Re: Best flotation system

Posted by Michael Torres on Dec 5, 2007

I use a sea sock on my folding boats, bulkheads and hatches on my hardshells. I have done trips of more than a week using both systems. Here are my 2 cents, based on this experience:

Of the options you describe above, I lean towards bulkheads and hatches.

Bulkheads and hatches are practical, and improve the safety of your boat through flotation and compartmentalizing. Flotation is adequate even if you have minor leaks in your hatches. Unless boat design and build is shoddy, bulkheads and hatches will structurally reinforce your boat. I also find that not having to use a sea sock makes fitting-out my cockpit for comfort easier.

I disagree with your comment on unlimited cargo potential. Bulkheads and hatches force you to plan and pack your load more carefully, because you are confined by the dimensions/shape of your hatches and the proximity of bulkheads.

I must say that I am not a fan of either your option 2 or 3. Option 2 is too permanent and inflexible for my liking (I like to explore and do trips). I suspect that option 3 could get messy and hard to get in and out of the kayak.

A fourth option that you have not mentioned is simply to purchase (or make) shaped flotation bags which double as dry-bags for storage. With this system (and with your option 3) I recommend continuing to use a sea sock.

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