Spray Skirt

-- Last Updated: Jun-15-06 9:20 PM EST --

I'm taking a couple of loaned Blackwater 10.5's out on lake michigan at Warren Dunes State Park, Michigan. The person i'm borrowing from does not own spray skirts. Are these necessary for using the kayak, will my safety be compromised if I do not use one?


there are 2-3’ waves, from boats or wind you will wish you had one!

I’ve seen many a day there when
you can get away with no skirts, but don’t push your luck. You could go over to the Galien River and paddle down into the freshwater marsh, or up the river meanders a ways. The access is pretty obvious from whatever that main road is. Once I was able to canoe from the Warren Woods State Park down to the mouth of the Galien, but in recent years, deadfalls have blocked the stream. Be sure to see Warren Woods. Also, there is a good raspberry and blueberry farm near there.

Skirt isn’t the biggest part
I believe that length Blackwater has just one sealed bulkhead in back and is open to the front? If I have that right, and the boat does flip for any reason, you won’t drown or anything as long as you are a good swimmer. But the boat will point straight down to the bottom and it’ll take a motor boat to get the thing home.

Skirt would be a better idea than not to help keep water out of the cockpit, but I’d put floataion bags ahead of the skirt for safety concerns.

If I am wrong and it has two sealed bulkheads, a skirt will prevent any small waves or boat wash from getting into the cockpit and making the boat feel a little more unstable.

Wow, thanks for the quick answers on this one. It sounds like I may want to have the skirts, just incase, considering the lovely temprament Lake Michigan usually has.

And some flotation for the bow
If not inflatable flotation bags, then at least some cheap dry bags (Wal-Mart camping section) stuffed with cut up pool noodles.

Yes, A Spray Skirt
I learned while paddling a local river. I left with pristine conditions. Just some pleasant riffles on the water and a light wind. I paddled around an Island about a mile and a half from shore. When I rounded the lee of the Island and turned to head back the wind had come up and there were white caps everywhere. I was heading right into the chop and doing well, but the cockpit quickly started to fill with water. I wound up have to turn around and go back around the lee of the Island and land to put on my skirt.

I now paddle with my skirt on even if it is not attached to the coaming, just in case.

Happy Paddling,