Help w/ Flotation

-- Last Updated: Jul-27-06 1:40 AM EST --

I am new to the sport of canoeing and just bought a Mad River Explorer 16TT. It will be used at Big Bear Lake in California with my family (wife and 2 kids 2 & 5) as well as the Newport Beach Back Bay. With friends it may be used on light rivers, Class 1 and MAYBE a class 2 (who knows if I get to be a descent paddler).

My question is, do I need flotation bags (bow & stern) for these activities? I am, as well as my family except my 2 year old son, very good swimmers. (Surf, snorkel, swim, etc...)While I expect us to be safe, if we tip in deep water, will my new boat sink to the bottom leaving us to swim for shore?

If I do need them, will 1 in front and 1 in back work well or will I need a third center bag?

Sorry if I sound lame but this is something I better ask b4 blowing it. I can just see my wife now saying you should have bought me a ring instead of donating that artificial reef as we swim to safty.

Thanks in advance everybody!

Costa Mesa, CA

she floats
barely…the TT will float in calm water with 6" (or more) of freeboard. This is full as you can get her.

so…would it be better to have more?? maybe.

in any kind of rough conditions and current, if/when you flip it will be waaaayyyy easier to recover the boat w/ extra floats, especially 3 bags. but…

overkill maybe??

here’s what you do: take the boat to the lake on a hot day, don’t go very far out. flip over. test its floatability and THEN decide if you want more.


I wouldn’t get them for two reasons
1. If you are only doing flat lakes or class I-II rivers you shouldn’t need them.

2. If you have them they (especially the center one) will take up too much room and there won’t be room for the kids.

If you are planning on not listening to the wind/weather reports prior to going out and the lake you are going on has a history of blowing up big time whitecaps then you might want bow and stern ones.



cheap alternative
I have a MR Explorer (though kayak mostly now), and just use a truck tire inner tube jammed under the center thwart. Any float system takes space. Another option is to get an electric pump–way overkill for flat water paddling, but if you can afford it… Rapid Runner Bilge Systems is a good choice.

agree with JackL
That’s exactly the advice I’d give.

So it floats?
I will take the advice and test the thing out in the shallows. Just did not want to lose my boat as Big Bear Lake is a deep one.

So its going to float then? I would have never thought.

Thanks everybody!!!

deep lake
depth is not relevant, this canoe will not sink unless loaded with rocks and such.

the industry standard for boat manufacturers says it must float. Think it’s Coast Guard, but not sure on the specifics.

TT has multiple layers, one which is a foam.


Good Deal Then…
Thanks for the info everybody. This is a really cool site and the people who responded have been very nice and helpful. I really appreciate it!