Bow and Stern Lines for Canoe

I’d like to get opinions about how long the painters should be on a canoe, what type of rope to use (floating) and whether or not they should be left loose in the canoe in case of a capsize so that one could grap them.

Painters (or bow an’ stern lines)

– Last Updated: Jun-19-08 1:08 PM EST –

on me boats be about de length of de canoo or a bit shorter of floatin' 3/8" or even 1/2" rope (easier ta grab). Ah' coil it under shockcord anchored ta de deck plates wit de free end facin' away from de boat. Linin' ropes be longer an' attached lower on de stems jus' when needed. Loose lines cood be trouble in some sitooations. No knots on de ends as they might git caught somewaar.

Fat Elmo

Mine are very long 25’ each and connect

– Last Updated: Jun-19-08 1:08 PM EST –

to each other. I use nylon clothesline. I re-loop them often and test them in the water to make sure they open easily. I also put small floats on the ends to be pulled and yellow tape on the ends tied to the boat.

Yep, coiled under the shock-cord with the grab end hanging loose.

My take on this
I have painters sized similarly to Elmo’s. For WW, make 'rm about the length of the boat, preferably of 3/8" or larger dia floating line. Best to corral them with shock cord as already mentioned - don’t want them floating loose during a swim and possibly wrapping an ankle.

For flatwater, I do pretty much the same, but use 1/4" line (also floating). You might justify a slightly longer painter as they are mostly used for tieing up - sometimes the closest good anchor point is a fur piece away. I use the front painter often for that use. The rear only goes on the boat for big lake trips.


I use a 1/2 inch polypro rope that floats but I don’t like how the line tries to retain the bent shape when unwound. Can anyone reccomend a rope that floats that does not do this.

Good quality polypro from a marine/boating store or order it online from NRS.

What you are describing is the hideous polypro sold at Wally Depot.

Wal Mart Rope
You’re absolutely right. I purchased this at Wal-Mart. I didn’t know that there are better (more expensive) polypro lines available.

1/2" rope , braided , 25’ plus …

– Last Updated: Jun-19-08 11:06 PM EST –

......... try tying a long (7"-8") over hand loop in one end of rope . Pass the loop under the carry handle and up enough to put the tag end of the rope through the loop . Pull the rope snug to the carry , the knot of the loop will pass through the loop just before the rope snugs to the carry .

This can be put on or taken off the canoe in 10 seconds (less).

I just wrap the rope up around elbo and hand/thumb , then take the last couple feet (less) , and wrap that around the bundle just made (cris-cross the first wrap once to keep from loosening on the bundle) .

The final step is to take last 6" or so and stick it under the final wrap around the bundle , and pull tight .

If you wrap the bundle up close to the carry , it will hang freely under the carry .

This is the same for the bow and sern line . if you need to make a longer rope , just join the two at the loops the same way , one loop through the other and pull tag end through loop .

This attachment is "convenient" , can be put on or off the canoe in 10 seconds or less .

The same rope used for the painters can be used to secure canoe to vehical for transport .

If you have to throw a rescue/tow line , throw the stern one , not the bow , lol .

that is funny
I don’t shop at wal-mart for much. I bought a little bit of their float-rope there once. after some use it really loosened up and is nice and soft. I am sure there is better around, but it is just fine for me.