There are several different ways you can do that. They all involve adding some kind of float attachment or securing it to something else that's not going to sink. You can use floating handle grips, or bobbers, which work well if you're handholding it but don't work well if you're mounting the camera on something like a surfboard, kayak, or boat. You can get adhesive foam blocks that attach to the back. Those work much better if you're mounting the camera, but they really only work well for older model GoPros that use a dedicated waterproof housing and where you don't need access to a screen on the back of the camera. And you can get floating wrist straps, which is a traditional approach that other cameras use but again isn't ideal if you're mounting the camera.
One of the simplest, easiest, and most flexible options is to put the camera inside a housing that floats. Although "housing" is overstating it a bit. It's also not really a "case." It's more like putting your GoPro in a life vest.Bodhi Floaty, which is what I'm focusing on here. This version is designed specifically for the HERO7 (Black, Silver, and White), HERO6 Black, HERO5 Black, and HERO (2018)--it's cut for their shapes so that the camera fits in snugly as well as being able to access the buttons. But you can get similar products for other GoPro models, and you can find other brands that make much the same thing.
This one is a light-weight, semi-rigid foam. It doesn't encase the whole camera--it's not like waterproof housing. It just wraps float foam around the sides of the camera.
So it does add some cushioning protection against bumps and drops--at least, so long as it strikes the ground at such an angle that it hits the foam and not directly upon the lens port--but it doesn't add any extra waterproofness. It does add some extra bulk, so the camera will be more susceptible to being buffeted by the wind (and wind noise) at high speed. It also makes the whole thing bigger, which can be an issue in places where it's a very tight fit.
The foam is cut to the specific shape for the cameras that share the same body shape and controls layout as the current generation of GoPros. That includes all three models of HERO7, the HERO6 Black, HERO5 Black, and HERO (2018). It doesn't fit older GoPros or the cube-shaped Session models. For those, you'll need to pick up a variation that's designed to fit those models.
You'll also need to use the camera in the standard frame that comes with the camera. That all then insert into the float. If you just try to put the camera directly into the float without using the frame it won't fit snuggly and there's a good chance that the camera will come out and sink to the bottom.
There's no real trick to installing it and nothing really to go wrong. Put the camera in the standard frame that comes with the camera, and then put the whole thing inside the float. It's a snug fit, and it's easiest if you slot the mount point into the hole in the bottom of the float first, but it just wraps around it.
I've used foam floats in the past that use a type of foam that is susceptible to tearing. But the foam here is very strong, and I haven't run into any issues like that with this one. While it's not indestructible, it's as close to it as matters.
With the camera installed in the float, you can then mount it using the standard GoPro mount. So you can put it on a surfboard, for example, or anywhere else you'd typically mount the camera. You can even pair it with a floaty grip if you really want to. There is a slight recess to allow the screw to go in, although it's a tight fit and a little harder to tighten the screw than it would be without the float.
To take it out, just do the reverse. You can remove and insert the camera from the housing in the float--sort of. But it's cumbersome to do so. It's much easier to take the frame housing out from the float and then work with it that way.
- Simple and effective.
- Easy to install and uninstall even with wet/cold hands.
- Doesn't interfere with the camera's buttons or screens.
- Exposes the standard mount point on the frame, so it's compatible with most standard mounting situations.
- Works well enough for handheld shooting.
- Comes in high-visibility orange, making it easier to see if you're out in open water.
- There are less expensive methods for making your GoPro float.
- While the camera's controls and screens remain accessible, it does become a little more cumbersome to access the buttons.
- The extra bulk exacerbates wind noise and increases water drag.
As you can see from the photo at the top of the page, it does what it's supposed to do: it floats.
This is a simple way to make your GoPro float. There's really nothing to go wrong--there's nothing to leak and nothing to seal, so it's pretty much foolproof. It also happens to be one of the more flexible ways to prevent your camera from sinking to the depths because it works well with standard mounting options.
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Images and product information from Amazon Product Advertising API were last updated on 2018-11-17 at 09:08.
Common GoPro Questions
Here are some common questions I get from GoPro users.
How to Maximize a GoPro's battery life
There are several factors that influence how long the GoPro's battery life lasts. Among them include what mode you're recording in (4K uses more power than 1080p30, for instance), the health of the battery, and even the environmental temperature (lithium batteries don't perform well in very cold temperatures). But there are some things you can do to maximize battery life. Not every GoPro has all of these features, but start with these:
- Minimize use of the back screen
- Turn off wireless
- Turn off voice commands
- Turn off GPS
- Turn off Protune
- Use QuickCapture mode
Is it normal for GoPro cameras to get hot?
Yes. Depending on the model and the shooting mode you're using, it's normal for GoPros to get quite warm while shooting. They can get hot enough to be uncomfortable to touch. It's especially noticeable when shooting high-resolution and high-framerate video. Some newer models have an overheating protection mechanism that will shut the camera down if it gets too hot. I have more details on GoPros getting hot, here.
How can I control a GoPro remotely?
GoPro makes a range of wireless remote controls. They don't all work with all GoPros--for example, the HERO (2018) isn't compatible with this type of remote control. Many of the newer models also work with the GoPro mobile app. Not every model can be controlled remotely, but most of the newer models have wireless compatibility that can be used for at least some methods of remote control.
Can you take pictures with a GoPro?
If you've been using a GoPro for a while, this might seem pretty obvious, but if you've never used one, it's not quite so self-evident. GoPros are best known for dramatic action videos, but they can most certainly take still photos too. In fact, they can be a very interesting alternative to a traditional camera so long as you work within its limitations. I have more more details here.
Do GoPro wireless controls work underwater?
No. You can't use the mobile app or a wireless remote control if the camera is fully submerged in water. They will normally work just fine in rain and spray--just not submerged. I have a more detailed explanation here.
Do GoPro touchscreens work underwater?
No. If they're just wet above water, they can work to some extent, although often less reliably. But the touchscreens won't work underwater.