Improve flotation of a 10" rec kayak

Hi All,
First time here and generally new to kayaking. Recently purchased a simple rec. kayak made by Pelican and took it out a few times. All is good, it’s stable and I have no issues really.
I started learning the paddle float self-rescue and all went well until it didn’t and I swamped the thing. I tried different things but ended up having to drag it ashore to drain. I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t handle it while floating in the water. Basically when I managed to get in it was floating under the waterline (not sinking though).
So, I read things here and there and decided to stuff the thing with pool noodles. Since I am not getting anywhere near water until the weekend to test it out, I thought I would ask if I am doing the right thing.
Attached is the pic of the kayak. The blue line is where the factory installed foam blocks are (I can’t tell how far they go into the stern). The red area is packed tight with 3 55" pool noodles on each side. By my very rough (and possibly incorrect) estimate this should allow for about 35lb of additional flotation.
The kayak itself is about 35 lb and I am 160 lb. As is, it was not sinking while completely swamped and me sitting in it, but it was an inch or two under water. I am hoping to achieve enough of a lift so I can get in and start bailing the water out.

Any thoughts, comments, etc? Am I on the right track here?

Thank you.

The kayak specs are attached as well:

Your general idea of displacing water is fine, but people usually use float bags. Stuff like pool noodles often finds a way to pop out when the boat is upside down. Curiously, inflatable beach b.alls often stay better secured.

But float bags - inflatable plastic bags that will hold air - work the best. It can be a challenge to anchor them so they don’t pop out in basic rec boats like this, but you can try securing them to the footpegs or gluing in D-rings to hold them. And they don’t add a lot of weight to the boat.

You can find them at paddle shops with touring boats or outlets like Northwest Rover Sports. (nrsweb.comn). Lots of sizes and shapes

Congrats on trying for a self-rescue rather than assuming you will never capsize, the usual response of people for these boats. I suspect you will be looking for something longer and with bulkheads over the winter.

Thanks Celia.
Being pretty OCD about this I made sure I secured the noodles with zip ties. I also packed them real tight behind the seat. They are not going anywhere, I will make sure of that and test it out next chance I get.

In terms of location and amount, does that look somewhere hear adequate? Do I need to pack the bow as well?

Here’s what it looks like now


It’s work in progress. I am planning to re-tie it in single bunches with longer ties, but even now it feels pretty tight.

@SpaceSputnik said:
In terms of location and amount, does that look somewhere hear adequate? Do I need to pack the bow as well?

I would pack any area that you aren’t using to fit yourself or gear you carry. So definitely do the bow, if possible. The more flotation the better, and also the more you have the less water you would have to drain.

The ones under your deck in front of you and along the side under the combing look like they may get in your way. If they affect your seating position, you may want to reconsider those.

Looks like you are focusing on the keeping them high up in boat,. So long as they are submerged, they will provide flotation. So having them down low is also good (and can often be better than top - if the boat is only partially flooded, ones up high may be out of water, so not providing any flotation).

@SpaceSputnik Having had to try and empty a boat like this when spotting on a demo day - it was hot and the kid just couldn’t resist finding a way to capsize it on purpose - the pool noodles are not likely to displace nearly enough water to make a difference in self rescue. No way I could get the thing emptied that day, I took the kid to shore on my back deck and let a few guys tow in the swamped rec boat. And have others have said, you need to add in the bow as well, for the same reason.

Your industry is admirable. But It will likely take you less time to figure out how to anchor float bags than to secure enough pool noodles to do the same job.

@Peter-CA said:

@SpaceSputnik said:
In terms of location and amount, does that look somewhere hear adequate? Do I need to pack the bow as well?

I would pack any area that you aren’t using to fit yourself or gear you carry. So definitely do the bow, if possible. The more flotation the better, and also the more you have the less water you would have to drain.

Sure, I can stuff a bunch of them there if I find a way of securing them.

The ones under your deck in front of you and along the side under the combing look like they may get in your way. If they affect your seating position, you may want to reconsider those.

No, i think it’s ok. This is a large cockpit. Sides of my ankles do touch the noodles near the foot pedals, but I find it is actually more comfortable then without. I will know more on the water of course.

Looks like you are focusing on the keeping them high up in boat,. So long as they are submerged, they will provide flotation. So having them down low is also good (and can often be better than top - if the boat is only partially flooded, ones up high may be out of water, so not providing any flotation).

Yes, certainly, this is just the way it worked out in terms of securing them since the only point of a rigid connection is on the top.

Thanks for comments!

In my experience you’re screwed. It won’t work.

@Overstreet said:
In my experience you’re screwed. It won’t work.

Can you elaborate a little more?

What is underneath that front hatch? Is there a water tight bulkhead there just in front of your feet? If so then that compartment should provide quite a bit of flotation. If there is no compartment then you really need to get a float bag in the bow of the boat as Celia suggests.

