SOT Flotation

Can pool noodles be used for effective flotation in SOTs?

Why do you need flotation in a SOT?

More stability or flotation
If a SOT needs flotation…someone has a BIG problem.

Float bags are better but
foam noodles will work. I’d look at Topyaker.

Where are you going to put pool
noodles?We talking sponsons here or does the boat leak?

SOTs float all by themselves.

Trust me, SOTs can sink.
SOTs are fine as long as you don’t lose a hatch cover. Unlike most Sit-Ins, they don’t have built-in air chambers for flotation. If a wave, or whatever, knocks off a hatch cover they will fill and possibly sink. You can take all precautions to secure the hatch covers, but stuff happens, and it would be nice to have some backup.

What SOT/Hatches Are You Worrying…

– Last Updated: Jan-16-10 6:09 AM EST –

about? Just curious. I think rider error, way more likely than conditions, would cause a hatch to be opened.

I have "surfed" my RTM SOT 4-5' breakers with the rubber snap-on hatch up front and self installed, screw in 6' hatch in the back. Went over, maytagged, rolled and whatever else. No problems with the hatches, though a maybe a quart of water got in (after several hours of surfing) which could be due the imperfect hatch seals or rivet areas for permimeter lines and thigh straps.

Similarly no problem aside from a small bit of leakage with the OK Scupper Pro, with the big strapped on hatch up front.

The fact is that this is no different than when I used to get leakage in my SINKs whenever I surfed or do rolling practice. The "built-in" air chambers you're referring to with SINKs all tend to have hatch covers (front, back, day hatch) for access, just like SOTs.

I am not against redundancies, just saying that a hatch coming off out there (short of someone actually opening it him/herself) is very unlikely. Of course, all hatches should be checked periodically for seal of the gaskets, the integrity of straps, etc.

If you want to go with flotation redundancy inside the SOT (nothing wrong with that), forget the pool noodles. Just go with some rec boat type floation bags (with most SOTs, probably need to install a hatch to get a bag in the back.) These are available at NRS and elsewhere.


Pool noodles will work
as long as the hatch covers are there to keep them in the boat.

But if the hatches are dependable, you probabbly don’t need them to start with.

I’ve flipped Manta Ray 14s and a Torrents in a good current. One Manta Ray took on a lot of water because the hatch covers leak a lot and I swan it to shore before righting it. I have also flipped a fiberglass SOT without taking on significant water. So, my experience is that you generally shouldn’t need floation with a SOT if you can right it and get back on it quickly.

When you find some warm water, get out and try it and see if your boat takes on water quickly. If it does, I’d consider air bags that you can fasten into the boat. My gut and my experience says it probably isn’t needed.


I have surfed both my Tarpons which
means that the boat surfed after I got tossed out. Nary a leak,but I had a SOT with leaky hatches.

Thanks for the responses
I agree that it may never be an issue, and I too have found myself in pretty rough surf and not lost a hatch cover. But, it must be my pilot mentality - redundancy and backup - and thought that if I could get flotation backup for a couple of bucks, why not.

I would go with the pool noodles . . .
If your pad eyes and/or other deck fittings are attached with screws using nuts underside, you can possibly secure the pool noodles from the inside.

If the screw is long-enough, you can get nylon loops with screw-eyes (Lowe’s or Home Depot)and put them under the nuts on the underside. If the screws are not long enough, just replace with a longer stainless steel screw. You can then attach bungee to the loops and run it around the pool noodles, thereby holding them inside the hull, in the general location along the loops.

(The term “loop” may not be the best term. These loops can be fastened to walls, for cables to pass through. Maybe that will give you a better picture of them.)

I have used this method to attach under-deck dry bags to our sea kayaks, with good results.

Noodles Work, If You Use A Lot…

– Last Updated: Jan-17-10 9:05 AM EST –

the issue is significant displacement of water within the hull. Need alot of noodles to displace as much as good rec size floatation bag.

Even with float bags (or sufficient number of noodles), I suspect once the water gets into the hull, the SOT will still be very tippy, especially in conditions. Heck, even without worrying about flooding the hull, in surfing a SOT, one will find the boat gets very tippy for a number of seconds when a wave breaks and dumps into the cockpit area (never mind flooding inside the hull). At that point, you have to have good bracing skills to stay upright for 5-10 seconds until the scuppers clear the water.

With a flooded hull, there is way more water in the SOT than in the cockpit. And there is no easy way to clear the water. The SOT will likely not sink with additional floation and one can hang on to it but I suspect it would be very tippy in anything than flat water. The only way to find out is to put floatation in and test.

2 cents worth from surfing the SOTs exactly for testing and experience sake about these boats in rough water.


There is a good reason why waveskis and surfing SOTs have no or very shallow cockpit areas.