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Outfitting a Canoe - Buoyancy Blocks

What are Buoyancy Blocks?
Buoyancy blocks are solid blocks of foam or polystyrene encased in a waterproof bag positioned in the front and/or rear of the canoe. They are used to displace water and increase the inherent buoyancy of the canoe in the event of a total swamping of the canoe. Buoyancy blocks cost a little more than the traditional buoyancy bag but are not susceptible to puncture and require little ongoing maintenance compared to bags.

Buoyancy bags indicated with the red arrows. Nice and neat.

You Will Need

  1. Buoyancy block set
  2. Cord or para cord
  3. Bread knife
  4. Sandpaper
  5. Stanley Knife
  6. Zip Ties
  7. Snips
  8. Waterproof Contact Adhesive
  9. 2 x D Ring patches
  10. Masking tape

1. Remove the polystyrene (or foam) insert from the waterproof case

2. Offer up the block to the front of the boat to see where you need to start shaping. As you will see from the image below we need to remove quite a substantial amount from the bottom corners. Remove the block from the boat and using the bread knife, begin shaping the block.

3. Taking a little off at a time and keep offering up the block to the boat shape the block until it sits level and snug in the boat.

4. Place the block back into its bag and place back in the boat. Place one of your D rings just under and slightly in from the front of the bag. Place a piece of tape just to mark the front of the D ring patch.

5. Remove the bag and mark around the D ring patch with masking tape. Remove the D ring patch and lightly sand the area within the masking tape. Ensure you remove all dust and dirt with my patent pending tack ball.

6. Following the instructions for use of the contact adhesive. Glue the D ring patch into place and smooth out any air bubbles.

7. Place the bag back in the boat a feed the retaining strap over the end loop knot.

8. Pass the retaining strap through the D ring.

9. Clip the buckle together and tidy away the loose strap end.

10. Lash the bag to the canoe lacing with para cord and dress the knots with tape.

That’s it your done you just need to tidy the mess up. Trust me shaping the blocks makes a mess. All that snowy white is polystyrene. My wife was not amused.