Canoe floatation??

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I have seen little info on adding bow and stern floatation bags to canoes other than whitewater canoes. Most canoes have enough floatation that they won't sink if swamped but not enough to be self rescued easily, if at all. Does anyone here have float bags in any of their canoes? I am thinking about adding these:
http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?pfid=42092&pdeptid=1215
to my skin on frame solo canoe just to see if it will assist in getting water out after a capsize. I know I can reenter my empty canoe with a double bladed paddle, a paddle float and a stirrup, because I have practiced it. Getting the water out was impossible.
For that matter does anyone practice a self rescue besides swimming the canoe ashore and dumping the water out? I come from a sea kayaking background and a good self rescue, either rolling or reentry of some sort, is taught and practiced. It doesn't seem to be discussed in canoeing circles for some reason.
 
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Pretty much the same situation here. Roughly 50-50 on kayak or canoe use. Kayak near home on Long Island and canoe in the ADK's. I've practiced getting back in the Rapidfire and double canoe but haven't tried it with a paddle float or stirrup -- I do basically a seal beaching technique to get back in the canoes. I think it's been ingrained in me from kayaking that you need to be able to do a wet exit and re-entry. When paddling with a friend I've tried what in kayaking is know as a T-rescue to drain water out of the canoe before re-entering and that works fairly well. I haven't tried adding floatation to the canoes but would be interested in hearing how it turns out if you try it.
 
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I have done T rescues with two canoes to dump the water. My concern is paddling alone with no other boats around for support. I have tried your technique (seal beaching!) which we call a "cowboy reentry" in kayaks. I could never do it without capsizing the canoe again. How did you dewater the Rapidfire?
As an aside, I developed a dewatering technique for some friends who have Hornbeck canoes that weigh 16 and 18 pounds. It works well if you are away from shore and in deep water: If you hold a kayak paddle float under one arm you can lift those ultralight canoes completely out of the water with the other arm. The float keeps you from being pushed under water by the weight of the canoe. Reentry was done with the paddle float and double bladed paddle and stirrup. My solo canoe weighs 40 pounds and that technique didn't come close to working.
 
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I have and still do practice deep waterself rescue...tandem is a no brainer.
I can do a solo Capistrano flip with my DY Special, it only weighs 31 lbs, that helps for sure, and my PFD has lots of excess buoyancy for my weight...but reentry is very difficult...After all, I am 56 years old. Even though I am still very active and fit, it is really hard to reenter a slender solo canoe without outside aid, and without a subsequent swamping.
After the flip, my DY has maybe a quart or two of water in it at most. But after a deep water reentry, assuming I actually reenter, I have ended up with a few gallons sloshing along with me. I rarely bring any type of bailing device with me, so I suppose I have the same problem and questions as you, Dave.
 
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When I practice with my 45 pound Shearwater, I go to one end of the upturned canoe, shove that end up in the air and give it a twist so that it lands right side up and empty of almost all water.
Just make sure that your PFD is on nice and tight and yes, you'll shove your head a bit underwater but the canoe will be upright and empty.
I then use the double-blade, float and stirrup trick to climb back in.
A few scoops of my bailer and I'm ready to go.
With my 65 pound Raven Royalex, I go to one side and rock the boat side to side quite rigorously which empties about 80% of the water out then use the double-blade,rope and stirrup trick.

Yellow Canoe showed me this trick a few years back and I now practice it at least 2 - 3 times a year so it's now a no-brainer to do.
I've even started using the double-blade,float and stirrup to get right back in my sea kayak. It's almost a standup, twist 90degress and sit down. Three cheers for stirrips.
2cents
Ted
 
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Mike,
Can you explain the Capistrano flip? I have heard of it but have not seen it done.
As far as residual water goes, I carry a small manual pump. There is about 7/8" between the skin of my canoe and the top of the ribs so a scoop bailer won't get that water out. I left a half rib out right in front of the seat so I can get the pump down to the skin and get rid of that water.
The paddle float reentry works well , particularly for us old guys if you use a stirrup. If you don't carry a dbl blade paddle a 2x2 that reaches across the gunwales and maybe 4 feet out to the side would work as well.
Dave
 
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Solo reentry is pretty easy with the paddle float (AKA pillow at night) and a double blade and a loop of line. I use the sea kayak stirrup reentry method too. I am pretty happy I come from a sea kayaking background as well as a canoe background.

