why does my kayak fill with water [Answered]


Welcome to my blog about kayaking! One common problem that kayakers face is their kayaks filling up with water. This issue can be frustrating and even dangerous if not managed properly. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent water from entering your kayak and ensure a safe paddling experience.

In this article, I’ll go over some of the reasons why kayaks fill up with water and provide tips to prevent it from happening. Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or a beginner, knowing how to keep your kayak dry is an essential skill.

Reason 1: Improper Drainage

One reason why your kayak may be filling up with water is due to improper drainage. Kayaks are designed with small openings and gaps to allow for drainage, but if they become clogged or damaged, water can build up inside.

To prevent this from happening, it’s important to regularly inspect and seal any gaps or openings in your kayak. Additionally, you can drill a small hole at the lowest point of your kayak to allow any water that does get in to drain out. Another option is to use scupper plugs, which are designed to fit into the scupper holes of your kayak and prevent water from getting in.

Reason 2: Rough Waters

Rough waters can also cause your kayak to fill up with water. Strong waves or wind can cause water to splash into your kayak, especially if you’re paddling against the current.

To prevent water from entering your kayak in rough waters, it’s important to stay close to the shore during windy days. Paddling with a partner can also help distribute weight evenly in the kayak and provide extra stability. Using a spray skirt is another option, which can help keep water from splashing into the kayak from the top.

Reason 3: Overloading the Kayak

One common cause of kayaks filling up with water is overloading the kayak with too much weight. When you add extra weight to the kayak, it sits lower in the water and is more susceptible to taking on water.

To prevent water from entering your kayak due to overloading, it’s important to know the weight capacity of your kayak and not exceed it. Distributing weight evenly throughout the kayak can also help. For example, placing heavier items towards the center of the kayak can help keep it balanced and prevent water from entering.

Reason 4: Damaged or Worn Material

If your kayak has cracks or other damage, it can allow water to enter the kayak. This is especially true if the kayak’s material is old and worn, as it may not provide the same level of water resistance as it once did.

To prevent water from entering your kayak due to damage or worn material, it’s important to regularly inspect your kayak for any cracks, holes, or other damage. Repair any issues immediately, and consider replacing your kayak if the material is becoming too worn to provide proper water resistance.


If you’re still having trouble keeping water out of your kayak, there are alternative options you can consider.

One option is using a sit-on-top kayak, which are designed to have an open top and are less likely to fill up with water. Another option is using a drysuit, which is a type of clothing that is designed to keep you dry while paddling. This can be especially helpful in cold or wet conditions.

Ultimately, preventing your kayak from filling up with water requires a combination of proper maintenance, good judgment while paddling, and using the right equipment. By following these tips, you can enjoy a safe and dry paddling experience.

Related: How to Repair Rotomolded Polyethylene Boat Like a Pro: A Step-by-Step Guide


How can I stop my kayak from filling up with water?

Sealing gaps, using scupper plugs, staying close to the shore during windy days, distributing weight evenly, and using a spray skirt can prevent water from entering the kayak.

How much weight can I add to my kayak?

Know the weight limit of your kayak and never exceed it since adding too much weight can cause the kayak to fill up with water.

What should I do if I notice damage to my kayak?

Inspect your kayak for damage regularly and repair any issues as soon as possible to prevent water from entering the kayak.

What is a sit-on-top kayak?

A sit-on-top kayak is a type of kayak with an open cockpit design that is less likely to fill up with water.

Will a spray skirt keep my kayak completely dry?

A spray skirt will keep most of the water out, but some water may still enter the kayak through small openings.

Can I still kayak if my kayak fills up with water?

It is not recommended to kayak if your kayak is filled with water since it can make the boat unstable and unsafe.

Can a kayak pump fix a water-filled kayak?

Yes, a kayak pump can remove excess water from the kayak, but it is recommended to prevent water from entering in the first place.

How often should I inspect my kayak for damage?

Inspect your kayak before and after each use and regularly throughout the paddling season.

Can I use duct tape to seal gaps in my kayak?

No, duct tape is not recommended as it is not waterproof and can leave behind a sticky residue.

What is a drysuit?

A drysuit is a type of water-resistance suit that keeps the body completely dry and prevents water from entering.

Real experience

John loves spending his weekends kayaking on the river. He has been doing it for years and knows the ins and outs of kayaking. However, one weekend he noticed that his kayak kept filling up with water no matter how much he drained it out. It caused his kayak to become unstable and ruined his paddling experience.

John wasn’t sure what to do about it. He had never experienced this issue before, and he couldn’t figure out why his kayak was filling up with water. He tried different techniques such as securing the hatch cover, but nothing seemed to help.

He decided to ask his fellow kayakers for advice, and they suggested that he may have a crack or hole in his kayak. John immediately checked his kayak and, to his surprise, noticed a significant crack near the bow.

Not wanting to abandon his love for kayaking, John researched online and found some useful tips on how to repair the damage. He bought the necessary tools and followed the instructions patiently until his kayak was fully repaired.

The following weekend, John launched his kayak once again, feeling excited to get back out onto the water. As he paddled, he noticed that the kayak was perfectly stable – there was no more water coming in. His kayaking experience was once again enjoyable and safe.

John learned a valuable lesson that day. He realised that it is essential to inspect your kayak regularly and fix any damages immediately. He also discovered the importance of seeking advice from fellow kayakers and doing thorough research when dealing with a kayaking issue. In the end, John’s love for kayaking never dwindled, and he continues to spend his weekends paddling on his beloved river.

Based on: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kayaking


Keeping your kayak from filling up with water can seem like a daunting task, but with the right techniques, it’s easy to keep your kayak dry and stay safe while paddling. By taking steps such as sealing gaps, staying close to the shore during rough waters, and not overloading your kayak, you can prevent water from entering your kayak.

It’s also important to regularly maintain and inspect your kayak for any damage or worn material. If you’re still having trouble keeping water out of your kayak, there are alternative options such as using a sit-on-top kayak or a drysuit.

Remember, the key to a safe and enjoyable paddling experience is being prepared, using the right equipment, and exercising good judgment while on the water. By following these tips, you can enjoy a fun and dry kayaking adventure every time.

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