It's been an epic fight. BBs flew back and forth, balsa splintered, and every combatant's bilge pump sent a spray of water into the air. But the fight is over, and your ship has vanished into the depths. Not even a stream of bubbles remains to mark its watery grave. If only you'd equipped a float. (splish splash, time for a swim) An Emergency Float is a tethered device equipped to a combat ship that deploys upon sinking that assists in recovery of that ship. Floats generally fall under two categories. The first category is the Recovery Float. It is constructed with strong materials and is securely anchored to the ship, enabling the ship to be recovered purely by the float and tether. The second is the Marker Float. This category of float is only intended to assist a swimmer/wader in locating the wreck, but is not intended to support the full weight of a water-filled ship. In this article, we shall explore the requirements of each category of float, the mechanics of sinking, and several examples of both successful and unsuccessful designs. I. Requirements. An Emergency Float is a very important piece of hardware. It enables the recovery of your ship after a a catastrophic failure has occurred, and your pride and joy has sunk. Sinking is just about the most traumatic event that can occur to a model ship, and as such your float must be designed to deploy under a a wide variety of circumstances. On the other hand, your ship is also routinely experiencing another extremely traumatic event: naval gunfire in combat. Your float must also be designed to NOT deploy when subjected to gunfire, collisions, and other combat-related incidents. Some floats are able to deploy no matter how your ship sinks, but any stray bb can knock it off your ship and leave a giant hazard in the water just waiting to tangle somebody's props. Other floats can be impervious to enemy action, but only deploy if the ship sinks in a very specific way. Still other floats are both reliable and tough, but either do not fit on a ship, or stand out as grossly non-scale. The challenge is to balance all of these requirements to achieve the best possible combination of features for your particular need. (I bet I can find this boat pretty quick) II. Why Floats Fail. As mentioned earlier, sinking is a very traumatic experience. The ship is subjected to a wide variety of forces in rapid succession, and may respond in unexpected ways. A ship that rapidly capsizes may trap the float in its mount, preventing the float from deploying properly. The impact with the pond bottom may right the boat and free its float, or it may get stuck at an unusual angle, ensuring a failure to deploy. The forces of in-rushing water may temporarily trap the float, delaying its release until the ship is fully on the bottom of the pond and subject to weeds, mud, and other underwater hazards. Battle damage may trap the float, or cause it to lose buoyancy. The tether line may get tangled or caught, trapping the float mere inches from the stricken vessel. In one case, I even saw a ship deploy its float successfully only to have another ship get tangled in the line and sunk, dragging down the float and requiring an extended search for both vessels. Problems may happen before the ship sinks, too. During combat, a float may be hit repeatedly be enemy fire and knocked off its mount. The spray from a pump outlet could push a float loose. A collision with another ship, land, or even branches from a plant may knock the float ajar. The float's line may become brittle with age, or get broken by battle damage. All of these failures are not only possible, but have actually happened to ships I've battled. (Here be MONSTERS!) Below is a link to one of my favorite videos. Take a close look at all the sinking ships. There are many examples of good emergency floats, and a few examples of not-so-good emergency floats. View: https://youtu.be/wvugEmj3pO0 IV. Examples. Well, that concludes the introduction and philosophy. From here on, I'll be showing pictures of floats I've seen, and discussing how well they worked and why. Please click on the thumbnails to see more detail. Enjoy!