The heel hook rescue works well if you have an assistant in a solo boat. Its far faster and requires no equipment Its less amenable when solo as a lot of water will get back in when you reenter. Solo trips that involve portaging are tricky. You just cannot carry extra lumber! Many here do trips that entail half a dozen portages each day. I currently can't find a good video for the heel hook rescue for canoe.

Here is a demo for kayak. Ted, you can throw away that line. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QGG03uMWCs
 
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Dave, never able to totally dewater the Rapidfire. I use the same technique as the others above and flip it over then back upright - its not hard with the PFD on, but when entering the boat it ends up with a few inches of water in the bottom, but at least I'm back in the boat. Being cheap I've taken an old bleach bottle and cut the end off it and keep it in the boat for bailing, then I head for shore and clean up my mess. The bleach bottle works in camp to make sure campfires are out by applying with tons of water. The trick with getting in without a paddle float is to do it in one quick movement, so you have to be committed to going for it all at once, its not graceful and while I haven't checked I probably have up to a 20% failure rate and have to do a do-over. I'm going to play with the paddle float & stirrup technique in the canoe if the water ever gets warmer this spring; I've practiced it in the kayak so it should be no problem adopting to the canoe, just not sure I'm organized enough to have everything where I'd need it in a hurry in the canoe. No problem with that in the kayak since I place it under the bungees and otherwise keep clean decks except for a spare paddle.
 
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Mike,
Can you explain the Capistrano flip? I have heard of it but have not seen it done.
As far as residual water goes, I carry a small manual pump. There is about 7/8" between the skin of my canoe and the top of the ribs so a scoop bailer won't get that water out. I left a half rib out right in front of the seat so I can get the pump down to the skin and get rid of that water.
The paddle float reentry works well , particularly for us old guys if you use a stirrup. If you don't carry a dbl blade paddle a 2x2 that reaches across the gunwales and maybe 4 feet out to the side would work as well.
Dave

Dave,

The capistrano flip is as shearwater describes mostly. Capsize the hull, pop the end so the boat float high, and with a strong lift/twist you lift/toss the hull into an upright position. hardly any water left in it...there are many videos of the technique on Youtube, but all are for tandem flips.
My DY is barely wider than my hips (no jokes here, I'm still a welterweight) and therein lies the challenge. With another paddler to steady the hull, I have little trouble to reenter. But I need to be totally self reliant.
I'll look up the paddle float and stirrup as YC describes...
 
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RapidFire and other boats that have shouldered tumblehome are tough to empty of water totally. The wave hits the shoulder inside and bounces back. Maybe its a price you pay for great secondary stability so that you don't go over in the first place. I have to admit that its kind of fun to paddle it mostly full of water. I managed somehow to do a heel hook solo into the RF last summer tootling around on the lake near a beach..I was in, there was a lot of water..but I could get to shore with it upright though the jerky motion of water sloshing around is unsettling.

It was beach time anyway. Thinking of beach..the ice is still white, looking out the window.
 
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Dave, the end floats in my Millbrook Coho are a little bigger than the ones you linked, and I don't know how much difference that makes - but that setup floats the Coho almost clear out of the water when upside-down. If the boat swamps (and it still can, under the right circumstances - trust me on that), I can easily empty it by just rolling it slowly to rest upside-down (most water escapes as the boat is rolled on it's side and flotation raises it), then lifting one end while the other floats on the bag, and twisting/flipping it to upright. This all assumes a mostly empty boat. My Coho weighs a little over 40lbs. I'm guessing that a lighter solo would get by just fine with those smaller bags you linked. I don't know about your solo though. I think I'd go with a little bigger flotation if you have the room. I'm using the Gaia Standard Short Solo end bags in my Coho.
 
