bow or stern

If a paddler is alone in a canoe does he or she paddle from the bow or stern?? Tanks in advance…Frank

Idealy from the center (nm)

It depends
If possible (due to thwart placement), sit in the bow facing the stern, which places you closer to the center. But most tandems will have a thwart right behind the bow seat making this impossible.

whatever it takes to
keep the boat trimmed level. If either the bow or stern is sitting high, it will be much more difficult to control the canoe in even the slightest wind. There are several ways to get a tandem trimmed with one paddler:

  • the one aready mentioned, sitting in the bow seat and facing bacwards, which works fairly well for some canoes.
  • kneeling in the center against the portage yoke, which gives you very good trim but makes for a very wide reach for your paddle stroke.
  • Carrying some weight in the opposite end. Water conatiners work great cause you can carry them empty and just fill them up when you launch, and they are neutrally bouyant if you should ever swamp or capsize.

In a tandem
wit a symmetrical hull yer kin’ paddle the canoo heeled over Canadian style from the center or from the bow seat facing backwards. Ah’ have a center seat installed fer leaning my butt up against when ah’ kneel, but ah’ also ripped out de factory thwart that waar located just behind de bow seat in my Wenonah Prospector an’ put a new one in about 18 inches towards de stern to give me room ta lean/sit on the bow seat facing sternward when ah’ have a load. Works good.


I got purchased a center seat and a
double bladed canoe paddle. The seat just “drops down” over the gunnels. You tie it in so it does not float away when you flip. The DBCP was the best thing I ever did, available from Mohawk.