Best way to add a seat to my Wenonah Enc

I have a 17’ Wenonah Encounter solo canoe that I love and adore. The only problem is that it only has 1 seat. I want my dad and my wife to be able to come out and fish with me so I want to add some seats. They do not require to be able to paddle, I plan on staying in the center seat to paddle.

My dad probably weighs 300lbs and I weigh 250lbs. This canoe is built to haul a big load so I don’t think the weight will be a huge issue as long as I use plenty of ballast up front in the form of water jugs.

My main question is about the best way to add at least one seat to my canoe in the aft. Wenonah sells clamp on gunwale seats but I’m just not sure if that’s the best idea for someone who is as heavy as my dad, plus it might be too high up and cause us to be tippy.

My plan is to place a long and wide wooden plank right down the center of my canoe fitting snugly between the aluminum sliding seat mount in the middle. I can attach it to that mount to keep it from moving without having to attach it directly to the hull of the canoe. I want to avoid any drilling holes in my Tuff-Weave as I possibly can. I can then attach a removable canoe seat to that wooden plank, perhaps with an extra piece of wood under it for spacing. Would make it easy to adjust the position and to remove it.

Would having weight pressing down on that plank and down into the spine of my canoe cause it damage? I would likely put some sort of closed cell foam on the bottom of the plank to keep it from rubbing the inside of the canoe too much.

I’d appreciate any and all advice anyone could give me about this subject. Thank you.

Frankly, I wouldn’t do it
First, I don’t think a dedicated solo will be stable with two people moving independently under that total burden. A solo hull is designed to carry one person. You will run into problems compromising that.

Second, I don’t think you can offset a 300 pound weight with water jugs. If you could load enough of them the canoe would be seriously overloaded in my opinion.

Third, if I am understanding your mechanics correctly you would be putting a 300 pound weight on a couple of inches of surface (your support) and pressing that against the hull. Not a recipe I would like to try.

If you want to take two people fishing and do it comfortably and safely I would advise that you get a tandem.

Good advice
Luckily for me I paid nothing for this canoe so its hard for me to get something else unless I can find someone who wants to trade. That is still an option. I found it on Craigslist for a trade, so maybe I can trade it for a tandem canoe.

You’re not the first person to recommend that I simply do not do it and I think its good advice. I’m not going to give up on taking my dad fishing with me but mounting a seat isn’t the right answer.

What would you think about the addition of a rear seat PLUS pontoons for more stability?

Or perhaps the both of us sitting back to back with me in the center seat and him on the floor? Our weight would be more centered that way and his butt would be right on the floor of the canoe, or maybe on top of some padding. It would also give both of us an unobstructed view to fish from.

We’re going to try him sitting on the floor somehow this weekend just to see how it goes, worst case scenario is we fall in the lake.

We frequent a small lake with a no wake policy so there isn’t alot of waves and scary open water to worry about.

Thanks for your advice!

Sitting on the floor
on a cushion would be your best bet. Give it a go.

You can try it

– Last Updated: Oct-13-15 4:14 PM EST –

but what you are planning to do won't end well. Go out and find a used aluminum tandem or OT boat that won't cost much. They can be fished from and you don't have to worry about falling in the water.

I own an Encouter and trying to stuff a 300lb dad in front of or behind the seat, underneath the thwarts, makes me think of some cartoons I used to watch on Saturday mornings. Have the camera rolling I got to see this!!! Plus I am about your dad's weight and I can't even imagine trying to fit in those locations.

It would be funny

– Last Updated: Oct-12-15 4:23 PM EST –

I agree its not a great solution but its worth at least one try. And he's going to use the thwart behind me as a backrest, not be squeezed in between me and the thwart with it in front of his belly.

It could indeed end in comic disaster.

Plus side
The plus side to all this is that my wife weighs only about 90lbs at 4’11" so putting her in either fore or aft spot on the floor will probably work out just fine.

Bad idea

– Last Updated: Oct-12-15 5:13 PM EST –

Listen to the previous responses.

Find a tandem Grumman aluminum canoe they can be found cheap on craigslist at almost any time. These things last forever so used is always available.

A tandem canoe will easily handle the load you are talking about carrying. A solo boat will not and will quite frankly be dangerous for you your passengers and your gear. If you arent worried about dad or your wife keep in mind you will probably at least lose your fishing equipment when you dump this boat! Been there done that.

Buy an old name brand aluminum at a reasonably price then sell it if you want when you are done with it. You won't lose a penny because these boats hold there value. You and dad will have a much better experience and dad will be alot more comfortable sitting in the bow seat instead of spralled on the floor.

Good fishing John

This is most likely what will end up happening. I’ve only had this canoe for about a month, I just happened to stumble upon an opportunity for a ‘free’ canoe and couldn’t pass it up even though it wasn’t what I was looking for. My main goal for a canoe is to fish with 1 or 2 other people and a solo canoe is just not the right tool for the job.

