Floatation bags

We are novices who have recently purchased recreational boats for use here in west tennessee. I have an old town vapor 10. My buddy thinks the foam block that came on the bow of his boat was there to maintain the shape of the boat during shipping and removed it. Was he wrong? Second question re: air bags, do they only help once you’ve taken on water. in other words will you displace less water if you have added floatation in your boat. I know these seem like simple questions but I would appreciate some help. We don’t know. Thanks

Your buddy made a cardinal mistake
the foam block was for flotation. How the heck and why did he remove them ?

_On the air bags. they will do both- Act as flotation and displace water.

The primary function for a rec boat is flotation.



the foam was for flotation…
but you could always use more flotation. It also adds a bit of structural support to the kayak, which your friend no longer has in his kayak.

“will you displace less water if you have added floatation in your boat.”

Float bags work when the kayak is full of water because the air in them weighs less than water. The air in the float bags weighs the same as the air surrounding them in a DRY kayak and therefor do not cause the kayak to displace less water.

If you’re asking if the boat will displace less water with the floatation bags inside I think the answer is no. In fact wouldn’t the boat displace slightly more water with the bags because they add weight? The bags take up space in the boat and will displace water if the boat fills with water though.

put the foam back,
and glue it in place. If it’s that easy to remove, it probably won’t do much good in a capsize because it will just float out of the boat.

Thanks to all
who commented. Around here there is a lot of flat water and slow shallow rivers so floatation isn’t an issue. We hope to get up into northwest arkansas and east tennesse before the end of the year and will probably need to address floatation at that time. thanks again.

Capsize one of those rec boats

– Last Updated: Jul-06-09 12:53 AM EST –

and then report back.

I think you will change your mind after you try to do a boat over boat with inadequate floatation. Although that little block really doesnt displace much water...

Don't say its just flatwater. Stuff happens and the cardinal rule in paddlesport is be ready for the worst and hope for the best.

I think all rec kayaks can benefit from floatation wherever there is a large unused space where water would enter easily (like a no bulkhead area) Otherwise its hernia time unless you have a drain plug.

Floatation Bags
I would concur with the need for as much floatation as possible. Just last weekend I was out on the water when I ran across someone who was capsized and in trouble. Another kayaker was already helping, and asked for my assistance, which I gladly rendered. Turned out the guy in trouble had a boat with no bulkheads, and no floatation. It took as a long time and a lot of effort to get the situation straightened out. When we were finished, I suggested he should be sure and get some floatation before he go back out on the water. He said he had floatation, he had just left it at home!

When you don’t use the proper equipment, not only do you put yourself at risk, you also put at risk those who might offer assistance.

Again, please use floatation.

Float bags
This is a disaster waiting to happen! A rec boat with no flotation will barely float when filled with water. Good luck trying to get back into it. I did have a friend who purchased a WS Pungo 100 that did not have the foam pillar in it or some one removed it, fortunately she called LLBean and they sent her another replacement boat.

STP has a deal
$20 float bags for rec yaks. I bought 4, 2 for my slalom OC-1 and 2 'cuz they were cheap. good quality, i’m happy.

Good point.
We’re going to put in the pool this weekend and practice getting them righted and remounting. Thanks again to all.

is way important in any boat, especially an open rec boat with no bulkheads as everyone has pointed out. But that pillar may also be providing extra hull rigidity in the case of impact with a rock or other obstacle, or even keeping your hull from deforming on the rack in the sun of a hot day. It should never have been removed and should be put back in the boat before it ever gets in the water.

And you both should still add secondary flotation bags to help keep water out and air in the boat in case of a capsize.


I think he means Sierra Trading Post.

i knew it refered to an outlet but google didn’t work for me.

I checked
Matt I looked on Sierra’s site and couldn’t find any bags. You must have bought them all.

Oops, sorry
just checked myself and they’re gone. Good site to check weekly, these bags listed for $76 and I got them for $20. Pretty sure I bought my Voyageur center bags from them too. Seeing as I have 6 of those I’m sure it was from STP; couldn’t afford that qty. from anyone else.

Secure those flotation bags!

– Last Updated: Jul-08-09 1:29 PM EST –

Be aware that just cramming bags into the bow & stern won't work. Ah, the stories I could tell about all the float bags I've seen swirling around in the cockpit...or bobbing merrily away from the boat!

Best way to secure float bags is to fasten small D-rings inside the hull on either side.

Make sure you position the D-rings close enough to the end of the boat that the bag can't flip toward the cockpit. It is absolutely useless if it does, as it won't displace water at the bow and stern.

Through-hull bolts for the D-rings are most secure.
-Drill a pilot hole, then another hole just a little smaller than the bolt so you have to thread the bolt in. Polyethelyne is pretty forgiving, just don't drill the hole too big.
-Use rubber faucet washers between the hull & the head of the bolt. If you've drilled right you shouldn't need sealant, but a dab never hurts.

Secure the bags with non-rottable line, leaving no slack between the bag and the D-ring on the hull (again, so the bag can't flip).

Flotation bags should have D-rings on them - if they don't, they're not flotation bags.

Some include foam for shipping
Some companies do include a foam piece in the bow for shipping to hold the deck up and prevent it from squishing down when other boats are stacked on top of it. Don’t freak out just yet. However, if he removed a piece of foam that had a screw going through it from the deck and glue, he removed the bulkhead. The bulkheads are very prone to falling out anyway (incorrect installation at factory) so an additional float bag in the bow is a good idea. See posts above.