Re: Best flotation system

Posted by LeeG on Dec 7, 2007

1. stay in the kayak and roll

2. limit the amount of water that can fill the kayak by bringing the front bulkhead back as close to your feet as possible to be used as a footbrace or at least as close as possible using adjustable braces.

re. your comments about hatches, they can be made to be bullet proof and not leak. You don't need bulkheads for deck/hull strengthening in the average sea kayak although low aft decks might benefit in some applications.

Sprayfoam. float bags, bubblewrap/whatever only work IF THE ENTIRE COMPARTMENT is filled with water displacing material, otherwise you still end up with too much free weight sloshing around destabilizing the kayak.

The idea of partial flotation keeps coming up "in case the hatches leak or hatch failure". Instead of theorizing I suggest you actually fill the compartments with flotation then paddle out in some waves and open the hatches and see what happens. You could stuff the compartments full of dry bags and bubble wrap and the floatation would still be inadequate.

The best application for float bags is holding a few loose dry bags in place so that when the kayak is lifted up they don't slide to the ends.

There is absolutely no reason you can't make a kayak with completely dry hatches. There is something wrong with the design if that's the case. If the hatches are leaky and the amount being shipped is over a few gallons you'll have to fill the compartment so tightly with flotation that those few gallons fill all the way to the point on the hatch where the hatch is leaking thereby preventing further intrusion. Otherwise the water will keep filling the compartment until the level inside equals the level outside.

To fill the compartments COMPLETELY into the corners requires two nylon bags one on top of the other so that the bags aren't tight like a balloon.

Given the choice between a leaky hatch and compartment 3/4 filled with float bags and a non-leaky hatch with no float bags I'd go with the non-leaky hatch.

In Response to: Best flotation system for by skiffrace on Dec 5, 2007


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