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I have got an old kayak from a friend of mine who no longer needs it. As he told me, there are 3 leaks in that Kayak, one of them is very visible being a coin-sized hole (:D). The others are pretty minor.

I, as a total rookie in kayaking and other water sports, do understand that using such a Kayak is something that rings the warning bell, but on a side note, I'll be keen to know what I can do to fix up those leaks?

P.S: Though shallow waters are not supposed to be taken for granted as Safe, I would try and use it for fun around the waters that I know. I do not intend to use them for extreme situations.

  • 3
    Duct tape fixes everything. Only kind of kidding, it would probably work for an emergency/short-term fix, but I wouldn't rely on it for too long. – Kevin Jul 9 '14 at 15:39
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    Duct tape inside and out, possibly with a wodge of chewing gum in the actual hole if there's a hole rather than a crack, may look ugly but will work surprisingly well. Certainly well enough to decide whether or not you like kayaking and want to deal with a proper repair. – Kate Gregory Jul 9 '14 at 15:53
  • Don't simply take "there is not hole in it therefore it must be minor". Fibreglass can be structurally damaged without actually producing holes. This is fine until the structure snaps. TBF if your not using it on white water you'll likely be fine. Fibreglass can be repaired (I'm in no way an expert on this so I'm not going to answer) because it's fibre bonded using resin. Hopefully someone will be able to provide a good answer for you. – user2766 Jul 10 '14 at 9:12
  • @Liam: Yes, I am not going to use it on white water, that is for sure. – WedaPashi Jul 10 '14 at 10:41
  • I usually carry scuba gear patcher for a fix all. The biggest ones I carry are around 2x2 inches and really sturdy and have these single use portions of 2 comp glue. One on each side of the large hole, one outside for the invisible ones. The resin fixes on wet surfaces, so they have saved me hours of sleep when tarp or tent has a hole. I think that's an upgrade on duct tape, but both are good bushfixes. – Stian Yttervik Mar 20 '18 at 20:17
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Here is a pretty good article on repairing fiberglass hulls. Its aimed at dinghy's but I guess the same principles apply. Youtube also has many videos on fibreglass repair.

The small leaks should be reasonably easy to fix. Especially if it is just the gelcoat that is damaged rather than a complete hole. The gelcoat is the hard outer waterproof layer which covers the fiberglass. In this case you need some Gelcoat filler or similar. Follow the instructions, clean and sand the surround area and apply the filler.

The large hole will require a bit more work. You'll probably need to make the hole bigger and cut out the surrounding damaged area, sand around it before cutting some glass fibre roll to size (a bit bigger than your new hole). Then apply a resin, either a polyester resin and finish with gelcoat when dry or expoy and no gelcoat (I would probably use expoy, doesn't look as nice but is stronger).

Most boat shops/chandlers sell repair kits which should have everything you need.

As mentioned you can bodge it with duct tape quite well, but this has a limited lifespan and I wouldn't like to really on it too much, e.g. at sea/whitewater.

  • Epoxy is not necessarily stronger. You should use whichever the boat was originally made of. With that said, epoxy will be "good enough" if you don't know which to use. – whatsisname Jul 11 '14 at 0:56
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You're definitely right to be looking into repairs for your kayak and I'm afraid, although duct tape may seem a quick solution, when you take to the water you'll want something more resilient! You may find this article on how to make repairs to fibreglass boats of interest.

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Duct tape is not waterproof. If using tape use packing tape. But better to repair with bondo fiberglass repair or kitty hair.

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    -1 This answer does not add value to the post. There are two much better answer that cover the same ground. – James Jenkins Jul 12 '16 at 16:44
  • Are you implying that packing tape is more waterproof than duct tape? o_O – user2766 Jul 14 '16 at 10:22

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