I run a computer repair store so I get lots of used computers to resell, which is what I traded for this canoe, a computer that had been donated the week before in perfect working order so it was a no brainer. I will try to trade this canoe or other computer for a tandem canoe if I can find one. It will be the right answer in the long run.

The nice thing about this particular canoe is it weighs less than 60lbs and I can lift it on top of my car by myself. Being able to solo load the boat is a requirement, but any canoe can be solo loaded most likely with some planning ahead.

A new Wenonah Encounter retails at $2000 USD so this decent used one is still probably worth at least $500 which gives me some good trade leverage.


– Last Updated: Oct-12-15 6:00 PM EST –

This is a very nice solo expedition boat. Not sure what area you are located in but where I am just about any Wenonah sells for a premium price, unless it's totally trashed. Research the price before you sell this boat. I would guess its value to be 750.00 minimum. A decent tandem can be had a lot cheaper than that. Used Grumman's 17' go for 300.00 to 400.00. Old town guides or discoveries go for 400.00 to 500.00. These prices would be for boats in good shape.

Don't trade, sell your boat then buy what you want.

17' tandems are perfect for 2 large paddlers and can handle 3 much more easily than a solo will handle 2.


I will keep that in mind and not just trade straight across for an inferior boat. I see used canoes on craigslist in my area all the time for $200 to $750 so I should be able to find a decent one when the time comes.

If you wouldn’t mind

– Last Updated: Oct-12-15 8:22 PM EST –

Here is an imgur album I made of my canoe when I first got it. It has a couple of nice gouges in the front where the previous owner ran it into some rocks. Otherwise the other scratches are all pretty shallow and only in the gel coat. The inside of the canoe is perfect as far as I can tell.

Would you or someone else take a quick look and give me a broad estimate as to its worth? Not holding anyone to anything, I just don't know how much those gouges lower the value.



– Last Updated: Oct-13-15 2:55 AM EST –

After looking at your pictures I am still standing by my previous guesstimate 650.00 to 750.00, maybe a little more. Scrapes and scratches are to be expected on a used canoe and I would still consider yours to be in good but not excellent condition. Those deeper scrapes on the front keel are also pretty common and easily repaired by putting a skid plate right over them, so not a real big concern.

Keep in mind that this is a tough time to sell a canoe, buyer's market for sure, fall is always slow. Try and wait untill spring/summer to turn your boat, you will have better luck selling yours and also finding another. Maybe just enjoy the fall weather in the encounter, you may fall in love and decide to keep it.

If you do decide to sell now, you are in a better position than some. Wenonah is a top line brand so there are always people watching and waiting for them.

Good luck John R

Sportspal Foam Porta Seat
I agree with the previous advice. Sell this one. The scuffs on the bottom look like they are just cosmetic. Buy a tandem that meets your needs.

Until you can sell or is selling doesn’t work out for you, you might consider one of the Sportspal Foam Porta Seats.

there is one listed for sale near the bottom of this link.

Prices have gone up
I bought my Encounter for $500 five years ago. It is a tuffweave boat. It had some surface scratches and the inside was almost mint. Seems prices have gone up a $100/200 on boats over those last 5yrs or so.

Thanks for your advice, I intend to take it. I am in no rush to get rid of my canoe. If I didn’t love fishing with my dad and wife on the weekends and was all by myself I would have no issues whatsoever.

We’re still going to see how he sits in it this weekend. Maybe I’ll craft some pontoons eventually and see how that goes and when spring rolls around try to sell it for a nice amount and get a nice tandem.

Maybe if I build a pontoon system with a seat built into it the extra flotation would help hold the weight plus have the stability exactly where it was needed. Something for me to think about. It would slow me down but that’s not a big deal in the long run.

That sure looks like a nice solid seat. If our back to back position works out and we wnts something more comfortable than a life jacket to sit on I might have to get one of those.

Waste of time
By the time you design/build/make this pontoon system you could have just bought a beater tandem that will work. Get an aluminum canoe, keep the encounter and call it good. Winter is almost here and people will be trying to get rid of the boats they didn’t use this year. Start saving some dollars and keep checking CL daily to find that boat

You’re right, it wouldn’t be worth it in the long run. We haven’t even tried us both in the canoe yet to see what happens. I appreciate your advice. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to think about a pontoon system though but probably won’t do it.

The reason I was considering it is that I can construct one out of wood or PVC and scraps around my house for so much cheaper than any sort of canoe. I spent $0 on my current one and have $0 saved up for a new one so at this point its either pontoons or nothing. Or sell my canoe and maybe wait a month or two to find a new one. Or just let my dad sit on shore and watch me fish in my canoe.

I’m mainly just thinking out loud. Pontoons are not the way to go, but might be fun to play with.

Your plan is flawed.

Get a tandem canoe.