Are these kayaks any good?

I am new to kayaking and I want to get something with a high capacity and low price. I found these at a local Dunhum’s.

-Sun Dolphin Aruba 12 SS

-Sun Dolphin Excursion 12

Are they any good? I will mainly be doing recreational slow river and small lake kayaking. Some fishing.

They are basically a pool toy. Save your money and get a real boat.

What do you mean by high capacity?
Agree with the first response about the value of those boats. But it might help if you explained what that meant.

That’s definitely…
…the low rent district of kayaking. Consider a sit-on-top while you’re at it. Seems that these would be better suited for fishing. And there are a bunch of good ones out there. In the Sun Dolphin line that would be the Bali 12s.

And while you’re at it, check out Ocean Kayaks too. Seems they make some nice SOTs.

Whatever you end up with, make sure there is floatation in the front and rear (not a problem with a SOT) and look for perimeter lines too. Eventually you will tip over and having perimeter lines to grab is great.

Oh, and you might want to spend a little more or look for something better that’s been used and can be had for a sweet price.

Not true
Just because a boat is a sot, does not mean that it is exempt from needing flotation. This is because there is no guarantee that the sot won’t leak, or take on water through a hatch, or other opening.

some reading
You might want to do some reading. Calio0frnia Kayaker Magazine had a pair of articles that may be of interest. Issue #6 had an article on buying a recreational kayak. Issue #10 had an article on basic types of kayaks (explaining different between SOT and Rec and SINK).

Both can be read online for free at

well sure…
…any kayak can take on water via hatches, bulkheads, holes but the SOTs that I’ve seen are all built with a sealed air-filled body. That appears to be the case with the SOT Sun Dolphin that I referred to.

Are there SOTs that sink when flipped? Obviously a SINK without bulkheads or float bags will sink but SOTs? Didn’t know there were such critters.

I assure you
There are such sit on top kayaks that do not have what could be considered a sealed air compartment. I found one that was in pretty sad shape and was half full of water. To its credit it did not sink, but it would have been impossible to paddle the boat with that much water in it. The boat did have a drain plug in the hull, but even so, it took a lot of effort to drain all the water out.

I don’t want to mention a brand name, nor the store that sells this boat, but they cost under $300. It’s probably not something one would set out on an epic voyage in, but apparently when you’re done for the day, it is disposable.

both ways
My experience is kind of between the two extremes you two are hitting on. Yes, SOTs can fill with water and sink, but it is very rare.

The 2 cases I can think of over the years where SOTs almost sank were of old SOTs with hatches and the person had not sealed the hatch appropriately. Other than this, any leakage (say from improperly sealed fittings) would be slow.

The Sun Dolphin SOT that was suggested does appear to have at least one hatch. If that hatch just opens to the inner hull (no separate compartment), then stuffing some pool noodles into the hull area could be a good idea.

I do believe the current law is that boat manufacturers most have enough flotation in a boat so that it won’t actually sink, but doesn’t require enough to give enough flotation for someone to get back on if it is flooded. If this is so, then the catastrophic sinking shouldn’t be possible any longer. But a flooded boat wouldn’t be much better than holding on to a log.

Three hundred bucks for new kayak… Kayaking might be low cost boating but I bet most of the folks here spent more than that on their paddles. My cheapest paddle cost more than that. I hope the OP skips the low rent district and moves his expectations a little more uptown. You gotta pay to play.