Question on foam location in small boat.

Discussion in 'Boat Yard Basics' started by daniel4616, Apr 20, 2015.

  1. daniel4616

    daniel4616 I Love!

    I was wondering the pros/cons of the location of foam in a small 12ft fiberglass boat. The two boats I am considering have foam in different locations, both of which meet USCG "unsinkable" flotation.

    Carolina Skiff J12 has foam under the deck only, nothing on the sides/gunwale area.

    Caprice skiff (which I owned in the past) has a 12ft model that only has complete side flotation.

    My question is why is one done over the other? I heard the Carolina Skiff can topple over while swamped, and side flotation helps keep the boat upright while swamped (Whaler?).

    Any info would help, I am considering getting the Caprice Skiff 12ft again and maybe adding 1in. of foam to the floor itself in a few spots.
  2. DuckNut

    DuckNut Brandon, FL

    Not an expert by any means but the word "unsinkable comes to mind. The term is not defined - upright or upside down...just not on the bottom.

  3. WhiteDog70810

    WhiteDog70810 Mostly Harmless

    I thought the Coast Guard specifically required upright flotation for production non-commercial skiffs? 

    I hung my flotation under the decks to keep it dry and to keep it from rolling over (hopefully) when I eventually forget the plug.  I hope I never find out if it works as planned. 

    While I admit to having three sealed flotation compartments, I hate, Hate, HATE having foam anyplace that I can't inspect.  Those sealed compartments on my boat bother me, but I console myself by knowing I can easily cut and install some inspection hatches as soon as I suspect I have a problem.  All boats leak eventually and all foam will absorb water if kept wet indefinitely.  Foam under the floors is not something I like since water will get to it sooner than later, it is impossible to inspect and it takes a significant overhaul to fix once you finally accept that your boat is 300# heavier than when you bought it. 

    That being said, lots of builders smarter than me still put foam there.  In the end, foam takes up valuable space and you need a specific amount of it to keep a swamped boat afloat, so you stuff it wherever you find room out of the way.  I guess I'd rather have it under the sole than not have enough.  Water is so heavy that a powerboat full of it doesn't necessarily want to roll until some outside torque forces it to.  For instance, the motor will drag the stern down until the weight of the powerhead overcomes the stability of the hull and causes the hull to capsize.

  4. daniel4616

    daniel4616 I Love!

    My main issue is that I want to add a center console, and do not want to drill or fiberglass directly to the deck. If something goes wrong or someone grabs the CC and pulls it hard enough, I don't want it to damage the bottom- however unlikely that may be.  I figured I would just add a little strip of high density foam and fiberglass it to the deck- then fiberglass the CC to that. Acting more as a "buffer" and perhaps as a little extra protection from swamping the boat.  Im not really sure, I have always been super paranoid about swamping since I almost always only but very small boats, and down here in south Florida- you are always around bigger boats that throw wake no matter where you are.