There are a few different scenarios where you might use tape underwater and in other watery situations.
Patching up small holes in canoes, kayaks, and other watercraft as a temporary fix to get you home would be one example.
Temporary patches for water intake pipes and other underwater plumbing would be another.
Maybe you have a rain gutter that has a hole in a bad location and you need to tape it up until you can do a proper fix. Or you might just need to tape a beer holder to the side of your inflatable chair while you’re relaxing in the pool.
The nature of tape is that it gets put to some wild and woolly uses, and you can never predict when you’ll need it and what you might need it for.
Waterproof tape gives you an even wider range of uses.
Watery environments aren’t the easiest to use tape in though, so here are a few suggestions for the best tape to use underwater.
Duct tape is probably the most well-known tape for general purpose use. It has a sturdy waterproof backing and uses a water-resistant rubber-based adhesive to let it stick to wet surfaces.
Duct tape was originally invented to seal ammunition boxes during World War 2 to help stop the ammunition from becoming water damaged in the rain.
It was so versatile though that it ended up being used for everything from sealing tears in canvas tents to sealing the roof canopies on military vehicles.
Duct tape is often used for emergency plumbing repairs, particularly on drainage pipes. It can also be used to seal up leaks in things such as above-ground pools as a temporary measure.
You might get a few months use out of it in this case, so it can be cheaper to just keep replacing the tape rather than doing expensive pool repairs.
Flex tape is a flexible rubberized water-resistant tape that is designed to conform as much as possible to the surface it is taped onto.
This can be handy when you are taping up something with a complex geometry that you need a good seal against.
This also means that it is easier to work out any water and air bubbles between the tape and the surface it is sticking to so that it forms a better seal.
Flex tape doesn’t work well on plastic surfaces though, so it may not be suitable for watercraft with plastic hulls and similar usage situations.
You may need to allow extra time for the tape to stick if you are applying it to plastic and plasticized surfaces.
Gorilla tape is a robust type of duct tape that is designed for more extreme situations. It uses double-strength adhesive for extra sticking power and has a heavy-duty reinforced backing that is resistant to water.
It is resistant to damage from ultra-violet radiation from the sun and it can stick to a wide range of materials, including bricks, wood, and stone.
If you’re looking for the best tape to use underwater, in our opinion, gorilla tape is probably the tape you should choose.
Tips for Taping Underwater
Whichever tape you use you’ll need to clean off any loose material on the surface you are sticking the tape to first.
You want the tape to stick to the surface, not to any muck covering it.
Scrape, brush, and rub that material off as best you can and then clean the surface with detergent if possible.
That can be tricky if you’re working underwater, but granulated detergents wrapped up in a scouring pad should be possible to apply in this situation.
Ideally, you should remove whatever you are taping from the water and let it dry out thoroughly before taping it.
Water-resistant tape can be hugely useful in a variety of situations.
In some cases it can be a life-saver. You never know when you’ll find yourself in a situation where something will need patching or sealing.
Make sure you pack a roll of whatever you think is the best tape to use underwater and you won’t be caught short when something springs a leak.