Camera on the water

Just took the plunge and ordered a new camera. Did lots of research and decided on the Canon Digital Rebel EOS 300D.

Now the question is…What is the best way to keep it safe and dry while on the water?


you could
get a camera with a real dive housing made for it I think canon and some others are doing that now.

Otherwise perhaps an ewa bag.

If you do not open it you could rethink.

Perhaps the rebel offers you great features and the compormise in safety and image from a bag for on water use are not bad for you.

It all depends on what you wnat to do.

Pelican 1400
works for me. It’s large enough for my Fuji S7000 with extras. This should fit your digital rebel with 1 xtra lens no problem (it is a digital slr, right?) If not, pelican has others larger.

Don’t be afraid to take that camera out. Best pics are taken with a good camera.

Happy hunting,


I got an Otterbox for my little Canon A75 cause it fit better than the Pelicans I saw. It’s taken two whitewater runs on the deck of my C1 without a hitch.

You definately have to plan ahead, stop, dry your hands, get out the camera, then shoot.

I Feel Your Pain!
The last few years I have had a great old Olympus 35 that I kept in a box, but I was very cavalier with how I used it because I did not care what happened to it. From that, I have gotten great shots. This year, I bought a Minolta Dimage Z1 and by the time I had the Card and Battery Set-Up and extras, I had over $500. I bought an Otter Box with the pick and pluck foam and it holds the camera, batteries and even my cell phone. Now, with that being said, I get so many less shots off because i am so worried about it getting wet. I have no answer, just experience. By the way, if you buy a box, buy OTTER. You have never had a company stand behind a product like they do.


Aquapac makes a great line of watertight soft, clear plastic cases, in a wide range of sizes. I gave one to a paddling friend for an early Christmas present, and ended up using it myself once. The soft plastic allows you to operate the controls through the case–though with some minor loss of ease of use–and you just have to keep the water drops wiped off so they don’t interfere with your shots.

If your camera’s small enough, it might even fit inside a PFD pocket.

My main caution is that the composition of the case seems to include some latex, so if you’re the slightest bit allergic to latex, skip the Aquapacs. My friend and I found this out the hard way, though she realized and stopped handling the case before having a very severe reaction.

Might re-think
Expensive, complex cameras and water don’t mix. Water proof cases will protect it, but not while in use, it will get damp or wet anyway.

A better solution may be to get a waterproof or at least a water resistant camera for on the water use. I use a Cannon A70 with a waterproof case (which cost as much as the camera). It works fine but is not real handy to turn on, frame and focus. I also have an Olympus Stylus 300 which is water resistant, so far works great, dosen’t seem to mind the occasional splash. Pentax makes a completely waterproof camera that takes good pictures too.

Is it for on-water use?
Sea Kayaker Magazine published an article showing how one paddler modified his Pelican box to be stowed securely on top of the deck. You may want to check their list of back issues for that article.

I keep my SLR inside a Pelican 1300 box. But the box sits near my feet, in front of the bulkhead, not on top of the deck. Though I can reach it, open the box, and use the camera in calm conditions, it does take a few moments to get ready–much less time than unrolling a dry bag etc. (which I used to do) but more than grabbing a camera kept in an on-deck box. I missed some stellar shots in Alaska because it took too long to grab the camera.

Since I don’t want to risk dunking that camera anyway, I bought a water-resistant digital point-and-shoot which fits inside a Pelican 1020, with a bit of minicell I cut to keep the camera from moving around inside it. This box is small enough I can bungie it on deck, or attach it to my PFD.

The little camera will not be able to match the quality of results obtainable from the SLR, but it does have other advantages (such as each shot having its own ISO setting) besides the water-resistance. Besides, any shot taken from a kayak = no tripod.

wet proof
Nice camera! Get a pelican case!!! Period!

