canoe with a motor?

Hello all!! I’m totally new to all of this so forgive me if this is a dumb question but …

I’m looking for a canoe for touring & messing about on the river / maybe figuring out a little bit of white water. I have maybe 4 hrs experience so basically know nothing.

  • Can you just fit a motor to any canoe or does it have to have a flat back?
  • Are sails a good idea?
  • I guess I want a jack of all trades type of canoe so what would you get, if you were as green as me at all this?

    Thank you!!

    Thank you!!

motor mount
You can gt a bracket like this one to mount a small electric trolling motor or outboard:

Some people enjoy sailing canoes. The spirit sails seem to be popular:

Check out

motors on canoes
I’ve used various electric and gas motors on various boats including canoes, rafts, jon boats and homebuilt craft over the years. Based on that experience, I generally would not recommend a motor on a canoe, unless you have a specific body of water you want to travel that cannot be done under paddle power.

The reason is that a canoe is so easy to propel with a paddle and can be launched almost anywhere. You’re better off driving to some place where you can fish or explore near where you put in, than to put in at a boat ramp and try to motor to where you want to go. Furthermore, a motor adds so much weight and bother to a canoe that you usually end of working harder loading the motor and gas can or battery than you would paddling.

It does take some practice to learn how to paddle efficiently, but it is not hard to learn and is a useful skill to have. A typical near-beginner with a little practice should be able to cover 6-10 miles in a day of leisurely paddling, with time off for fishing and swimming. A more experienced paddler with a better boat can easily cover 20-50 miles, depending upon the type of water travelled and how much time is spent on other activities.

in addition…
…as soon as you put a motor on it you are going to be subject to the same licensing as ski boats.

It sounds like you want a canoe that will do everything.

well…just as there is no one vehicle that will do the duty of a semi-tractor, a sports car, and an SUV, yo aren’t going to find a canoe that will do it all either.

for lakes you need something stable which will hold a straight line. In WW you need just the opposite where maneuverability is almost just intentional instability.

We did some experimenting years ago
with a trolling motor and I found myself agreeing with someone I read (may have been Bill Riviere) who said:

“When you put a motor on a canoe you no longer have a canoe, you have a poorly designed motor boat.”

There are some places that you just can’t get to without a really big hassel rigging up extra vehicles etc. but are acessible motoring upstream, take off the motor and put it in the middle of the boat and paddle back downstream. Works pretty good if you have a light motor, though I wouldn’t try it with only one person on board A Honda 2hp would plane the Old Town Canoe I used to have, with 2 adults on board. I haven’t done this in years, because it is not worth the trouble to get and keep boat registration, carburetors cleaned, etc. If you have a narrow canoe, you can’t get out of it with the motor mounted, it will capsize.

Grumman is what you want…

– Last Updated: Aug-07-09 8:11 PM EST –

I grew up with a 19' Grumman canoe, with a square transom ("flat back"), and had a blast with the thing. We still have it today. I learned to knee board behind it and a 6hp motor! We've paddled class II white water in it, as well as still rivers and lakes. You can get a sail kit....which we never bought...but I understand it sails fairly well. After 30+ years it still looks great. Just remember, a canoe or boat that does "everything" is a compromise. They aren't optimized to do anything well. (the Grumman does motor very well, however)

Upstream? Try poling NM

old town dicovery sport 15
i put a 6hp 4 stroke mercuy and 12 gallon tank,solar panel,bilge pump,bucket seats,helmsmate tiller handle and xm sat radio.she can take the waves of the big lakes and go upstream like a duck. i have taken this boat from 5th st. john pond down river to woodstock new brunswick. she does need a trailer to get to the though. i don’t consider her a canoe,she’s a small boat.

bad idea
I think any motor on a canoe is a bad idea, from a safety standpoint. During a rollover, a gas motor will do a job on any body part and a trolling motor will trim just about everything else.

Not so bad if it’s done right…
Our 19’ footer never, ever acted tippy…stable as a rock. With the motor down the center of gravity is very low and you have that big, heavy skeg in the water. I’ve hauled diving gear for three divers, the divers, enough junk for a two day camp, and blasted through chop, white caps from all directions, cruiser wakes, et al, and she cut right through. Remove the motor and you have…a fun canoe. Tippy and everything. Our motor is a 6hp Merc, w/6 gal tank. Versus a john boat, I’d buy another in a heartbeat.