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MarshBunny Notes
The St. Johns River The Intracoastal and Beyond
Patching a Leak in a Kayak

The plastic of my kayak is quite soft.

Paint scrapesAny encounter with a rock, pavement, or even a sharp stick will leave a scratch. Dragging my empty boat over pavement always left a red trail...bits of the bottom of my keel.

I tried very hard not to drag my boat, getting a friend to help carry it when possible, but when I go out alone I don't have much choice. If you launch out of the Manatee Promenade on Crane Creek and see the red streaks going across the sidewalk, that was me.

I knew there were going to be problems. I was right.

The inevitable happened one day as I was out alone on Crane Creek.

Crane Creek

The water was still as glass, and I sat quietly reading a book and drinking my morning coffee. Then I noticed that my boat was moving quite a bit. It would tip to one side and I would have to shift my balance, then it would tip to the other. That didn't seem right - my kayak has always been very steady.

I noticed that I was sitting rather lower in the water than usual, and some of those tips were putting the top edge of the kayak close to going under. Finally I decided I should find land and investigate. I paddled to a bit of ground that was really more mud than solid ground, and pulled the boat up on shore. The water rushed out of a hole in the keel for quite a long while.

Leaking Kayak

Once the boat was drained I made my way back in without further mishap, but I had a BB sized hole to deal with, and the issue of how to keep it from happening again.

The place I bought the boat said they could weld a new piece of plastic over the original keel for about $60. It's good to know they can do it, but I really didn't want to spend that much money if I could help it.

I looked online and considered all kinds of patch kits, keel guards, etc., and eventually found something that has been working very well.

Go to a hardware store, and for about $4 you can get Marine Epoxy Putty. You mush the two parts together to activate the putty, then use it to patch the hole. It takes an hour to harden completely, but it will harden wet if need be.

Patch on kayak

I check the keel often to make sure the patch is still holding. It's been working fine for several months, and is just now beginning to chip a little around the edges. I only used about a quarter of the stick of putty on this job, so I'll just scrape off the old patch and put on a new one. I wrap up the remainder to keep in the kayak as an emergency repair kit. You never know.

The patch scrapes easily, too, and I knew I had to quit dragging my boat. I needed a kayak cart of some sort.

Once again I went online to see what good ideas I could steal...er, use, and on my second try came up with a pretty good solution:

Harley on Kayak with Cart

How to Build a Kayak Cart

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