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Can A Kayak Sink?

Can A Kayak Sink?

Kayaking is an exciting outdoor experience. It’s an excellent option for those looking to relax in an offshore environment. However, the possibility of your kayak sinking cannot be overruled. Such an event can ruin your outing all together. So, what can be done to prevent a kayak from sinking?

​​This article provides a comprehensive guide to help you have a splendid kayaking experience without the fear of ever sinking your paddleboat.

The Risk of your Kayak Sinking

The ugly truth is that a kayak can sink. So, get your mindset prepared that there is a possibility that your lovely little boat can go under the water with you inside. Well, the brighter side is that kayaks don’t sink easily. 

Lots of factors come to play before a kayak can sink. Some of these include the type of kayak, your weight, and the design and state of the hull, whether it has a bulkhead or not.

​Many sit on top kayaks are designed with scupper holes. The holes allow water to flow through when it accidentally gets inside the hull. 

Kayaks designed in this manner often have sealed hulls that act like bulkheads. These features work together to trap air in the hull making it more buoyant. Water cannot get into the hull of kayaks with such design.

However, when ​the case can be different with sit inside kayaks. When water enters inside the cockpit ​and the kayak has no bulkheads, the water continues to overflow until the boat eventually starts sinking.

How to Deal with the Weaknesses of Sit-in Kayaks

If you are using a sit-in kayak, one of the first things you ​could do ​is to install bulkheads ​in your boat.

Many sit-in kayaks have hatches that are used to access the things that are stored inside the hull. When the storage has been sealed off, the hull will become airtight and watertight.

So, in case the boat capsizes, it will continue to float because the water can’t fill the entire interior of the kayak. If the bulkhead is not sealed, water will continue to overflow into the kayak until it sinks.

You can also add bulkheads to the bow and stern of the kayak to enhance the buoyancy of the boat. For instance, you can use foam, which can make the space airtight and watertight.

What Does it take to Sink a Kayak?

You might have been wondering what on earth can cause the lightweight kayak to ​go under. Well, let us analyze the mechanism by assuming a man of average size is rowing the kayak.

The two contending forces that work on the kayak are buoyancy and the force of gravity. Don’t forget that part of the force that aids the gravity is the weight of the user. When the two forces contend, they will naturally neutralize each other.

However, when water starts to overflow into the kayak, it becomes heavier and therefore starts sinking in more. At a particular point, the weight of the kayak will outweigh the buoyancy completely, causing the little boat to sink down.

A Final Note

​This article explains the mechanism that causes kayaks to sink, and also shows you how to go about preventing ​that from happening. The design and build of sit-on-tops make them almost impossible to sink. However, if you own a sit-in, you can make it sink-proof by sealing some space within the hull.

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can a kayak sink

Robert Johnson

I'm Robert Johnson the guy behind I went to my first kayaking trips with my father as a little boy and immediately fell in love with it. It is still my favorite hobby today. I love to go on kayaking trips with friends and family and I wanted to share my passion and knowledge around this wonderful outdoor activity with this website.

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