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Marine-Tex Review: Rapid Set Repair Epoxy for Emergency Repairs

Kayak on ice pan.

The skeg box in my NDK Explorer sea kayak is made from plastic and glued in the boat. There’s no fiberglass protecting the outside edge. Instead, NDK/SKUK just covered the exposed plastic edge with a layer of gelcoat. Although gelcoat takes abrasion well, it fails in impact and really needs fiberglass under it for any strength. Before my last expedition, I noticed that the gelcoat was wearing off the skeg box and the plastic was actually fractured. On its website Sea Kayaking UK actually offers repair advice for this problem, so it’s not entirely rare.

Boken NDK skeg box.The problem was that the repair involved cutting out the broken plastic and replacing it with fiberglass. I just didn’t have the time. Additionally, because the elite layup flexes like a wet noodle, spider cracks were forming along each bulkhead (It was suggested that these are pressure cracks from air expansion in the cargo holds, but the front is vented, which means there’s no expansion there, so that leaves the hull flex or stress riser problems from the bulkheads). Those spider cracks were chipping out, so I had a half dozen or so gelcoat chips on the bulkheads. With very little time before the trip, I couldn’t properly repair the problems, so I bought Marine-Tex Rapid Set Repair Epoxy and decided to see if it would work. This is my Marine-tex review.

Marine-Tex Claims

Marine-Tex claims that the Rapid Set Epoxy is a waterproof epoxy that cures in one hour in 72 degree Fahrenheit temperatures. It’s 1:1 ratio makes it easy-to-mix. It also claims that the epoxy provides a good bond for filling cracks and voids in fiberglass, wood, many hard plastics and several other materials. It can also be used to secure loose hardware and fasteners. The 2-oz. kit is the smallest and easiest to carry in an emergency repair kit. It comes as a set of two tubes. One contains the resin and the other contains the hardener.

Using Marine-Tex Repair Epoxy

Doing a Marine-tex review testTo use the Marine-tex epoxy, you mix equal parts of paste from each tube together. Once mixed, it starts to harden. Marine-tex states that you have about five minutes of working time before it becomes too warm and needs to be discarded. I worked in smaller batches to ensure that I had time to spread the epoxy.

Before the trip, I used a popsicle stick to mix and spread the epoxy evenly into the cracks in my skeg box. I also built up the epoxy over the box lip to a height equal with the original gelcoat. For the gelcoat chips, I filled the chip even with the rest of the gelcoat. The paste is gray, so it stands out on a white hull. I wish it came in white. On my first application, I came back in about an hour and it felt like it setup, so I sanded it smooth. Sanding was easy.

My Marine-Tex Review and Experience in the Field

The gelcoat chip repairs held up for the 45 days I was on expedition, but the repair around the skeg box gave way after about 25 days. Considering that the skeg box saw rock hits, was dragged across beaches, filled with sand and rocks, and generally just beat up, I felt the repair epoxy worked well. If the plastic skeg box hadn’t cracked further, I think the repair would have held up the entire trip.

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Marine-tex Rapid Set EpoxyIn the field, I re-repaired the NDK skeg box on a remote beach. I found a flat rock on which to mix the epoxy and a small twig to mix and apply the epoxy. The repair went on as easily in the field and it did at home. It wasn’t as smooth, and I didn’t have any sandpaper, but I was more worried about further damage to the plastic skeg box than appearance. The repair lasted the remainder of the trip. In addition to the SKUK skeg box repair, two patches holding my North Water Under Deck Bag to my kayak came loose. The epoxy held the patches for the trip and are still holding the patches.

Going on a Trip, Buy Some, It’s Worth It

Overall, I’m happy with the performance of the Marine Tex Rapid Set Repair Epoxy. It’s something that I can highly recommend for paddlers that use composite kayaks or canoes. I paid $18 at a marine supply store. It’s only $13 through Amazon and the above link.

4 comments

  • though maybe you didn’t intend it as such, there’s really good info there about NDK build practices.

    I agree about the color, it’s awful. Perhaps hard to remove, too, when you get to to a permanent repair? J.B. Weld is about the same and I can tell you it’s a bear, you need to grind it off.

    Guess for temporary repairs far from home, I’d still “stick” w. Gorilla Tape lol

    Thank you for a refreshingly honest and practical review.

  • This stuff sands pretty easily, but since it’s holding up in the gelcoat chips, I’m not going to remove it until the surrounding area cracks off or until I decide to jump in and fix spider cracks. I’d actually consider it a permanent fix for gelcoat chips.

    On the skeg, if I had used tape, it would have been a daily repair job. The Marine-Tex lasted for 25 days. Also, I doubt that tape would have held up my Under Deck Bag, which is now also permanently fixed with Marine-Tex. Tape has it uses, but this stuff is good enough that I’m now carrying it on trips.

  • Marine Tex is junk. I repaired an aluminum boat with it and after 2 years the repair shattered like glass and the leak returned. I repaired the boat again with Lab Metal from Alvin Products and am very happy with the results. Lab Metal is a one part solution that goes on like mud (after diluting with their astringent) and hardens like metal. It is truly miraculous at about 1/3 the cost of marine Tex.

    • I wonder if that’s because you used it on metal. Seems to work fine on fiberglass and it was easy to use in the field.

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