I need some advice. I own 2 boats, one is a 12.5 Dagger Blackwater rec. boat, and the other is a Wilderness systems,100 10 footer, i want to do some touring of lake superiors pictured rocks in michigan but if I capsize it want to know how much using bow and stern inflatable ballasts would help in the case of us capsizing our boats and enableing us to right them and empty the water out? I know without them, they will mostly fill with water and become very heavy. Has anyone ever had those
Float bags can reduce the amount of water in a capsized boat and help it float higher, both of which help with solo or assisted rescues. A boat with bags will still be harder to rescue than a boat with bulkheads.
Pictured Rocks is an unforgiving area to paddle. There are stretches with no safe landings for miles, the water is cold, and you’re exposed to the full fetch of Superior.
Have you done re-entry drills?
Having proper boat flotation is essential for getting back in a boat and pumping out the remaining water.
Pictured Rocks is a beautiful area, but it happens to be on a large and treacherous lake, which can become almost impossible even for experienced paddlers in fully equipped sea kayaks.
I’d suggest checking with outfitters in the area, for instruction, equipment, and to have someone accompany you. We’ve hiked along the cliffs at Pictured Rocks, and I don’t see how kayakers could explore the area in safe little bits and pieces. You need to have proper equipment and training.
Yes, done a little and have a lot more to do in the next couple weeks before we go, on my pond, things are calm so the boat is still mostly empty after I flip it over and then right it. so it is easy enough to do on the pond, climbing on from the back of the boat. I have sunk these boats many times in rivers, and they weight a shit load and do not float much with just a little foam pad in the bow and behind the seat, but I am wondering if I bought some good inflatable ballast for the front and back of the boat, how much would it keep my boat at the surface? I only plan on paddling on calm days. but should I flip it, I cannot have it submerged one foot under water?
I will have a weather radio, and only paddle on calm days so the chances of capsizing are small, and the seas will be small as well, so what I really need to know is if some good floating ballasts inserted in my boat will keep it on the surface so I can turn it over, re-enter it and pump it out. I know I can on my pond but I need to know for sure that I will incase it fills with water that it will not sink,
what he said
"You need to have proper equipment and training".
yes, PLEASE listen to the advice here
The Great Lakes are really inland seas, and there is no way to predict the changes that can manifest on them. I lost two adult family members in one day to drowning off a swimming beach in northern Lake Michigan when a violent brief storm came out of nowhere as they were body surfing.
Superior is much colder and even more unpredictable. You do realize it averages 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer? Have you ever tried to wade out in it? Taking a rec boat in those waters would be nearly suicidal.
I would not paddle in Pictured Rocks without a fully rigged sea kayak with rudder and sealed bulkheads (or my folder with full inflation bladders and a sea sock) plus companions I could trust to assist me in an capsize and who were themselves at least as experienced as myself. And I would definitely wear my drysuit, gloves and booties.
Stick with an outfitter on a guided trip with proper boats and gear.
There’s something that doesn’t ring right about the way you’re using that word, but I could be wrong. My understanding of ballast is a weight, not a float, that is used to balance the boat.
Anyway, I have 2 full float bags in my rec kayak, bow and stern. The boat came with a big one for the stern. After researching what would fit and was available for my kayak (Emotion Glide), I finally decided it was easier to buy another stern bag from the company, and in fact, that fit great into my bow in front of my foot pegs. Almost full inflation possible. Since this boat is very symmetrical (front and back match), I now have almost symmetrical flotation as well.
On top of that flotation, I am now using a double sided Seattle Sports paddle float as a leg/knee support fully inflated inside the cockpit. (This was from a recommendation in an article in California Kayak magazine regarding using it this way for ergonomic reasons.)
I recall a picture on one of the kayaking sites of a guy who deliberately took only the frame of a skin on kayak, filled it front and back with float bags, and demonstrated how well that completely open “boat” floated!