Anybody heard of Seminole Canoes?

A buddy has a 10’ fiberglass canoe, thought to be of the Seminole brand. It is a fast, tough, whitewater canoe designed for paddlers smaller than him or me.

Anybody know anything about these canoes? Good shape, but older. What’s it worth?


Joe, no 10 foot canoe is fast, and
few of them are tough. After 35 years of paddling whitewater, I have never heard of a Seminole whitewater. If you want to see some real fiberglass whitewater canoes, go to

I am fairly sure that Seminole used to make inexpensive fiberglass canoes for flatwater use. I don’t think they are still in business.

fast and tough being relative terms, of course, for a 10’ canoe. I say tough based on its heavy layup, it is built like a tank. But no, not kevlar or Royalex.

I used to paddle a c-1 with many, many
layers of fiberglass. It wasn’t all that “tough” or durable. Sometimes, even when using only fiberglass, it is better to build a lighter hull that can flex somewhat. A thick, heavy hull has to absorb energy some way, and the most likely is a local break.

I had a 13’ Mad River Compatriot with a thin, flexible fiberglass layup. I abused it on class 1-2 rivers it wasn’t designed for, but the only place the hull every broke was the front stem, from running into rocks. Of course, the stem can’t bend. The rest of the hull bent inward but never broke.

Fiberglass boats of chopper-gun construction are heavy, but not particularly strong, certainly not nearly as strong as a multi-layer cloth boat would be if constructed to the same weight. “Heavy” and “cheap” seem to go together.

Seminole Boats
Seminole Boats out of Sanford FL late 70’s early 80’s. They did offer a 10’ 8" model called the Cherokee Papoose that weighed in at 30lbs in fiberglass. All of their boats had the Cherokee preface followed by the length. They claimed to also offer all models in kevlar.

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Cherokee canoes
We still have one in the family. While not up to Old Town layup standards, it is much better than the chopper gun canoes that were made by others in the past.

Similar or slightly lower quality than the Mohawk fiberglass boats

Cherokee canoes
We still have one in the family. While not up to Old Town layup standards, it is much better than the chopper gun canoes that were made by others in the past.

Similar or slightly lower quality than the Mohawk fiberglass boats

I remember the Seminole Boat Company and the Cherokee canoes. I used to sell them as a home based business in my late teens and early 20s. I would buy them from the Quonset hut where they were based at the old Sanford Air Station, then swing by Mohawk in Longwood to make custom measured paddles for my customers, haul them back down to Orlando/ Winter park, deliver them and include some canoe “lessons”. The company itself was was essentially two British guys that came up from Jamaica and started making hand laid fiberglass canoes with laid balsa keels. Nothing went through the hull, all seats, thwarts and pewter alloy end caps were attached to the alloy gunwales, they were stacks above Mohawk or Indian River IMHO. When the nearest competitor, Mohawk, found out I was sizing and making paddles for Cherokee clients at their plant (they invited me to use their facilities, heat guns, tube stock, etc.) I was escorted off the property and right onto the roadside, lol, even though I paid their asking price! Wow, that was 47 years ago. In the Florida backwater, especially the lower Wekiva, there were lots of submerged fallen timber that would snap a blown fiber craft like Mohawks. Kates Landing (old hwy 46 west of Sanford FL) would only use Cherokees and Tom Gheene,s canoes, for the same reason: hand laid sheet fiber. Tried and true in the backwater. We sold the 10’ solo, the 16’ standard model Cherokee, and the 5.7 meter (18’), S and Square back/ transom, and at my last purchase before I shut down my own operation, a small fan boat built on the hull of the 16’ Cherokee, reducing it to 14’. It was a great prototype test but as far as I know was never put into the line-up. I sold Cherokee from 1973-5, when I went to work for Disney World like all good Winter Park Highschool grads, lol! As far as I am concerned the Seminole Boat Co., those two British guys, made the best Florida flat water rigs of the day. For us down here, the world revolved around Cherokee, Gheenoes and Grumman. All those WW2 Quonset huts at the old Sanford Air Station are now long gone, and the Cherokee just a memory, but I still remember going across Lake George and Lake Monroe solo in my 5.7 meter rig on in a heavy air day with nearly zero windage. Like all good keeled Florida Flatwater rigs should.



Thank you Gary for sharing this! Really a fascinating read and given that Sanford is my hometown it definitely piqued my interest. While I definitely did some trips out of Katie’s Landing when I was a kid and teenager, and would have paddled a Seminole Canoe in those cases, I’ve never really heard much about them. Seems like there is a mohawk sitting in the yard of every other house on the little chain of lakes I’m on here in Seminole County, but will definitely have to keep my eyes out for a Seminole as it sounds like something I’d love to get my hands on and try out if the opportunity ever comes around.

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I dont believe some in this thread know anything about Seminole boats!
Well as an OWNER, for 21 years, of a 1981 Seminole , Cherokee Papoose 10’ 8" … Its a solid, indestructible, quiet, fast, amazing boat! Found mine at a yard sale in South Carolina in 2002 for $50! Best $ I spent on ANY boat! I turned down $500 from my neighbor and his kayak, who cant keep up with me and a 6" cypress paddle… Hell, mines been from Florida, to South Carolina, Michigan, Montana, and now I reside in North Carolina with it. I even took it down the Flathead River in Kalispell Montana. Which I will never do again! Took a header into a granite boulder it bounced off. Soaked me and kept on going. Only took a chunk of the gel coat off the bow. Had a gator smack it with his tail so hard it listed over and got 3" of water in it. Not a scratch! Mine has floated 2 - 80# hogs and my 200# ass out of the swam a few times. Too many deer and hogs to count! And probably fill 3 truck beds with all the fish I caught out of it in 21 years!
Only bad thing I could say is the sides are too low. So me being an ex body man. I took the top rail off. Made a cardboard pattern to add 6" to the center of the sides. Bought a sheet of plastic bathroom board. Transferred the pattern to it. Cut out 2. And glassed them on with several layers of cloth. Riveted the rail back on. Sawgrass camo paint job. And I LOVE IT!!! You can bury me in it! I have a 16’ aluminum Grumman canoe. A Malibu 11’ 5" kayak. And every time I’ll take the old faithful Papoose. Not a looker for a 42 year old boat. Been used hard! But a damn good 1 man canoe! Heres a pic of her.


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