Re:NRS float bags

Posted by LeeG on Dec 7, 2007

It's great to see all those items on the safety page.

I'd pick the NRS mesh deck bag shown (NRS safety kit) over the pricey quasi-waterproof zippered deck bags as the water-proof deck bags tend to provide solar steam cooking for any item stored inside. It's surprising what submersible/waterproof electronics aren't steam proof.

Anything stored on the deck should be waterproof anyway and the mesh one will drain out compared to the risk of a zippered one that isn't fully zippered taking on water.

re. the NRS float bags shown, if they're the same ones shown on the NRS website as split stern bags for ww. kayaks they're 13"x28" which will displace only a couple gallons of water. They're meant to be used in low volume whitewater kayaks. Put into the compartments of a sea kayak they'll take up no more volume than a couple medium dry bags and have no PRACTICAL flotation for a failed hatch closure.

If you have any doubts take the kayak out with different levels of flotation in the compartments and practice rescues, you'll come to the conclusion pretty quickly that anything beyond a few gallons is too much water and it'll take a lot of float bags filling up EVERY corner in the bottom of the kayak to prevent more than a few gallons from coming in.

I went through this experience with three non-bulkheaded kayaks (Necky Swallow, Mariner Express,Pygmy13) in rescue practice trying to make float bags provide adequate flotation. It took four large float bags this size and larger in the standard sized kayaks. 24"x47" two at either end one stacked on top of the other. Trust me, I've been through this shopping around for large enough float bags to fill the ends of a SEA KAYAK, not a low volume ww. kayak. After a few years you end up with a box full of repaired and leaky float bags when used regularly in place of bulkheads and hatches. Most kayak shops don't stock the largest SEA KAYAK float bags that can provide adequate floation in a sea kayak.

In the application where dry bags in combination with float bags are used, like Mariner kayaks, it does provide a huge opening through the cockpit for large items but the the amount of flotation lost is considerable. Every nook and cranny not filled with floatation fills with water and adds to the capsized kayaks weight. Even when I was able to fill the ends COMPLETELY with two VERY LARGE float bags water still flowed to the ends and took longer to drain out than bulkheaded kayaks.

Putting a loose dry bag into a sealed compartment thinking it's providing adequate flotation for a leaky or failed hatch is like driving with your windows rolled up and no seatbelt under the idea that the windows will prevent your body from leaving the vehicle in high speed accidents.

In Response to: Re: Best flotation system by Ron Paro on Dec 5, 2007