Cheap temporary flotation solution

I’m nearing the end of my Arctic Tern build and plan to have it on the ocean in late June. I bought the bulkhead/hatch kit, but have decided to wait until later in the summer to cut the hatches. Without the bulkheads, however, I have a flotation issue. I’m looking for a cheap, reliable temporary solution. Could I install the bulkheads with silicon, and easily remove that when it’s time to cut the hatches and install permanently? I will just be using it for day paddles this summer, so I don’t need the storage, but that would also make it impossible for me to put some weight in the boat if I felt I needed it for control. Would stuffing it with dry bags filled with cut up pool noodles be sufficient? I’ve got the dry bags, and would only need to buy a couple of pool noodles.

Other suggestions welcome. Safe, cheap, temporary.

Cheap DIY

I’ve often used a drybag or two stuffed in the aft of my C1 instead of float bags. Seems to work Ok.

You probably want to secure them somehow.

A wood boat is much more buoyant than either plastic or fiberglass so I wouldn’t imagine it would be as much of a problem if flooded.

I bought mine as just a 5YO hull and deck only and paddled it that way until I added the bulkheads and hatches. I should have but didn’t try to swamp it to see what happens.

It’s a very stable boat just get a good seat for it.

What do you recommend? Carving one from minicell, or is there a ready-made one you would recommend? I was skeptical of the thermarest seat, and still am a bit, but yesterday I sat in the boat on the pad and it was better than I thought it would be. I’m also skeptical about the backband that comes with the kit, and may replace that.

Re Thermarest Seat, Backband…

– Last Updated: May-29-06 12:51 PM EST –

That's all we use in our VOLKSKAYAKs - the 3/4 model, folded double under, single up the back. We let it inflate, close the valve, put it in the boat, get in, sit, crack the valve open and let air escape until your backside just touches the hull...close the valve, and 'way you go. Soft, warm, good thigh support - have spent 4-5 hours at a stretch in the boat without any discomfort - wouldn't trade it for enough closed-cell whatever to carve out a VK, let alone a seat!
Re the backband - I use pads to fill in beneath the rear cockpit lip instead - an old rolled lifejacket in one boat, a chunk of closed cell stryofoam in another. These are simply wedged into the rear of the cockpit to bring it flush with with the aft cockpit rim - I usually put a single layer of the Thermarest between the bottom edge of the pad and the hull to help keep the Thermarest in place. Drop me an 'e' if you want some pix.

I have considered using a thermarest-type pad as a self-inflating paddle float (the small pillows or sit-on type pads).

I installed the bulkheads with glass and epoxy before attaching the deck. The plan was to cut the hatches later. Well a year has passed and still no hatches. This gives me two watertight compartments (but no storage).

To complete instalation of the area of the forward bulkhead that contacts the deck turn the boat upside down and you should be able to get far enough inside to do the job.

Good luck… I know that you will love the boat it handles just great.


I was also skeptical of the seat but have been very comfortable in mine. I have spent as much as 5 - 6 hours in it with no problens.

Sometimes (when on a long paddle)I start with a little more air than usual than let air out to change the position slightly as I go.


Beach balls
I use a couple of different sizes. You can get the better ones from a pool store. They are plenty thick enough and really inexpensive.

Diy float bags
sea kayaker covered them about three years ago, seattle fabrics has the materials. Do it right and you can use them as backups, and partially filled to keep gear from shifting