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Thread: Flotation Compartments

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2021
    Eliot, Maine, USA

    Default Flotation Compartments

    Hi all,

    I am currently building a 15' Paul Gartside Garvey. In the plans, the flotation compartments are just called "watertight tanks" and says they should be sealed inside with epoxy. He doesn't specify filling them with foam, but adds that small deck hatches are optional. Can any of you recommend for or against filling the chambers with foam? I believe the coast guard requires foam filled compartments rather than just watertight ones. I wouldn't mind not filling them, and having some extra storage space, although I would be nervous about the air inside expanding and affecting the hull on hot days.

    Thanks all

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Wrocław, Poland

    Default Re: Flotation Compartments

    I have sealed chambers (no foam) on my boat. Some hatch covers come with tiny vent holes to prevent overheating/pressure problems. I've never had any problems without vent holes--I have 2 deck hatches into a large bow compartment, and 7 bulkhead-mounted hatches--all are the round 8" diameter plastic ones.

    I don't like the idea of adding weight (foam) to a boat, especially one that I row regularly, when no weight (air) does the job. I've capsize tested my boat twice and have seen no problems.

    Ponoszenie konsekwencji!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Austin, TX

    Default Re: Flotation Compartments

    I built a hollow sit-on-top kayak a few years ago. it has a hatched storage chamber then the rest is sealed compartments. The first time I used it I pooped the hatch after it had been in rather cold water then warm sun. The hatch almost blew open due to expansive air inside. I then put the tiniest hole in the hatch, with a heated up sewing needle backed by glued on rubber with a similar hole. That worked great as a pressure release. There are ones you can buy, but I enjoy making things with what I have sometimes.

    Between the storage chamber and the sealed chambers. I glued in small plastic water bottle cap's threaded base, so I can then screw the cap on. Popped another sewing needle hole in the bottle cap. This micro pined bottle cap works as a pressure release valve when closed. And an air port when taken off, when not in use. I have been very happy with these. And they are basically free. And if I were to loose a cap, I can just buy a drink and have another one.

    I would not fill with foam, don't lke the weight or potential moisture. If you put hatches on be very careful they don't fail when you most need the floatation.
    "Yeah, well, that's just, like your opinion man"
    -The Dude-

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