How To Drill Holes in a Kayak


When you want to mount something to a kayak, such as a fishing rod holder, a bilge pump fitting or extra outfitting, you probably need to drill a hole. If made wrong, a hole in the boat might leak, but if you work slowly and drill a tight hole, a marine sealant is often enough to plug it. When drilling holes in composite or plastic boats, follow the same procedure.

Things You'll Need

  • Masking tape
  • Drill
  • Drill bit
  • Bit stop collar
  • Jigsaw
  • Fine jigsaw blade
  • Round file
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Marine sealant
  • Place masking tape over the area where you want the hole. If you slip when drilling, the masking tape helps prevent scratches.

  • Drill a hole through the masking tape and the kayak with a drill bit that's one size too small. Use a high RPM on the drill, go slowly and push the drill lightly. When drilling near two layers of material and you only want to go through one, limit the depth of the drill bit with a bit collar. Slide the collar over the bit to the depth you want, and then tighten the collar. The drill stops when the collar touches the kayak's surface.

  • Use a jigsaw for big holes by first drilling a pilot hole. Insert a jigsaw with a fine-tooth blade into the hole. Set the jigsaw for a high rpm but with limited push. Hold the saw with two hands and cut slowly. Cut the hole slightly smaller than the final dimension.

  • Use a round file to increase the size of the hole until the item fits snugly. Avoid any gaps caused by filing for too long in one area.

  • Smooth the edges of the hole and remove any hanging plastic or fiberglass with a fine-grit sandpaper. Remove the masking tape after the edge is smooth.

  • Coat the hole's edge with marine sealant and cover the outside of whatever you install with sealant to prevent the hole from leaking.

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  • Photo Credit kayak image by saidin b jusoh from
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