Canoe Bailer

Any specific suggestions for a canoe bailer? Presently, I’m using an old cut off gallon milk jug. However, it is pretty flimsy and annoying at times. Any better ideas?

one of those super soaker water guns that you suck up the water in your canoe. Then you can shoot it at your friends.

Milk jugs are flimsy. Bleach bottles and windshield washer bottles are stiffer and work better.

Arizona Iced Tea Jug
The gallon Arizona Iced Tea jugs are the most rugged of all the throw away gallon jugs. They are flat sided and will bail better along the bottom of the hull. The plastic is translucent and you can see how much you are bailing.

try a sit inside kayak. I couldn’t stop myself.

Milk jugs can be OK if you cut them
properly. The open end closest to the bailing hand should be cut down through the bottom of the jug. This lends some stiffness and integrity. The thin plastic of a milk jug actually helps one get the bottom edge of the bailer pushed down against the bottom of the boat, to get the last bit of water.

Try an old brown LINCO bottle some time. That’s a thrill.

laundry detergent bottles
a little thinner which is good for tighter spots. Tough handle, too.

Aaron is shown here with his laundry jug, color coordinated to match his airbags…

Ocean Spray
Sorry for the names drop, but take a look at the gallon size juice bottles. A little cutting, and you have a pretty stiff bailer.

Washing machine detergent bottles

That’s my vote. They are thick and rugged.

J&J canoe
Sell siphon bailers. Just pull the lever and paddle like mad. I have successfully emptied an 18’6" comp cruiser that was half full of water in under 4 minutes. They are very effective, that is why all the racers use them.

Or you can order your canoes with them from certain makers.

I agree,
We have one in our comp cruiser and one in our Savage river Susquehanna.

I used to be chicken to use it, but now love to pull up the lever and listen to the slurp as the boat empties out.



Siphon bailer
I’ve always wanted to try one in my whitewater boat. Catch a wave or even an upstream ferry to drain the boat?

Havn’t quite got up the nerve yet.

Kind of wonder how well they’d survive dragging on rocks too?

also use a natural sea sponge…those things hold a lot of water. I put it IN the bleach bottle to store while paddling etc. these sponges hold about 3 times the water as a store bought synthetic sponge but cost more too. they last years too.

siphon bailer
By this you mean the stainless trap door kind of device that mounts thorugh the hull? I was hoping that you meant some tubing apparatus. At $100 it is a bit more than a used milk jug though.

99c kitchen pitcher
Another option to the cutoff product bottle is a cheap plastic pitcher from one of the big box stores. Advantages - almost as cheap as free, sturdier plastic, better shape maybe depending on your boat, sometimes an attachable full top.

Old School
Clorox bottle cut off with a line tied off so I don’t loose it. A large sponge to mop up the rest. No need for fancy pumps. If I got that much water in my boat then I’m in a world of hurt and did something stupid. Been using this for 20 odd years, time tested and true.


We’ll watch while you do your next
solo re-entry and pump that sucker out.

A better make-it-yourself canoe bailer
If you know someone who uses clorine-free BAQUACIL swimming pool chemicals, a plastic BAQUACIL Water Claifier container makes a pefect bailer. It is a No. 2 (recyclable) plastic (attractive marine blue color) that’s a bit thicker/heavier than a plastic milk jug, and has a molded-in handle. If you’d like to see what it looks like, send me your e-mail address and I’ll send you a jpg photo.


Fred L. Sabine

Macon, Georgia