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Old 05-14-2014   #1
Dillon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 8
Oarsman Cockpit Floor

After reading about the Saturn raft floor foot/leg entrapment danger, I wanted to know what other boaters thought of rigid suspended floors in rafts. I have a floor in my oarsman cockpit of my raft and cover the sides with a box and a captain bag. I thought about putting drop rails on the sides to protect from this possible foot entrapment danger but voted against because of the hassle. My floor is secured against the bottom of my welded foot bar and runs tightly under my dry box but if the floor shifts for some reason a foot/leg could fit in the open space and possibly entrap. Please educate me on this type of rigging. Thanks,

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Old 05-14-2014   #2
Stiff N' Wett's Avatar
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 446
I've thought about this but I figure I would be well out of the boat before the floor has time to open any kind of entrapment issues.

Pool and a pond... Pond be good for you.
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Old 05-14-2014   #3
jakebrown98's Avatar
Portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 165
There are lots of potentially injurious places on a rowing frame. A lot of folks love strapping ammo cans to the tops of their side rails. For me, those metal corners in such an exposed location make me cringe. A simple slip could result in broken bones or a cracked skull--I even don't like to think about the boat coming over on top of someone... But I know I'm in the minority for this one. To each their own.

To me, a wooden, aluminum, or hybrid floor more than makes up for any entrapment hazard with its added carrying capacity, comfort, and convenience. You might have more entrapment hazard from your foot bar or loose strap ends. Do you run oar tethers? Entrapment hazard. Perimeter line? Is your bow line coiled or stored in a special bag? The list goes on.

There is a lot to think about. You just have to weigh it all out.
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Old 05-15-2014   #4
Dillon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1987
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 8
After a couple of beers in my garage last night I have decided to fabricate two side rails to sit next to the floor and close the gap. JakeBrown98 is right about looking at all the dangers on a raft and weighing it all out. If a foot or leg was to be stuffed between the raft and my floor it would be hard to get out because the raft would act as a spring and tighten around a foot. I decided to take action and eliminate the danger in my rig.
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Old 05-15-2014   #5
Old Guy in a PFD
Tucson, Arizona
Paddling Since: 1967
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,022
The boats we ran all had suspended wooden floors, with about a 4" gap between the rubber and the wood. When the floors weren't leaking that is.

On the wooden floor we stacked coolers, food boxes, kitchen boxes, groovers, bags, barrels, ammo cans, and any other damn thing we could. We lashed it all down with rope, running from the frame and randomly through the stuff we stacked onto the floor. Lots and lots of entrapment possibilities. The boats weighed enough that flipping was not a real concern on most of the rivers we ran, but even on Cat or Grand Canyon, outfitting was basically the same.

Never felt there was a real chance of some kind of entrapment. Never had an issue. I know that during those years one guide was caught in his load in the Grand Canyon and died, and another had a serious scare on Ladore.

You have to do what makes you safe, but for what it's worth, in my opinion, this is one of those topics that gets over thought and over engineered.
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Old 05-15-2014   #6
Stiff N' Wett's Avatar
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 446
That's why you carry a knife if your foot gets stuck just stab the tube....Free leg and all the while before you'll be smashing beer cans on your floor.

Pool and a pond... Pond be good for you.
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