Test Kayak Emergency Flotation

Article By Shorty
I am a bit psycho when it comes to emergency floatation. If I am going to own a boat, I am going to take it out into deep water, and sooner or later the weather is going to catch me out there, and I am going to get tossed out.

I have been infatuated with this boat since I first put it on the water, but one big nagging problem was I didn't think I would be able to paddle it from sitting inside, and have an airbox big enough to self recover. I used a couple of planks that were test screwed across the gunnels at various places, these were to simulate where I would put the bulkheads. I found that to comfortably paddle while sitting on the bottom of the hull, the furthest forward I could put the stern bulkhead was 17.5". This would only allow me to have 149 lbs of lifting power from the stern airbox.

Also I wanted to be able to paddle around with my daughter sitting in my lap, or on the bow deck. The best placement for the bow bulkhead would be 11" from the bow transom.

I just wasn't sure if that small of an airbox would let me self rescue the boat, and I didn't want to make it a sit-on-top airbox. So I figured I could always change it later, so went ahead and installed the airbox, and here is the results of the testing.

First I had to sink it. Had to get up and REALLY lean on the gunnel. The water stared coming in slowly.... The water started to accelerate it's way in, then was rushing in...

The bow went under...

And I got tossed right out of the boat. Wonder if an airbox on the bow would slow down it's quick decent.

So now I have this hull full of water, and only one airbox. I leaned on the stern transom, and my weight pushed it down while the bow started coming up a bit slowly dumping the water out.

With some up and down sloshes, more water would come out.

NOTE: This whole time I am swimming, I did not put my feet on the bottom of the pool, that would be cheating.

Was finally able to get the boat standing upright, so all the water was out of the cockpit.

A quick pull and I was able to walrus my way onto the stern.

The boat teatered back and forth a bit, but was steady enough for me to get back up. Here you can see that if I stayed on the stern like that, water would come into the cockpit and swamp it.

Later I tried again pausing here for a while, and the water did come in swamping the boat again. So this indicates to me that for a 300 lb guy, this 149 lb airbox is the bare minimum.

Here I am, fully self rescued, and very happy with the size of the stern airbox. Will add in an airbox at the bow next.

Just in case, the coast guard send a frog woman incase I needed to be rescued.