive sealant and packed it in all around that area. Problem fixed.

I still get a little water in the rear compartment but nothing to worry about and now the day hatch stays nice and dry.

Similar to the above, I have used a leafblower and soapy water to find hull leaks. Just soap up the hull and blow air into the compartments and look for the bubbles.

Might not work for a hatch, but most hatches just aren’t that waterproof. For sea kayaks, you mainly want a hatch that doesn’t come off easily and doesn’t take on water quickly. A few cups of water in 2 hours is a pretty slow leak and nothing to go nuts trying to fix.

If you make it airtight, the hatches will deform as the temperature changes. Eventually it’ll deform enough to let air in or out…

Now at least I know what i can use to seal any leaks with the 3M 5200 marine adhesive sealant . Since your boat is also the thermoformed plastic type. Thanks.

air pressure
I have several air compressors with regulators so I can turn down pressure to maybe just a few psi to do bubble or candle test. I will just try the water method first to see if its easy to see that way.

Good point about being too sealed it might deform kayak with air temp change.

is usually only a problem if you store your kayak with the hatches on, or if you leave them on while driving over a significant elevation change.

If seals look good …

– Last Updated: Mar-22-12 6:48 PM EST –

... around the edges and it does not leak through where the cable goes through the bulkheads, most likely it is the hatch covers. Even covers that seal perfectly under some conditions will leak under others.

Thermoform are 2-piece boats so as mentioned, the leak might be at the seams. There I would use epoxy rather than 3M or another soft-curing adhesive, unless the leak is from a very small area. Epoxy will reinforce the seam and you can even apply some fiberglass tape if there is a crack somewhere there.

As for glue, 3M 5200 now comes in 2 flavors: regular and fast curing. The fast curing takes about 24 hours so it is not that fast, but the other one takes more like a week. Just keep that in mind as it will take some time to cure the bond. The last time I used the fast cure version I also noticed that it tends to expand in volume a bit, which might be good for foam bulkheads but also means you do not want to over-apply. I'd say use masking tape liberally as the stuff is hard to clean without strong solvents (wiping it off while wet works but it is like wiping paint - you can't take it off porous surfaces with a rag.

I had a thermoformed kayak (Boozt. has it now) with a hatch that was pretty much waterprrof, unless I pushed down on it - then it would push air out and create a vacuum inside, which naturally tends to suck water back in if there is movement b/w the hatch and the boat.

My current kayak (plastic, not thermoformed) has been bone dry (not a drop of water) in the hatches during 3-4 full length pool rolling sessions. I also never get any water in when paddling white water with plenty of gushing rapids pushing it from all directions (with plenty of rolling in strong currents and the occasional hole). So the hatch covers seal very well. Hoever, during one rescue practice session I did get some water in (a cup in each hatch) due to the same reason water was getting in the other kayak - people sitting or pushing down on the hatch covers creating unequal pressure and then water getting sucked-in.

If you got hard covers on the hatches you can still get water inside due to the same effect - if the kayak is warm (say from sun or warm weather before you got to the water), then you roll and stay upside-down a bit, the air already insight might get cooled-off some and create vacuum, which may suck-in some water.

…Flatpick at Wilderness Systems had more than his share of leaky hatches to troubleshoot and he posted great instructions for finding them at the Yahoo Groups Tempest Owner’s site.

If your deck hardware is bolted through consider removing one piece that penetrates the offending hatch. Take a cheap inflatable raft pump with a tapered end and press it into the the opening. Carefully pressurize the compartment. Don’t overdue it. Don’t blow it up. It only takes a little pressure differential to hear the leak. Spray some water on the obvious suspects. A spray bottle with soapy water is recommended by some as the leaks will really bubble up. I respectfully suggest using plain water first as you have nothing to clean out for adhesive to stick. You will probably hear the leak and spraying water will help you locate them.

My 2008 Tempest 170 Pro leaked horrendously when I got it. These simple instructions created the most water tight hatches I have ever had an any boat.


It’s normal, they do it on purpose
I’m surprised that when you contacted Eddyline, they didn’t tell you this, which is from their manufacturer’s response to a Sea Kayaker Magazine review that noted a small amount of water in the hatch compartments after rolling:

“Regarding the small amount of water that invaded the compartments during rolling and reentry exercises, Eddyline puts a tiny vent hole in each bulkhead to equalize air pressure from changing temperatures. During an extended period of exposure, it is possible for tiny amounts of water to pass into a compartment. We feel this is a better alternative to having your hatch covers blow off on a hot day.”

If it’s a small amount of water after two hours of rolling practice, this most likely explains it.

You can read the whole review
and response here:


Same thing would apply to your Eddyline, as it does to mine. Since you’re likely to spend a whole lot more time upside down in a rolling class than you will paddling around, it’s not much of an issue.

Thanks for the link
I would think that eddyline would have mentioned it in there email response to me. I explained exactly what I did here about a 2 hour roll class and the amount of water but she didnt mention anything about a small whole for pressure were water could enter and yes i was upside down alot. I would think they would put a one way check valve in place to allow pressure to excape but water not to enter like pelican hard cases have.

Need 2 way
My old kayak that I mentioned did not have an equalizing hole in the bulkheads. And I could see how the negative pressure would pull strong down on the hatch cover creating vacuum when the air is cold. When the kayak was hot, air would bubble out through the hatch seals.

So there is enough change in pressure to suck-in water. And because it is happening continuously, you can get plenty of water sucked-in through the equalizing hoels in the cockpit if the cockpit is full of water. But if the cockpit is not full of water, you might get water from some other minor leak areas the same way.

I did not think of the rigging hardware but good idea to check these too - there might be small leaks there too, since on thermoformed and other plastic these things are usually not sealed but rely on the screw and sometimes a washer for watertightness.

Well, the first thing learned here is that boats are not completely water-tight. That’s the way of it. This is why float bags, dry bags, and bulkheads exist in the first place. You turn the boat over, and some water will probably get in.

Most bulkheads (especially in boats with really good hatches - like the small screw in vcp hatches) need to have a passage for air to pass between compartments or the temperature/pressure differentials between compartments could blow bulkheads out. There are reasons why houses and boats need to breathe a bit.

You can, as I stated in a previous post, put a bilge system for keeping the interior as dry as possible, but for the amount of water you get from a rolling class, I doubt that is a good use of funds.