Improvising flotation pockets

I recently purchased an Emotion Edge model kayak. The other day in my hast to head out, my center of gravity got too high and over I went. I was able to swim to where I could stand up and pulled the kayak with me. Boy, was that ever difficult. The entire inside filled with water making the thing weigh about a million pounds. It was then I realized if I was to ever overturn out in an open area I would probably have to just leave the kayak and get myself to shore. Even with a life-jacket, the weight would be about impossible to deal with. What do you think of stuffing a car innertube inside and inflating it? Any other ideas?

forget gimmics
I have no idea how does someone manage to flip a 29’’ wide rec boat. There’s lots of companies that make float bags for kayaks, tapered to fit the ends of a kayak instead of trying to stuff an inner tube in there. Though, if you wanna go out in the ocean you should consider a real kayak. or at least a rec/touring like a Tsunami/Boreal Kasko/Necky Manitou.

Improvising flotation pockets
Yeah, I guess that going out for my second time I should have been a seasoned and grizzled vet like you must be.

The next step is…
After adding the floatation bags, the next trick will be to get back into it. This is not as easy as it first sounds, especially in a boat without deck rigging.

Suggest that you find a place that can give you some basic lessons and help to find a way to get back in, so that you can take full advantage of the float bags.

How about dry bags
You could try some dry bags. Put a sleeping bag and and some tarps in one. Put some dry cloths and a coat in another. Some fire starting equipment and rope and whatnot in another. Food in another. The trapped air in the bags will give you a measure of flotation, and the items could come in handy.

They’re not free but they do double duty; storage and flotation.

Paul S.

How about walmart shopping bags

– Last Updated: Jun-05-06 3:42 PM EST –

Those blue things are all over the place. As you sit there bobbing in the water, you'll probably see several float by. Just fill em with air and tie em off. :)

Seriously, I think you should be able to find some float bags that, even if not made specifically for your boat, will fit better than anything you can Rube Goldberg. No need to risk your safety. I bet NRS would have a good selection of float bags.

That’s right, I almost forgot
These are the civilized boards where everyone is so polite - not mean and nasty like on B&B.

Credibility and the “little” things
Hi Mr. Wonhoff. did you notice rider604’s profile lists him as a beginner also. It’s really amusing how some beginners pretend to be seasoned vets at some things, yet they forget the little things like checking the “beginner” box to indicate their skill level.

What GaryR Posted
get the floatation bags that fit, and secure it. Also invest in a paddle float. Then find a lake/pond and practice flipping over and getting back in with a paddle float rescue.

The practice will let you know what you can or can’t do with the boat.

Welcome to paddling. We all go through the phases of capsize and learning to deal with it.


Improvising flotation pockets
Thanks to all of you who had humorous and friendly advice. I do ralize that skimping on the floatbags would be a mistake, but right now we are sending 2 kids through college and I was trying to get by for now since I just purchased the kayak, paddle, skirt, and vest. I have been confining myself to slow-moving, placid sloughs and rivers. Again, thanks for all of the encouragement. Greg

Once you solve the flotation issue
you must still deal with the water. There are numerous ways of dumping water out of your boat, most work best with a second paddler, but there is no substitute for a good bilge pump.

shove the inner tube in there! its cheap.

In Paul Mason talks about how the first flotation he ever say added to a canoe was an inner tube in his book. And he trumpes the hot shots who spend all there time surfing the web (and posting on message boards), when they should be surfing the break.



– Last Updated: Jun-07-06 5:59 PM EST –

6 years ago when I first started paddling with a canoe and a rec boat, I already noted the lack of floatation. I stuck three truck inner tubes into the canoe -- one on each end and one under the middle cross bar. I flooded it. No, it's not sufficient except to keep the gunwales just above water as opposed to submerged just below surface. For a fact, I couldn't get back in without the whole thing overturning and throwing me back into the water.

With proper airbags in the Pamlico (rec boat), I can self rescue. But I wouldn't want to be in rough conditions trying it. Not that the boat was intended for that in the first place.


PS. These days I mostly "surf the break" or do occaisonal whitewater. cowabunga!

almost went the truck tube route …

– Last Updated: Jun-07-06 8:16 PM EST –

... when I started, till I found out just how bloody expensive truck inner tubes are!
... lashed one of these big babies into the center instead.

Yeah, That Too.
I had five inner tubes that I bought at something like $15-20 a piece. Heck of a lot of fun to tube an easy class II (with PFD on of course!). Buying enough tubes to fit a canoe or even a rec boat, would be more expensive, more heavy and less effective than getting a set of flotation bags. Slightly more cost effective to buy heat sealable nylon, vynyl tube and twist valves if one is a DIY type of person.


I’ll consider myself a beginner till i got a reliable roll on both sides and a reliable high brace on both sides.

I owned a rec boat(LL Saluda) and other than tipping to practice re entry i have no idea how rec boats can be tipped. On this site i’ve also read that the Necky Dolphin tippy and fast and the Scupper pro is tippy and even that the Prowler is tippy.All 3 are stable as a dock as far as i am concerned and the ‘fast’ dolphin is actually very slow. That puts things in perspective. Sure i’ve gone swimming too, but that was either a failed practice roll or when i got dumped good in breaking surf before i had a clue how to land in surf. Sh*t happens, you learn.