Outfitting a Canoe

Canoes come ready to be paddled, but with a few additions we can make our lives a little bit easier and a little bit safer for us.

Air Bags 

So the few additions that we've done we'll look at throughout the whole canoe, but in this one what we've done then is we've added in our air bags. So filling this space and at the other end of the boat with a bag of air means that if the boat does fill with water or capsizes, then we're stopping as much of the water filling here, which just looks after the hull of the boat.

To put it in, we've drilled in through the side of the boat with strong heavy duty cord. This then holds the bag down and then also holds the bag back in towards the end. On the outside of the boat we've added in some swim tails, so in the event of somebody capsizing, they've got the ability to quickly and easily hold on to this which is just at water level.


The other addition is we have then a length of rope which we call a painter. This painter, we're going to use for a variety of things. It can help when we're securing the boat onto the roof of the car. It can also help if we're going to get involved in doing any form of towing or assisting everybody else. So straight off, the shelf is ready but with a few additions of some air bags, some swim tails, and a painter, we're ready to go.

Kneeling Thwart 

If you need to get a little bit more use out of your canoe, we can add in an extra thwart into the boat, and this one is lowered down so it's just a little bit below the gunnel level and this is going to be useful if I want to paddle solo. So kneeling in here it gives a nice angled bit there which just follows the shape of my leg and allows me to get a little bit better control and ultimately trim the canoe just a little bit more efficiently. So outfitted the same, but now we've added in an extra thwart, and we're going to call that the kneeling thwart.

Sailing Rig 

But I'd like a little bit more use out of my canoe so I might want to harness the wind, so on the next canoe we've got two extra additions into this boat now. So we've got another thwart in here, and it's towards the front of the boat this time. It's got the hole in it and then its also got on the floor we've glued in a mast foot. So this is going to be for the mast for when we're sailing. So outfitted the same as before with our air bags, with our swim lines, and our painter. We've still got the kneeling thwart in this one, but we've also now added in our sailing system.

Whitewater Outfitting 

For those who are into kinda going on more exciting water - into more advanced white water - our specialist canoe here we've added in a few more extra things. So our air bag now is filling up as much of the possible space, the spare space is full of air. So that's going to be great in keeping the boat much more buoyant when it's full of water. With the addition now of a pedestal, so something that I can be kneeling on, I've got some knee rests in here. I've got some thigh grips in here to be able to strap me in, and there's some foot pedals there to help with my connectivity. I'm all set for advanced white water.

So all four of the boats are all fitted out very similarly with the addition of air bags, we've now started to look at. Can I have a kneeling thwart in? Can I have a sailing system in? And ultimately how can I get more connectivity through either foot pads, knee pads, and then some thigh straps. So we are ready to paddle, so just thinking about the environment you're going to go into will help you look after your boat and ultimately stay safer in the water. 

This video is courtesy of Glenmore Lodge in Scotland featuring instructor Dave Rossetter Glenmore Lodge offer a range of Open Boating / Canoeing courses from April to November. www.glenmorelodge.org.uk/

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