canoe seat placement


I have an 18’ aluminum canoe.

I want to put new wood and web seats in it.

So when i do that i would like to move the rear seat forward to help with weight distribution,

because i weigh #350 and my wife weighs #150 (in the front) and with nothing else in the canoe the bottom tends to flex up.

Will there be any problem with this?

I will also have to move the thwarts to accommodate this, will there be a problem with that?

Thank you

Should be okay
Solo canoes have a seat that’s near the center (usually a bit behind center), and since paddling from the stern with a partner is much like paddling solo, as far some of the main strokes go, moving the back seat toward the front a little bit shouldn’t present any problems.

I think it’s odd that the bottom of your boat flexes upward. A good aluminum canoe wouldn’t do that. Does the boat have some broken ribs or a broken keel? Those sorts of things can be fixed. Maybe it’s a cheaper style of aluminum boat which has no ribs.

Its a Grumman 18’
Its a Grumman 18’, the keel is kinda small.

The bottom is really flat. I did not see anything broken but the ribs have flexed.

It will be better if its more like a solo canoe as she really doesn’t do much.

Keel style?
You say it “doesn’t have much of a keel…”.

Is it a “shoe keel”? The giveaway is that the aluminum extrusion on the exterior keel and the interior are identical. The lake, or knife keels were more pronounced and the interior alu strip was flat stock.

A shoe keel that had been wrapped sometimes got flexy - that is why I am asking.

As for moving seats and thwarts, go for it. Over the years many folks have re-drilled Grumman gunwales and made lots of modifications. Keep the holes small (3/16" or #10) and you should be OK.


I’ll second
the comments already posted.

You may also want to consider moving the bow seat forward a bit IF you can do so and still leave enough room for your wife’s knees. A sliding bow seat arrangement would allow you some flexibility in the seat placement. Keep in mind that if you move the stern seat forward too far you’ll be forced to sit off center in order to get a vertical paddle placement and that will have the boat heeled toward your onside.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom canoe paddles

shoe keel

– Last Updated: Mar-07-08 6:13 PM EST –

Well it must be a "shoe keel" the inside and outside both look the same. So if the bottom keel is warped is there anything I can do about it or should I just leave it alone?

Thanks for all the help,

Good News - Bad news
The good news is that you have the heavy-duty boat (assuming it’s 17 feet, not 18. I don’t think there was ever a shoe-keeled 18-footer, but my memory might be failing me). This boat has a few more ribs than the “standard” Grumman, because they billed it as their “whitewater model”.

The bad news is that any bending of ribs or the keel is due to cracking (at least that’s what I’ve seen. I’ve never seen thick pieces of aluminum bend, only break). You might have to look closely to find the cracks. Fixing cracks would best be done by a someone who’s GOOD at welding aluminum. Chances are there’s a welder near you who can do that. For a home-made repair, the best approach is probably to fashion a metal reinforcement plate that fits the inside of the rib or keel for a few inches each side of the crack, and bolt it in place. Or you could just leave it alone and not worry about it until it gets a lot worse or you decide to replace the boat. There are lots of aluminum canoes getting that very treatment.