Will a Mad River Indy sink ?

I just got a MR Indy Kevlar-expedetion layup, and there doesn’t appear to be any flotation in the ends. Will this boat still float if swamped or will it go to the bottom ?

I think the foam core provides flotation

Been wondering the same about my Magic
My white gold Bell Magic with aluminum gunwales and little tiny chambers on the ends. I kind of doubt she floats when fully swamped.

Think I’m going to rig some side flotation in her.

My Indy KH layup has no tanks either.

– Last Updated: Oct-06-09 9:17 AM EST –

The Airex core is enough to keep her off the bottom, but she wants to turtle when swamped. End bags might be a good idea for some situations.

Watch your trim in moving water - that stern wants to grab and, while Indy is a confident leaner in flat water, there's not a lot of freeboard to play with.

USCG regs

– Last Updated: Oct-06-09 9:11 AM EST –

Seems like I'd heard somewhere that there were rules to the effect that you couldn't se;; a boat in US unless it had enough floatation built in so that it wouldn't sink. Tried to find that on the USCG site, to see if it was so (could be it was some state reg I was thinking of)

Coast Guard has regs for boat builders that detail required amounts of floatation in various classes, and detailed test info. One section deals with boats with outboard motors of 2hp or less, and there is some reference there to testing boats designed to be hand propelled - nothing specific about canoes that I could find, neither included nor excluded.

Part of the testing is to determine the weight the boat is rated for, including 2/15ths of max passenger weight. - essentially, the boat must be able to float even full of water and passengers. Hard to tell if that applied to canoes or not - seems like some canoes are "rated" for motors up to 2 hp, so I'd guess that that is what they are talking about, the CG regs for floatation ?

It doesn't take that much floatation to keep a canoe from sinking - wood/canvas has the wood, royalex has the air in the foam core, kevlar will have small floatation tanks with foam cores, of the foam core in teh floor. Used to try to "sink" the old Grummans - even full of water with two people sitting on the seats, the boat still floated, though it was below the surface - it didn't sink. I'd guess that any canoe would float about the same. Only one way to check that out, of course.

btw, my Indy floats - its the K-glass model with wood gunnels.

MR sinking
It had ash wood gunnels and thwarts, and some thin foam bonded to the kevlar in the floor. I just wouldn’t want it to go to the bottom. If it just sits fully swamped, but not on the bottom I’ll be happy. I see no built in flotation and it makes me paranoid.

I can tell you with certainty that large
manufacturers in the US including Dagger, and small builders like Millbrook, have produced and sold many whitewater boats with no flotation. They sell them to people who have the brains to put in proper flotation for use.

A fav topic

– Last Updated: Oct-06-09 11:30 AM EST –

Interestingly, at Raystown a couple years ago, D Yost and Bill Swift decided to test capsize an experimental CobraSox railed, foam cored Kipiwa that did not have float tanks installed. It floated just fine: upside down. Not good!

I think we want big float tanks in each end of our canoes with volume carried high to encourage the tings to float upright.

In a perfect world the USCG might require all paddlecraft manufacturers to install X amount, of foam flotation. Say take the USCA standard of 25# per hull expanded to 25#/ person as a bare minimum; 40 would be better. If we're using air, there is no downside; we cannot get feet or gear into tight stems.

We might also require two separate items of flotation for obvious reasons. If the seat comes out of a Hornbeck the thing will sink!

The reason for a USCG requirement is obvious; if foam is not mandated someone will use air, which is lighter than foam, and everyone else will follow suit to be competitive.

An example was that Sawyer used powerboat standard foam and Wenonah used air tanks. Guess who's still building boats.

I'd cut and install foam under the rails or in the stems or laminate stem air tanks into that Indy.

I just demoed an Indy and I saw
in the ends the flotation ballasts. I even asked the salesman if those were the flotation ends and he said yes. This was the kevlar with Aluminum rails model. Best thing is to shoot an email to Vermont canoe.Or test it out.

More real world experience
The summer after I bought my Bell Magic (BlackGold, ash rails) I test swamped it for fun. It has the “small” sized foam tanks. Good news is that it didn’t head for Davey Jones’ Locker.


Thanks Jim
I was trying to remember who it was that did that experiment . IIRC your Magic floated pretty low in the water. Do you think the rails added boyancy or were they above the surface?

So if USCG has a “requirement,” why
is it ignored by some whitewater boat makers?

Because whitewater boaters add their
own flotation via bags.

But you know that if USCG has a
regulation about flotation (which I doubt), that they would disregard my float bags when evaluating my boat.

Rails ost definately
were part of the floating displacement.


If anyone wants a free Indy
I know where there’s a submerged one under fifteen years of muck. It was a factory second and was flipped during a test paddle. Sank in deep water to never be recovered fifteen years ago. In my experience, that is an extreme fluke. Boats don’t sink, but you also need a pretty loose translation of the word float to describe a swamped boat.

Sure, send me the coordinates :slight_smile:
Sure the gunwales will be gone, but by gosh that much muck may just be canoe cosmoline :smiley: