for me. Since we have been useing Inflatable kayaks up till now, flotation was never an issue for us. My question, for decked boats is the foam in the bow and stern not adequate for WW?
I assume you are talking about kayaks but I don’t think they type of boat really matters. One big factor with whitewater is whether the boat can be swamped or not. A boat which cannot be deeply swamped is far less likely to get pinned or wrapped if you lose control of it. That’s why people who run anything worse than an occasional short class III with canoes install air bags. An air-bagged canoe floats almost as high “swamped” as dry, while a canoe not rigged-out that way likely will find a nice spot to “curl up die” if the current and rocks have their way. The same principle would apply to kayaks - the higher the boat floats when swamped, the safer the boat will be.
I think I will just play it safe and get the float bags. Have not taken them (Perception ww kayaks) out in ww yet. I was not sure if the newer ww yaks had sufficent flotation without adding. Thanks
I gave a very general answer…
… but I can’t say whether or not a specific whitewater kayak has “enough” floatation to do the job (I 'spose I was still thinking about Coffee’s post about not needing extra floatation in a rec boat when I made the first post!). However, if there is room inside the boat to add floatation, you can’t go wrong by doing it. I just can’t tell you whether it is truely needed in your situation. I bet somebody here can steer you right, though.
Get The Bags…
In ww, it's really about being considerate to your paddling partners. If you swim, it makes it much easier for the rescuer to get your kayak to shore. One rescue, I helped a swamped kayak, without floatation, took us through 3 sets of rapids and several hundred yards to get to shore. It was no fun trying to nose push the kayak to shore, with my back to the rapids. It was hard and slightly dangerous (on class II/III) run to try maneuver a submarine. Another time, a kayak got pinned on rocks because it was floating so low. Took about 15 minutes to free the kayak. That was truly strenuous if not outright dangerous for the two folks working on it.
This weekend a OC flipped in the rapids. But the canoe had all the float bags. The swimmer flipped the canoe over himself. It was so much easier for me to push that canoe to the side of a pool than it was trying to corral a sunken kayak without float bags.
Ocean kayaking, lack of adequate floatation may mean you can't get back into a kayak without submerging the coaming. If you're alone, you're kind of screwed, unless you can empty the boat as much as possible, go under, get in, reattach the skirt and roll up. There will still be a ton of water in the boat. You'll have to pump out while using a paddlefloat outrigger (and hope you don't go over again with another wave). With a partner, the rescuer can do a TX and empty the boat. Again, a lot of work and potentially back straining. If I were the partner, I would say I'd never to go out with the person again (especially if the person is supposed to be beyond "newbie" stage) until s/he gets adequate floatation.
What they said
Guideboatguy and Sing are right on. The higher the swamped boat floats the better chance it will not pin and it’s an absolute PITA trying to catch or recover a boat without flotation. The foam pillars are structural.
IMO you can’t have too much flotation… unless it makes it hard to get out of the boat.
I would add the flotation , but also maybe try to swamp the boat on a nice shallow lake or other easy water area to see how much it does swamp. I always wanna know before I get into something difficult what I and my boat can do.
It’s Worth Doing…
That’s what stop me from going out further with the Pamlico and the Loon 138 into Boston Harbor. Even with additional floation, it was a total B^tch to pump out. Smaller rec boats with floatation would be a different story, I think.
It is required by MKC
to have stern float bags in the stern (at least) to take ww courses there so I guess this means you and your yak are going to be easier to get out in the event of a swim…
like a plan. Guess that’s next on my gear list. Can you use those cone shaped dry bags? I would rather spend my money on a multipurpose float bag.
for the boats that I don’t share with my family and/or others, I actually remove the foot pegs and filled with foam. Not only does this displace even more water, it just plain more comfortable for my feet, any eliminates any chance of slipping off the pegs (has happened to me before) when bracing or rolling in some roily rapid.