floatation advice

Hi, I canoed alot as a kid but am new to kayaking. I bought 2 perception sundance 9.5’s last year. I have done many trips on the local lake (Blue Marsh Lake near Reading PA) and a slow creek (tulpehocken Creek, flowing out of Blue Marsh). My kayaking buddy and I feel ready to try the Schylkill River, according to Keystone Kayaking, class I-II. I was hoping to get some advice on adding floatation. The yaks came with foam added to bow and stern, but when filled with water they just barely stay on the surface. I talked to the woman at the store that I bought the yaks and she suggested floatation bags, but they only had large bags. They do not fit on the sides of the foam. So is it ok to just fill them as full as possible behind the seat or should I get smaller bags that fit better. She said the larger one should work. Thanks for any advice.

You are smart
to consider floation before you need it.

One solution might be to cut Ethafoam slabs into the shape you need and wedge it in good. I have seen pool noodles used for floatation, and it doesnt work, as the noodles get loose during a capsize.

Another would be to install a drain plug in the rear of your kayak. Kits are available. This will help you empty your boat but will not help the boat float high enough to avoid a pin.

I need to add to my first post
Well to explain the larger flaot bags the lady at the store said would work, they are the triangular shape but the pointy end obviously won’t go all the way to the ‘pointy’ part of the boat. So I’m afraid they wouldn’t work as intended. She said it would be ok. I’m thinking they would pop out. And looking in catalogs, even the split bags they sell look to be too large.

Add flotation bags
Ones that fit better would be nice and they do come in sizes, but too big is better than too small. One thing to remember is that the bags cannot float out and away in the event of upset so you need to make sure they are inside and secure to the boat.

I would like to assure you that they are very worthwhile and will allow you a great deal of peace of mind while on the water even if you never need them.



they would
work for her because she is selling them to you and is NOT using them herself ! Stay away from folk like that . Make sure whatever kind o floatation ya put in is secured in . Otherwise it will “float” right out when under water .

know what ya
mean about the sundance riding low full of water. Was considering adding mini cell foam to the existing floatation. I use a float bag right now but haven’t had the chance to try it yet. Gotta wait for warmer water.

Split Floatation Bags.

– Last Updated: Apr-28-04 6:50 AM EST –

I think the Sundances have foam pillars that extend from near the cockpit area, down the middle to near the ends of the stern and bow. What you need to get is the split floation bags that are used for ww boats. These may be a tad small on in the Sundance but will still make a world of difference in water displacement and thus emptying the boat. A note about the floatation bags -- the rear usually will stay in place because the seatback or backband will hold them in. The bow ones sometimes will pop out from behind the foot pegs. You need to secure -- I suggest velcro straps. Secure in a way that is careful to minimize foot entrapment. For my white water boats, I don't even like using float bags in the bow area because of the possible entrapment. I usually get spare pieces of foam, like etha foam that comes with computer packing, and cut and duct tape together to the shape of the bow (a tad bit bigger). Shove them in and the friction is generally sufficient to keep them in.

If you want custom fit and don't mind doing it, it's very easy to get heat sealable nylon (Seattle Fabric), vynyl tubing (hardware store) and valves (NRS Web) and make float bags yourself. I had thirty yards of heat sealable nylon and have gone through about 12 yards making floatation bags for my whitewater, surf and touring kayaks. Not only cheaper but custom fitted for each boat.


Securing float bags
So what DO you secure the float bags to? I have a CD Kestrel with a rectangular foam pillar in the bow, which doesn’t give me quite the peace of mind I’d like. Is it possible/wise to secure the float bags to the rails of the foot pegs?

I’ve seen boats that had interior attachment points specifically for securing float bags. Seems to me that any kayak w/o a forward bulkhead should have these attachment points. If the manufacturer wants to avoid the expense of putting in a forward bulkhead, the least they could do is give you a convenient way of providing your own retrofitted flotation.

Keep paddling!

Thanks for all the advice. It sounds like finding split bags that fit is the best solution. I like your idea, sing, of making custom ones but I know I’d end up making them too big or small and wasting LOTS of fabric trying to get it right!

So that brings me to the next question which someone else asked, What is the best way to secure them inside the boat? I was thinking velcro strips stuck to the boat hull and the other side to the bags. Think that would work??


– Last Updated: Apr-29-04 3:33 PM EST –

The back float bags generally don't have a problem staying in because the back band will keep them in. With the front, it's another story... The pegs alone may not be sufficient. I tied a small loop of cord BEHIND the peg rails. I melted a hole on the edge of the float bag to run a velro band (can be purchased in a set of five from Officemax/Staples. These are used to manage computering cords/wiring) through and the then through the cord loop on the rail. The bags stay in place and I don't have loose straps/cords that would pose an extrapment issue. The problem with gluing velcro onto plastic is that it always seems to come off after awhile. You don't want that happening in a bad situation.


PS. As I look at the pic of these split bags, I noticed that there are already rings in place at the corners to run a strap through:


These are the velcro straps I am referring to:


securing bags in rec boats.

– Last Updated: Apr-29-04 8:18 PM EST –

I have a dagger blackwater - I tied small accessory cord loops (small loops no more than 6 inches of cord) through the rails of the foot pegs just behind the farthest point I position my pegs to. I clip my float bags into these loops. Of course, now a tall person couldn't adjust the foot pegs to fit them but I don't care 'cause it's my boat

It was challenging to get the loops tied in. I put on a headlamp and slithered in head first toward the bow to thread the cord through the tiny holes in the rails. It only worked because I had a big cockpit. Getting myself extricated from the boat was the fun part. My hubby was almost rolling on the floor laughing at me.


Thanks again
Thanks again for all the advice. It’s great to be able to get so much advice here. Lisa