Here are some temporary solutions to common problems if your kayak or canoe breaks down while you’re floating:
• Problem: Large dent in boat.
• Solution: Hot water and a rock or stick to knock the dent out.
This can be caused if your kayak or canoe, we will call it “boat” from here on our, hits a large rock or tree. First, stand the boat up vertically. Pour boiling water into the bow and let it soften for a few minutes before dumping the water and pushing the dent out with your foot.
You can also use a smooth rock inside the boat to help with the pushing, or a large stick if you can’t reach inside the boat. The dent came out easily, and the boat was good to go!
• Problem: Crack in your boat.
• Solution: Bituthene and/or duct tape.
The first thing to do is take a knife, and using the tip, make a round hole on each end of the crack. This will help prevent the crack from spreading. Then, place a strip of bituthene (a rubberized adhesive material used in roofing) both on the inside and outside of the crack.
Having a few sheets of bituthene in your repair kit is a good idea, but duck tape can work if it’s all you’ve got. Before getting back on the water, heat the duct tape in direct sunlight or wave a lighter over your patch.
You can also use zip ties for really big cracks. Put a few holes on each side of the break and zip tie it closed. These cracks are pretty rare but do happen. That and gorilla tape is often all you need for a quick fix. The double-wide stuff is fantastic as long as you can get the boat dry and warm.
• Problem: Broken backband.
• Solution: Extra cord or duct tape.
For Jackson boats, just tie a knot in the backband rope and move the rope to where the knot won’t interfere with the cleats or the backband itself. For non-Jackson boats, a cam strap will come in handy. Just tie it off to the seat and replace the broken section.
Zip ties can also be used to repair a backband.
Also, carry a small repair kit with dental floss and a needle in the dental floss box to repair sprayskirts, dry tops, etc., as well as a spare drain plug just in case someone loses one.
A mini cell foam can make a great drain plug if necessary.
Hopefully these temporary solutions to common problems will help you out in a pinch some day!
Good luck and see you on the river.