Canoe Flotation Enhancement

Can anybody offer any advice/experience on an idea I have to enhance the flotation of my 17’ Grumman in the event of a swamp? Filling the bow and stern gunwale compartments with Great Stuff spray foam to avoid removal of the bulkheads. Cheers!

How low does it float now?
if the flotation material in the bulkheads already is not degraded it should float on the water rather than a little under it.

Extra flotation ie air bags are usually found in whitewater boats to aid recovery in case of a pin and Grummans aren’t commonly found on real whitewater.

Have to try
I was unaware there was (or supposed to be) foam in the gunwales. I’ll have to try it next outing to see if it performs as designed. Thanks!

There’s no foam in the gunwales
unless it’s a critter I’ve never seen. The flotation should be in the bulkheads.

Learning the words
OOps - meant bulkheads! Thanks.

Grummans ARE found on whitewater…
…or at least in the eddys below the rapids…with permanently bent keels, large dents, and disappointed paddlers !

long ago and far away, pre-royalex
Grummans were often found on whitewater, and often still are - its more the quality of the paddler than the boat

I remember seeing a photo of a grumman rigged for whitewater - maybe at us nationals, or something, running class IV rapids - they had a really big block of styrofoam wedged under the two thwarts - filled most of the center of the boat.

talking with one dealer in central NY that ran ww trips (in the '70s, it was - or maybe the '60s)- discussion on how to rig boats for ww - home made spray covers, using aircraft stainless cable in like a drawstrip, and a turnbuckle to snug it tight under the gunnels


– Last Updated: Jun-19-14 12:27 PM EST –

Long ago (mid 70s), and far away; I can remember some of my paddling partners & me, using large inner tubes stuck under thwarts, and tied in with rope.

I also remember extremely loud, screeching, of aluminum canoes; rapidly moving over slightly submerged boulders.

Also remember the instructor of our swiftwater rescue course at NOC taking an old, 17 foot aluminum beater over Nantahala Falls. The canoe had no flotation; one seat & 2 thwarts were completely missing, and most of the ribs were broken. He may have taken on 2 gallons of water when he did the drop. He immediately turned it sideways to the large boulder just below the falls.
Flipped the boat open side upstream; it sank beneath the surface, and securely jammed on the boulder.
Then he swam to shore, and told us, " Get it loose; don't use any ropes"! Remember me & one of my buddies on that boulder, and in the water; wrestling that old beater to the surface.
We drew a crowd on shore that watched; they applauded & hollered when we finally got it loose.
We jumped up & down inside the boat in an effort to stomp it back into the shape of a canoe.

We swam every named rapid on that river, on purpose, and compared cuts, scratches, and bruises at the end of every day. Had some fun doing it too.
Ah! the good old days.


Long ago in the sixties
Grummans were everywhere and Boston AMC whitewater did use them.

They were also used for ocean canoeing in Maine.

But recently all the Grummans in whitewater I have seen are torn in pieces below unrunnable falls.

Seems something like wisdom or maybe mentoring is missing lately.

You want to see a bunch of…
Grummans : This Saturday the USCA is holding their Aluminum Nantionals in Asheville NC.

It’s an 18 mile down river race

The “bride” and I are renting a Grumman from a local outfitter. -Should be quite interesting and different from racing our light weight Kevlar comp cruiser!

Jack L

You mean like this one…

Saw this one on the Scantic River in CT.

I watched the Call of the River last night - Kent Ford’s history of whitewater paddling. Lots of shots of people running rapids in old Grummans. No floatation in any of them. I thought everyone filled up the middle with truck inner tubes for floatation.

word = airbags


sounds like a bunch of drunks to me