Canoe builders - flotation?

What do you do about flotation in your wood composite canoes?

End compartments
Hi String. I cut panels of 3 MM ply (they were in the plans, easy to transfer and cut out) that conformed in shape to the inner sides of the hull in a tapered manner and epoxied in these bulkheads in the ends for built-in flotation chambers. Similar to what you see in many kevlar and glass boats for sale. This was in my Glen-L Rob Roy canoe.

I was thinking of doing the same
thing. I’ll have to design mine.

wood floats
When swamped and upright my strippers float with the gunnels about 4 inches out of the water, same as my royalex, or an aluminum with added flotation. Unless you add enough fiberglass to overcome the bouyancy of the wood there is no need for added flotation.

With you in them?

– Last Updated: Jun-07-05 9:25 AM EST –

Certainly wood floats but add my 220 pounds and/or camping gear and any of my wooden boats remain swamped if I don't have integrated or added flotation.
My 16 foot sharpie (imagine an oversize flat bottom canoe with two masts) before flotation would float with gunnels 3 inches above the surface but when I got back in she would be right at water line staying swamped. Same boat with new end compartments and I could put my back to her, hoist myself in and bail her out because she now had 4 to 6 inches of freeboard.
My royalex Penobscot 16 will stay submerged when swamped with me back in her. With bags in bow and stern she rides 6 to 8 inches above water line allowing me to get back in - in the same backwards hoist manner.
My wood Rob Roy basically the same. She floats high due to her integral flotation compartments. Had I built her without them, I have no doubt she would remain submerged if I got back in and tried to bail.
Having never built a stripper perhaps I am ignorant of some additional wood volume that is encapsulated so please let us know if you are referring to them floating that high with you aboard. I may change my mind and build a stripper next.

Mine is a stitch and glue, which is 90%
wood. I guess the question becomes how do I want it to float?

floating your boat
You want it to float on top of the water. The open side goes up. The closed side goes down. If I remember correctly, it is a canoe, which means you don’t have to do stoopid stuff like swamp it to prove you are a man. That’s what kayakers do. Have a little self-respect. You’re among men now :slight_smile:

It probably wouldn’t hurt to build a little extra flotation into it. You can do compartments in the ends or just put a couple of small airbags in. Mohawk has small end bags that they secure in their canoes with a single strap. If you want to be a real man, get them in pink a la Sing :slight_smile:

I go
the same Route that C2G does. If I am out solo I have airbags to allow me self rescue. If I have other partners around I leave the airbags out. You have seen my canoe Jim, I have the slotted inwales so it is an easy installation.


I will do the same thing - removable
air bags. Maybe beachballs. They can be had in pink.