I used two Pelican cases on a recent 6 month paddle trip. I also carried a laptop and satellite phone. No problems staying dry as obvious of my photo/journals at

happy holidaze

waterproof housing
Water proof bag or dive case is the way to go. Still protected and you can use it in any weather or conditions.

Pelican 1150

– Last Updated: Dec-24-04 3:12 PM EST –

I am too cheap to buy a waterproof housing and suspect I wouldn't really care for all the pictures with the water on the lens anyways.

Only takes a couple of seconds to remove my camera from its case while I am paddling. I leave the case on my spraydeck or at my feet if in a canoe.
Have heard a lot of people use a drybag for their cameras and up with either a camera that is not accessible (good drybag) or a wet camera(not so good drybag).


– Last Updated: Dec-24-04 4:29 PM EST –

I've been taking expensive cameras on the water for years and have never thought much of it, but that's because I'm not a kayaker. I can see how getting the camera out of the box and ready to shoot would be a lot tougher for you dark-siders.

I really like the idea of a waterproof box securely fastened to the deck in front of you. That would make getting the camera ready a one-hand operation. If I were a kayaker, I'd start working on that project right now. Great idea! Don't bungie it over the lid though. Fasten it down by the base (you'll need to make some alterations), so the lid can swing up freely while the box is anchored down.

As to advice on what *model* Pelican box to get, it's hard to say, even though several people have specified a model number. I think the main thing the model number stands for is the dimensions of the box, so the main thing is to pick one that is the right size. I have no doubt that Otter Box "stands behind their product" as one poster says, but since there is nothing that can go wrong with a good waterproof box anyway (at least with Pelican cases, if a problem develops it'll be your own fault, not theirs), I don't think that matters.

I've thought about the underwater housing idea, and one of the cameras I'm thinking about buying can be fitted with a housing, but only as an "insurance policy" against accidents and not as a simple storage solution. Water on the face of the housing is gonna ruin your pictures so badly as to negate the advantage of having a decent camera in the first place (take a look at any of the shots posted by people on this board who use waterproof cameras or housings in splashy conditions). You will be able to get your camera out of a waterproof box in much less time than it takes to (carefully!) wipe off the lens cover on a waterproof housing (and it will take even longer if you keep that wiping cloth in dry storage, which you'd better do since if it's even a bit damp it will just smear the water around).

IMHO, get a good waterproof box and find a way to make using it as convienient as possible.

Here is an article
Here is an article that I wrote that might help you out regarding protecting a camera on the water. Hope this helps.


I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes about the pictures they take, so let me add to my comment about splashes of water on the lens or housing messing up photo quality. That comment was not an insult in any way. When taking pictures in heavy surf or rapids, a waterproof set-up is the way to go, and blurry photos caused by wayward water droplets are par for the course. I only meant to point out that even in calm conditions, a camera that is always “at the ready” is likely to have water splashed on it, so I thought it makes more sense to whip it out of a dry box when it’s needed than to waste time trying to dry off the lens.

Thanks All of you!
Had a bad bout today with my Mother, thought it was over for a few hours, so I haven’t been near a PC. She’s settled down!

I appreciate all the ideas. I think the idea of a Pelican style box on the deck would work out best. Expensive Camera like the Canon I ordered is not something I’d want to risk getting wet. So my thoughts are only take it out on calm days or whenever I take break onshore.

I like taking photo’s and have been lucky enough to be published, so I wanted to step up to a “real” camera. I’m no pro and the Rebel is the best bang for the buck on the market!


Alternative… My Minolta Weathermatic
35 takes great pictures in good light, and has very few knobs or buttons to worry about. I just bought a Minolta Dimage IV film scanner, so I can keep on using film (with its extremely high “pixel” capture) and use the scanner on the negatives. I may skip having prints made.

Meanwhile, Minolta, having succeeded with the Weathermatic 35, but failed with the Weathermatic APS, will eventually put out a good waterproof 5 megapixel digital camera. I will appreciate the extra options of a digital, but I’ll still get better pictures with the old Weathermatic and the film scanner.