@kfbrady said:
What is underneath that front hatch? Is there a water tight bulkhead there just in front of your feet? If so then that compartment should provide quite a bit of flotation. If there is no compartment then you really need to get a float bag in the bow of the boat as Celia suggests.

No bulkhead, it’s just empty. The challenge is to secure stuff there. Ok, will think about it. Maybe d rings and plastic JB Weld…

This Youtube discusses installing in the stern but they can (obviously) also be installed in the bow.

The D-rings attach well to the footpeg rails with a 6" length of paracord.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7l-6r7cUZs&ytbChannel=NRS

Thanks!

Just a few more thoughs.
Prior to getting this boat I briefly owned another pelican

It looks similar, but has no dry storage at the bow and a small one at the back. Also it feels like it has a deeper hull, I can tell from how it sat on my J rack.
I swamped it once and the only way do recover it was get it near the shore and scoop the water out. I tried lifting it at the bow and it was impossible (I am actually a fit guy who lift weights) to the point I was afraid for my back and the integrity of the hull. When I swamped the yellow one, I dragged it ashore and had no problem lifting it vertically to drain. I am thinking that due to the shallower hull and stern having a large recessed open storage area it takes in a lot less water. While both look kinda similar they feel quite different. The yellow one feels more stable too.

I hurt my back once trying to empty a Pelican over my sea kayak’s front deck. Never again.

Kudos for trying to improve the flotation, but you might just be better off with a boat that has sealed bulkheads.

Respectfully, when you are ready to upgrade stay away from places like Canadian Tire and the big box stores. Find a local paddling shop and get yourself a better kayak, much longer than 10’, much narrower than 28" and with sealed bulkheads fore and aft. Ideally get a second hand one; many kayak tour companies unload their inventory later in the year especially up north and you may be able to find a bargain.

You are obviously enthusiastic about kayaking and have the desire to learn more advanced skills. You’ll be amazed at the difference in performance that a real sea kayak provides.

Performance AND safety.

If you use that boat where it is designed to operate, the most you’re going to need is a good pfd. If you haven’t already, you might want to work on your swimming proficiency.

I do use a pfd, thanks.

@SpaceSputnik said:

@Overstreet said:
In my experience you’re screwed. It won’t work.

Can you elaborate a little more?

I’m back from traveling and on a pc keyboard so I’ll elaborate.

The whole thing is to make 2/3rds of the boat water free such that the boat floats high enough to A) provide some floatation and stability when making an unassisted water entry (ie cowboy or paddle float entry) …B) float high enough to keep some of the waves out when you are inside and pumping…C) keep enough water out so the assist boat kayaker doesn’t bust a gut lifting the thing during an assisted rescue. … Likely a 10 ft boat like yours is most likely 2/3rds cockpit and foot well.

Your boat is mostly cockpit. Getting enough pool noodles stuffed in under the deck to exclude the water will likely eat into your leg space. Pool noodles are round. Round against round forms little voids. Unless you really jam 'em in and “square 'em up” removing the voids. You will know if this works when you try and get into the swamped boat and it just rolls over on you. You’ll know when you get into the flooded boat and the cockpit combing is at or below the waves. By all means though add some floatation. The hatch, the recessed gear deck aft and cockpit size will work against you in float bags and pool noodle volume. I’m not sure you could find a float bag to fit your under deck dimensions. If you look for one remember to get a size larger so it presses against the boat.

The best way to empty a recreational kayak during an assisted rescue is from amidships. (the cockpit) if you are an assist boat come up beside the cockpit and lift the opposite side. ( I find this side easier) Just ease it up and let the water slowly work its way out. Try and keep the boat level and move the boat higher, slowly. If the boat has a bulkhead aft of the seat you can tilt it up on the side of the cockpit as described above then work your way to the bow down the lifelines. Oh that’s right, most rec, boats don’t have lifelines. Note, rescue kayaker if your rescue boat doesn’t have a skirt be careful not to swamp the rescue boat with the water from the swamped boat. Of course if you’re in a high side rec boat it might not be a problem. Here is a video link. Note he gets the paddler in the boat with out a paddle.

https://youtube.com/watch?v=vZb8Po_YkA8

If you are alone in the water. Go to amidships, the cockpit. Push down on the side closest to you raising the opposite side. Raise it up as high as you can make it. Use the pfd floatation. Pull the boat upside down over your head if needed to get maximum water out then “flip” it back upright. Note slowly lift, slowly drain water out. Once it is right side up, IF enough water got out. if it worked do your paddle float reentry. Here is a video of a Greenland style skin on frame kayak doing this technique. Skin on frame Greenland boats are often made of wood frame. When he talks about 'worse case" that would be your rec boat. But this is the technique…

https://youtube.com/watch?v=xDsgjtzfg64

Now there is something called a kayak sock or kayak condom that fits on the cockpit combing and goes down into the cockpit to keep water out of the kayak. They are rarely used. They may be hard to find. Bets are they aren’t made for your size cockpit. They are mostly a seakayak, Greenland boat kind of thing.

There. Need more?
DP

thanks, that’s good enough :slight_smile: