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Can A Kayak Sink, Or Do They Always Float?

Mark Armstrong
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If you’re out enjoying a nice, relaxing paddle, a sinking kayak can certainly ruin your trip. But how easy is it to sink a kayak and is there anything you can do to stop it from happening in the first place?

To answer some of your questions we’ve put together this guide so you can stay high and dry on your next paddling adventure.

Can A Kayak Sink, Or Do They Always Float? - Pinterest ImagePin

Can A Kayak Sink?

To put it simply, yes. A kayak can potentially sink. But while it is possibly to sink a kayak, it’s not something that will generally happen every time you take your yak on the water. In fact, with some vessels, it may be a struggle to sink them at all.

It all depends on the type of yak you’re paddling, the load you have on board and whether or not your hull is sealed or has bulkheads.

Sit-on-top yaks will generally not sink. This is because they are usually designed with scupper holes to make them self bailing if they take on water.

They will also tend to have molded, sealed hulls which can act in the same way as a bulkhead, by trapping air within the hull providing buoyancy. This means that water should not be able to get into the hull.

With a sit-inside, however, the water can enter the cockpit and if you have no bulkheads to add buoyancy, your hull could fill with water causing your craft to sink.

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I Have A Sit-In Kayak, How Can I Help Stop It Filling With Water?

One way to stop your sit-inside from filling with water and sinking is to make sure there are bulkheads in your vessel. A sit-inside craft will often have sealed hatches which give you access to storage within the hull.

These storage areas, once sealed, trap air within that space, creating a watertight and airtight pocket. This means that when these hatches are sealed, water should not be able to enter them, even if you capsize or water enters your cockpit.

Video: Understanding Kayak Bulkheads

If these hatches are not sealed, water can get in and can cause you to sink. There are also bulkheads you can add to the bow and stern for added buoyancy, such as by using foam. The foam can create an airtight and watertight space within the hull of your yak to prevent you from sinking.

Closing Thoughts

So you now know that kayaks can, in fact, sink but you also now know that this can be easily prevented. Sit-on-tops are almost impossible to sink because of the way that they are designed and built. But if you’re in a sit-inside, you just need to remember to make sure you have some sealed spaces within your hull.

We hope you’ve found this article useful and if you have any thoughts or comments, let us know. If you’ve found it interesting, share it with your fellow kayakers and help them stay afloat on their next trip.

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