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Thanks, Mike. I have tried that with a 49lb Royalex solo with no success but didn't know what it was called.. Most Royalex canoes do not have flotation chambers in the ends because the foam coring in the Royalex provides the overall floatation. I think airbags in the ends, even small ones would help.
Dave
 
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Steve,
That's what I was looking for!! Evidence that the bags are worth doing. Thanks.
Dave


It depends. All Royalex boats are not the same. Some do not float above water without added floatation. Others have a thicker foam layer and do. One manufacturer makes all ABS, but the individual canoe companies can specify the thickness of the sheet.

Most of us trippers have enough dry bagged air with our gear so that we don't use float bags except to keep the boat high if the unfortunate event happens; pinned in whitewater; the purpose of them is to make boat retrieval easier.

If you have a Royalex boat take a swim with it to find out if it stays at the surface or like some, the upside down boat won't come up higher than four inches down. That makes retrieval almost impossible.
 
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I'm feeling negligent because I haven't practised a self rescue in years. I hope I'm in the minority. We'll get to it this summer. My boat has end chambers with sealing access ports (16'7"Alchemist Odyssey from Paddleshack Muskoka). I assumed they would improve my buoyancy, maybe I assume too much? I don't fasten in my gear - flat water tripping only, so I assume I'll just right my craft like when I was younger, fitter, stronger. Boy, I assume too much I guess? So, are these chambers function or fashion?
 
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Brad composite boats have float tanks that should float your canoe with some of it above water. But check..assume nothing.
 
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Some (most?) flotation chambers are small and will only prevent your canoe from sinking to the bottom, but you never know until you try it. I don't like surprises except on my birthday so I like to test these things out under controlled conditions.
 
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I gal of water weighs 8 lbs approx. Solo canoes are around 32-56 lbs for example. All that is needed to keep your hull from sinking is 4-7 gal of air. Wooden canoes float. If you are carrying tied in cast iron stoves, you will need lots of flotation; Now you will have a sinking ship.

I haven't had any problem doing rescue classes with composite boats. The only problems I had was with a Mohawk that floated six inches too deep for me to get at it and an early Esquif Twin Tex that submarined and resurfaced some 75 feet away. Most canoes upside down have a significant air bubble trapped under the hull. Ever tried to break the suction? Sometimes it's really hard!

And how is it that 16 lbs of floatation will keep up a 200 lb person on the surface in a PFD?
 
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Dave, I got the Gaia El-Tandem bags and the northwater tie down kit. All my other tie down topics ended up being a rivet, get some of these ,some of those, ect. BEING NEW to this hobby the Northwater kit seemed the best way to go for me. But the wife, noted leg room with the bags? Its been to cold here to really take a warm morning, and some good old sun light and figure it out. Best to you, Ravenwolf;
 
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I gal of water weighs 8 lbs approx. Solo canoes are around 32-56 lbs for example. All that is needed to keep your hull from sinking is 4-7 gal of air. Wooden canoes float. If you are carrying tied in cast iron stoves, you will need lots of flotation; Now you will have a sinking ship.

I haven't had any problem doing rescue classes with composite boats. The only problems I had was with a Mohawk that floated six inches too deep for me to get at it and an early Esquif Twin Tex that submarined and resurfaced some 75 feet away. Most canoes upside down have a significant air bubble trapped under the hull. Ever tried to break the suction? Sometimes it's really hard!

And how is it that 16 lbs of floatation will keep up a 200 lb person on the surface in a PFD?

That's all true, but as you know, a swamped canoe on moving water is both a hazard for the paddler and a potential disaster for the boat. I think added flotation is worth whatever room is available, if those are likely concerns.
 
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