Bailer Leaking

Long time paddler, first time repairer looking for wisdom. I purchased a used Jensen racing style stripper. It's got some bad scratches on the bottom. Some of these run right across the bailer. This is where I see water leaking into the canoe. I don't want the wood to be affected in some way and it just ain't right to have a leaky canoe. If any of you are into that, no offense.o_O

So...I've taken the bailer out and am left with the built up epoxy platform that once secured the bailer and kept water out.
Canoe.jpg canoe3.jpg

Option 1: replace the bailer. Are there kits for this? Everything I see on the innerwebs involves gaskets and enough hull to screw the bailer down.

Option 2: Fill in the hole with cedar, epoxy the gap, sand flush and glass over inside and out.




  • canoe2.jpg
    217.8 KB · Views: 449

Todd Bradshaw

Clarify please - did they have the bailer screwed to the hull (I guess it would actually need to be short through-bolts on a stripper) or was it just held on by the epoxy? It looks like it was just glued on to me. If so, it would certainly be possible to glue it back on with some 3M 5200 or 4200 calk or a thin film of a flexible epoxy like WEST G-Flex. While you have the opportunity you would want to make sure the edges of the hole are well sealed to be sure moisture can't get into the wooden core. It could also be reinstalled using flat head stainless machine screws and a thin rubber gasket using nylock nuts on the inside of the hull.

I've had bailers with built-in rubber gaskets sealing the area where the chute is, so they really do keep water out, and I've had at least one where there was just metal on metal. No matter how well the unit was gasketed to the hull, it still leaked a bit at the chute. This was on a sailboat though, where you would be going at faster speeds and you could have it open a lot of the time anyway.

New bailers are pretty expensive, so filling the hole would be a lot easier if this one can't be made to work. Bailers were installed for marathon paddlers, who will paddle 26 - 50 miles using a hup-stroke, wearing water bottles with feeding tubes and not stopping or missing a stroke the whole time. Most recreational paddlers really don't have much need for a bailer. Your plan for filling with option #2 looks fine, but I'd probably double up the glass on the inside for more strength. Inside fiberglass is generally more important in providing impact strength on strippers than the outside glass is.

Andrew B Mitchel

New Member
Thanks to both of you. I'll try the 3M 4200 first, giving care to see the wood is protected where the bailer goes through. If not, I'll fill the hole. Though my wife and I did race in the past, we're not looking for that now.