Converting a canoe to handle outboard mo

I have a friend that has a rugged old 16’ fiberglass canoe with a 36" beam. She wants to convert it to support a 5HP outboard motor. She wants to use the canoe for fishing trips with her son in the everglades and 10,000 island areas of Florida. I am looking for any suggestions, recommendations, or potential problems before we do this? Thanks Dan

Too much motor!
I’d really recommend keeping it around 2-3hp, and only on a square back. A 5hp motor on a side mount bracket on a normal canoe will be a handfull.

I agree that 5 hp is more motor than can
be fully employed with a 16 foot canoe. The lighter the motor, the better, and 3 hp is plenty.

Too much motor
You can cut the stern off to about 10 inches wide rebuild it beef it up some and watch the throtle. It would be a blast on a lake with a helmet on of course. Or trade it in for a trolling motor. You can buy brackets for canoes or make one with a bar and a couple of C-clamps.

Why are you asking here?
Seriously. This forum is for paddling, not powerboating. Why ruin a perfectly good canoe? Either get one that’s made to take a motor or - this may be a stretch - try paddling! Mirabile visu - you might even like it…

Why ask here? Because
some people here are familiar with powering a canoe by means other than human.

I repeat
I don’t think this question is appropriate for this forum. We have to deal with motorboats enough as it is on the water.

This is not or, it’s

Would you go onto a skiing message board to ask about snowmobiling?

This article might clear up any misconceptions:

Maybe try

There are quite a few people with handicaps that would like to get on the water and can only do so with a motor. You dont know the circumstances so lighten up.

Converting an unrated canoe to take a 5 hp motor is asking for trouble, physically and legally. If you get inspected or in an accident, you will be cited. Overpowering and poor balance/trim can lead to dangerous handling problems. It does not take that much thrust to move a canoe or kayak to hull speed. Sell what you have and get something more suitable to the task.

That’s what adaptive paddling is about

Electric motor
I have a trolling motor and a bracket that holds a side-mounted transom on the canoe. That set-up works and its much quieter than a gas-powered motor—it is nearly silent—also, it does not exhaust nasty petroleum byproducts into the water.

I agree that a 5HP motor will be too heavy and too powerful for your canoe.

My electric trolling motor has plenty of power. It will push my 17’ canoe around with no problem. It also weighs less than a 5HP gas motor.

However, my motor hasn’t been on the water for a few years now. The downside—for me—with this electric set-up is that you must also carry a battery to power your motor. Batteries are heavy and bulky. They also can leak acid if you’re not careful. I’ve ruined a nice shirt and pair of jeans while carrying the battery up and down the banks between the canoe and the shore.

I’ve given up using my motor. I much prefer paddling and poling.

If anybody is interested in trying an electric motor, send me an email. Mine is in great condition and I doubt I’ll ever use it again.


I’ve often thought …
… that a motor could be easily mounted right in the center of the back (stern), on a regular canoe (not a flat back) … I have a 74 lb. thrust electric (24v.) which I was considering adapting the canoe for also, for the rare occasion I might want to use it that way … I would agree with the others , that 5 hp. is a bit too much for your canoe … 3 hp. is quite alot for such a light craft , I also believe a canoe might get pretty squirrely at a speed much lower than one might think … I wonder what speed a canoe could move at and still be reasonably safe and predictable ?? … I haven’t put a motor on my canoe as yet , but might … I’m guessing a 3 hp. could get a fairly well loaded 17’ canoe up to around 15 kts. in no time flat , and at that speed the canoe would be real sensitive in manuvering (maybe like on the edge of loss of control), but don’t know for sure about that ?? …

Another vote for “too much motor”

– Last Updated: May-05-08 9:05 PM EST –

You can put a 5-horse motor on a big squareback canoe, but a side-mounted motor on the canoe you describe will be "on the edge" at best and a disaster at worst. I'd suggest looking for a different boat or a different motor. A different boat is more likely to be the cheaper option. If it were me, I'd go with a small Jon boat (unless you are lucky enough to find one of those big old-fashioned "guide" canoes) - for the safety of the motor! I'd sure hate to somehow tip over a canoe and find myself faced with likely damage, or at least the definite need for a complete tear-down/rebuild, with something as expensive as an outboard motor.

“Safe and Predictable” Speed
I’ve seen big aluminum squareback canoes with a 5-horse motor, and at full power and up on plane, they handled quite nicely. It didn’t look dangerous at all. It probably wouldn’t be my first choice for a combination of boat and motor, but I must say it looked like it worked really well. In such a boat you WOULD need to be extra careful about suddenly applying power while in a sharp, slow-speed turn (doing so might just roll the thing over).