People often ask: what are the float bags for? Does the Oru Kayak float without float bags?
Like most kayaks the Oru Kayak does float without float bags and ironically, float bags are not designed to provide extra flotation during typical kayaking. The float bags are designed to displace water in the event of a capsize.
When a kayak capsizes and the paddler comes out of the kayak (know as a wet exit), the kayak will begin to fill with water. The goal is to get the kayak turned right-side-up, with as little water in it as possible. The Oru Kayak does not have have watertight bulkheads, thus the entire kayak can fill with water. It won't sink, but it will become impossible to paddle and would take a very long time to pump enough water out to make it paddleable.
This is where the float bags come in. When the kayak is upside down, the float bags in the bow and stern will displace water and not allow the entire kayak to fill up. When the kayak is flipped upright the the kayak will only be partially full of water and much easier to bilge and it may even be possible to get back in the kayak while you bail the water out.
So do you need float bags...
Float bags are not required by law and are not mandatory. That said, as a safety precaution we highly recommend float bags since a capsize can occur at any moment and without warning and weather/water conditions can be unpredictable. Oru Kayak makes a float bag specifically for the Oru Kayak, other companies also make float bags that are suitable for the Oru Kayak.
Kayaking can be dangerous. Always be aware of your paddling abilities, the conditions, and the limitations of your kayak, and use common sense and good judgment for your own safety.
Illustration of how float bags work.