Kayak Filling With Water [ How to stop the leak ]

Kayak filling with water

Ever noticed anytime you’re out on the water and feel your kayak filling with water unnecessarily?

Now, I understand that being surrounded by water it will enter the hull whether by water splash or a freak wave – it’s inevitable but it should only be doing this in small amounts.

However, if you feel that water is entering the kayak unusually when it shouldn’t be, it could have a major underlying problem and something you want to think about fixing.

Whether you have a hard plastic kayak or an inflatable kayak, this quick guide will provide the best ways to fix the leak without having to fork out for another pricey kayak.

Check the hull for cracks, holes or tears

So firstly you want to give your kayak a once over before you out on the water. Pay special attention to the underside of the hull – the point that has most contact with water.

Look for any small cracks or holes, if you can’t see any right away, make up a bucket of soapy water and throw it over the hull, stern and bow. Carefully run your eye over and look for any bubbles forming, if you do notice a section bubbling this could be point where water is entering.

To stop this you can fill it with a little silicone, I know this may not look too appealing however it will stop the leak.

If you have an inflatable kayak, you will have to inflate it firstly to see if any air is escaping. You can repeat this same process again by throwing soapy water over it. If you do notice bubbles, it will need patched up with one of the spare patches that comes along with your kayak.

If you are unable to find them, you can purchase them very cheaply online or even use Gorilla duct tape. It is water resistant but not waterproof but very strong and durable so it should hold for the time being.

Inspect the fittings

Check for any loose screws, bolts or washers. If any of these are loose or have even come undone, this could be the problem.

Simply tighten them up with a screwdriver or an Allen key or if you notice one missing, you can purchase them from any good hardware store.

Scupper Holes

If you have a sit on kayak, check the scupper holes to see if there is anything blocking the water from draining out of the kayak.

If these are clogged, it could very well be that water is not necessarily entering the kayak, it’s just once water splash occurs the water has nowhere to go and builds up.

Use Silicon to help seal that hole

As I already said, silicon is great for filling holes or closing off open cracks. You only need a small amount of it but it is sure to seal your kayak back to its watertight state again.

I know that it may not look pleasant but once you apply it, you can then clean around it and you’ll barely notice that it’s there.

However, if you don’t fancy using silicon and if purchasing a new kayak is out of the question for the time being, you may want to look into obtaining a bilge pump.

Using a Bilge Pump to suck the water out

Bilge Pump for kayak

This is a great tool to have that is more suited to a sit in kayak. It is a manually operated hand pump that simply allows you to successfully and efficiently pump any excess water that has come into the kayak back out.

They are very handy to have in case too much water starts to enter your kayak. Very light and easy to carry and small enough to put in or to tie onto your backpack.

It also floats so if it falls overboard, you’re not going to lose it.

Using a spray skirt for a sit in kayak

Spray Skirt for kayak

Now, if the problem isn’t necessarily water coming in through a crack or hole but by water flooding into the cockpit, then you may want to look into obtaining a spray skirt.

A spray skirt is basically a large cover that shields water coming into the cockpit. You sit in the kayak as usual and the spray skirt will wrap around your waist and hooks onto the edges of your kayak. It should completely seal off water entering your kayak into the cockpit.

They are fully adjustable with an elastic cord so it won’t feel that you are being constricted in your kayak.

Taking care of your kayak

Kayaks are a very resilient piece of equipment and it takes a lot for them to be damaged but there are things you can do to make sure that your kayak lasts for longer and that scrapes, cracks or holes are minimised.

—–> Check out the best ways to look after your kayak here <—–

Try not to leave your kayak out in the sun. The heat of the sun can be detrimental to the material and structure of a hard plastic kayak. It can welt and expand in the heat, once it turns cold during the night, it will begin to contract. Over time and this reoccurring process, the kayak can start to develop cracks and become very weak.

So, if you are storing your kayak outside, simply throw a sheet of tarp over it and it will shade it from the sun.


I do understand that kayaks are an expensive item to have but if you have a love for kayaking, you want to make sure you look after it as best you can. However, overtime with wear and tear these small adhesions can happen and are complete nuisance but before you go out buying a new kayak, take some of these steps into consideration and it may be a very simple problem that costs very little money to fix.

If you do have any questions at all, please drop me a comment and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

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