Electric Trolling Motor On a Canoe?

-- Last Updated: May-11-07 7:02 PM EST --

I have owned and used canoes and kayaks for 38 years - now being 60 yrs old! I still paddle often as today I was in my Current Designs kayak for an hour paddle in the salt marsh. Recently my life has included a new friend who has a physical handicap. She loves nature and the outdoors. I have an Old Town Penobscot 16 ft Royalex canoe. Would one of the small Mina-Kota electric trolling motors, attached on a proper bracket, be reasonable and safe on the canoe I have - in flat water of course. I never thought I would even consider a motor on a canoe but on long trips agains the current with only me being able to paddle it is tough on me. Thanks for your thoughts.

It should be fine. Get at least
a 30 lb thrust motor. Gel cell batteries are great, no acid spills.

They work fine.
Old Town’s motor mount is good. We use them on our 17’ Penobscots for research work.


trolling motor
I use the trolling motor on my Mohawk by attaching a motor carrier from Old Town. I have even used a 4hp gas model. The boat does flex some but I control that by controlling my need for speed. An ace chest under the mid throat will help hold things in place. Otherwise I use the power to beat the bass boats :).

Electric motor battery placement?
Wetzool -

With the battery for an electric trolling motor placed in the center of the canoe - does the canoe feel less stable (initial or secondary stability)? My canoe is the 16 ft Penobscot and I am in not hurry on the water so I am looking at the Mini-Kota 30 lb thrust (their smallest electric?) that’s on sale locally for $100. That should be enough motor, right? (two people: me 180 lbs, friend 105 lbs, max of ten pounds of gear, flat water but some river current. Thanks for your help! Bill Williams - Wilmington, NC.

Powerboat registration
Dependin’ on de motor vehicle laws in yer state, ya might have ta register yer canoo (wit all de numbers an’ such) as a powerboat now dat ye put a motor on it - even if it be electric. Here in Joisey we do.


Placing the battery in the middle should
not affect stability. A 30 lb trolling motor will be enough.

I motorized
a sit on top and use two 35 amp gels, they are easier to carry than a full size deep cycle.

If you mount a motor on a gunwale it may be easy to do but I prefer my motors mounted on the stern. Being a kayak instead of a canoe I use a radio controlled motor rather than a tiller style motor. Also if mounted on the side it may tip the boat over if the operator turns it 90 deg

and hits the power too hard. Also when mountd on centerline it creats a ballast effect and adds stability while deployed but when in stowed position may do the opposite.

We’re using this setup for loon research
so we actually carry two lead-acid large marine batteries (sometimes 3) in the boats, plus three people and a fair amount of gear. We usually have a battery under each seat. I think we have the 34lb thrust motors. Stability has not been a problem in my boat - yet!, but I’ve heard stories … If I can find some pics I’ll email to you.


a different approach
I live in NC and may be able to find an old motor mount you can try if you email me.

However, I found that the best way to carry passengers upcurrent is to row the canoe. It is an ideal solution because you have a passenger to face forward and tell you which way to turn. Often a passenger can steer a little if you give them a paddle if they want something to do.

Simple oar outriggers for fixed seat canoe rowing are easy to make or can be bought for about 50 dollars. They rarely break, don’t need recharging, and are always ready. Oars are much easier to carry along and maintain than a trolling motor, battery, charger combination.

I also have a 40 inch wide rowing canoe that you may want to try out. It is really wide so it doesn’t require outriggers for rowing. I love to paddle and row around Wilmington, so let me know if you want to try it.