The only time I've seen a counterweighted oar get away (broke its tether), it didn't completely sink but it did go handle down and was pogoing up and down in the water as it went through waves. The blade was mostly out of the water most of the time...so not sure if it would make a difference having a blade that floats.
Not sure if it would be enough to counteract the bouyancy of the counterweight, but you could put durable expanding foam down inside the oar shaft to help the situation.
For me...I'm a Squaretop user (have three pairs in various sizes). I mostly have them because they are awesome to row with, but one of the extra perks is that since the counterwieight is wood, they float no problem (found that out a couple weeks ago after my first flip). I know they aren't justifiable for eveyryone, but it did just occur to me that you could maybe consider shortening the oar shaft and making your own squaretop style handles to get the best of both worlds.
Originally Posted by GeoRon
Yes, they will sink like a brick. If you want to keep them then leash them. That is true for any oar.
I doubt that floating blades will help much. Once that handle heads to the bottom of the river it will be hard to recover.
Try floating blades before you buy them. I hated them. The feeling that I had to push them down in the water to get a proper stroke sucked. Besides that, I recall that they oscillated during my stroke. On top of that, the blade broke in half much sooner than I hoped. How soon is too soon I can't fully quantify. But, second trip is too soon I figure even though it was a rookie oarsman on a low water MF Salmon trip(perhaps I should cut the blade some slack because I did cut the rookie some slack(Hey "dude", it's a hard day. Forget about it.).
I spent a lot of time thinking about my aversion to floating blades and concluded that if I were a fishing guide perhaps they would be useful in a situation where your guest has a fish on in busy water. Considering that the guides(his tip) wants to land that 10 pound fish they can release the oars such that they don't instantly probe the river bottom on the downstream side. Other than that I don't know why I'd like them. Perhaps I can be educated concerning this matter.
My squaretops use the Dynalite style blade that floats, and I don't find that I don't feel like I'm pushing the oars into the water. The natural movement of rowing seems to do accomplish that for me. If I'm just floating and want to keep the oars in the water to catch current or something you have to put a bit of pressure to keep them there, but not much.
Its still not a sure bet that it won't catch on something, but I do like that I can just let go of the oars and the blades won't sink. They do still sink about a 1/3 of the blade into the water, but it won't dive like a carlisle. They probably pop out of the water a bit better and maybe provide some more power that way, but its minimal. Can't really think of many benefits beyond that though.
I think a lot of the reason for them being floaty is a byproduct of trying to make them light in the right places but still have good bite.