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I have to give the ballast floor a thumbs down. I've been on a couple of trips with them at crowded take outs where they become problematic. I think the ballast floor is more of an accidental design flaw than an intentional design feature. Aire makes good quality gear, but I just don't like the idea of all that extra water weight, nor the idea of a swampy bilge due to invasives.
 

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I hope I don't piss off too man people with this comment, but aren't even the main tubes of an Aire boat places where invasive species can be harboured?

One of my IKs is not and Aire but it's a similar design with pvc skin and inflation bladders... and it's almost impossible to completely dry it out. I've opened up the zippers months after last use and it's still damp in there.

If the Aire zippers are actually fully waterproof and this is not an issue then I apologize for the mistake.
 

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Invasive species concerns are pretty far down my list of reasons to go with sealed floor pocket. It is definitely worth the upgrade though, especially if buying new. I've rowed many of the same model Aires, from Puma all the way up to 183, with both floors and much prefer the SFP. After one season with the ballast floor in a 183R, I upgraded to SFP (not cheap) and couldn't be happier. I find the SFP less maintenance as well, I have enough crap to maintain... don't need to add opening up the floor of my raft and cleaning it out yearly.

The bigger the boat and the harder the whitewater, the greater the difference. If you are staying in the main flow on easier water you may not appreciate that difference so much.
 

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I just feel the need to point out that on this forum, if someone posts a picture of a camp scene with out a fire blanket under the pan, people will chastise to no end, but every time the invasive species concept comes up, the general sentiment seems to be that folks just don't care. Time for all the "river environmentalists" to check their priories. One species translocation does irreparable harm forever, or at least until society embraces CRISPR deleterious gene drives. Fire rings, litter, and pissing on the beach are all utterly insignificant in comparison.

The bottom line is, if your boat holds onto water in between trips, you need to figure some thing out. Get it clean and dry or rinse with scalding hot water. Most state wildlife agencies have decontamination stations where you can get your boat dowsed with hot water. I bet that tilting your boat up and running a hotsy through the floor would do the trick.

We also have a responisbility to try to keep our gear clean of mud, dirt, and organic material that might contain unwanted plant seeds and encourage our governments to stop stocking invasive fishes.
 

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I just feel the need to point out that on this forum, if someone posts a picture of a camp scene with out a fire blanket under the pan, people will chastise to no end, but every time the invasive species concept comes up, the general sentiment seems to be that folks just don't care. Time for all the "river environmentalists" to check their priories. One species translocation does irreparable harm forever, or at least until society embraces CRISPR deleterious gene drives. Fire rings, litter, and pissing on the beach are all utterly insignificant in comparison.

The bottom line is, if your boat holds onto water in between trips, you need to figure some thing out. Get it clean and dry or rinse with scalding hot water. Most state wildlife agencies have decontamination stations where you can get your boat dowsed with hot water. I bet that tilting your boat up and running a hotsy through the floor would do the trick.

We also have a responisbility to try to keep our gear clean of mud, dirt, and organic material that might contain unwanted plant seeds and encourage our governments to stop stocking invasive fishes.
You mean like a whole thread with people talking about how best to deal with invasive species? Just felt the need to point out that out. 😁

I kid though...definitely needs more attention. I think the general sentiment with most boaters on this is that they DO care about this. There are always a few that don't seem to give it the respect it deserves, but overall I've seen very few who aren't willing to put in the effort to mitigate. Plenty of evidence for invasive species being a major detriment to river environments around the world. One needs to go no further then Tamarisk to see what can happen with that.

The original topic here was a good question. It was pointed at a specific design aspect of one manufacturer, but the broader question is whether certain parts of raft design can more easily harbour invasive species and it seems the answer is yes...but it is maneageable with a bit of extra effort. It digressed into a discussion about whether people liked or disliked that design for other reasons but only alongside the invasive species discussion. I didn't see anyone say that they didn't care about the invasive species problem...in fact it seems to be the opposite.
 
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