Preparing the Flotation

There are multiple ways to secure the flotation depending on the type of drifter and the type of flotation you have available. Shown below are some examples we have used. The number of floats used obviously depends on the size of the floats you are able to obtain. The important thing is to test your final configuration in water prior to deployment. In the case of wood and bamboo masts, keep in mind that the drifter will submerge a few inches after being absorbing waters for days. Whatever method you use, we suggest having the transmitter ultimately located about 7" above the waterline. There should be at least another 7" between the top of the sails and the flotation. See the recent example of the aluminum Irina and Megan drifter configurations in the figures near the bottom of this page. It is particularly important to prevent the sails from being exposed to the wind. This is the reason we talk about a "mast extension". Since some of our masts only come in 4' lengths, we often had "mast extensions" .

  1. Slide flotation buoys through the mast extension BEFORE securing the mast-extension.

  2. Secure a hose clamp or similar stopper above and below the buoys to prevent vertical slippage. Position there is about 6" of pole above the float (exact distance will slightly each unit).

  3. In some cases such as in the old wooden Eddies, we install a collar of buoys at the very top of the mast (see right-most pics below) held on by a hose clamp and secure in place by a stopper.

  4. Note: One image below shows three floats stacked on an upside-down ski pole with the tip sawed off. In this case, we lash the transmitter to the basket of the ski pole.

float 3 float 2

float 1 float 4
Irina Irina

But what to do if you do not have easy access to floats? Here are a few options: