Good Square Stern Canoe?

I am looking for a good square stern canoe to be used camping with my family. I have a 4hp motor to put on the back. We kayak alot, so we do not need a canoe that is easy to row. This is just for playing around in and fishing in. I want a good durable one because my kids 5,8,11 will be using it for the next 10+ years. I have read several good things about the old Scanoe…but they are no longer made be Coleman. Are the new ones made by Pelican as good? Any other ideas?? I like to stay around 700-1200 dollars. Thanks


– Last Updated: Jan-08-08 6:14 PM EST –

For a square-stern canoe, I'd go with a Grumman. There's hardly a worse boat made than the Coleman/Pelican canoes. There are one or two people on this board who claim their Pelican is a great boat, but I've never seen one that wasn't severely warped after just one summer. Often they are badly warped when shipped, and I have no use for a company that doesn't even care whether the boat they send you is shaped like a boat or like a stepped-on milk jug. For a square-stern canoe for knock-around use, aluminum is a better bet than polyethylene, as it's nearly as tough, needs no care whatsoever, and will last forever. Grumman makes the sturdiest of all aluminum canoes.

The Grumman will push your budget limit a little bit if you choose one longer than 16 feet (which you should if three kids will be using it), but they've been on the market a really long time, so if you look you can probably find a used one that will do the job.

Oh, just one thing. I said aluminum boats need no care at all, but there is just ONE thing to be careful of. Don't let carpenter ants take up residence in the floatation (they will chew tunnels in styrofoam just as readily as they do in rotten wood). Any aluminum boat that sits outside for a long time should periodically be checked for ant nests.

Thank you for your ideas. I will definately check with a few more people before I jump into a Pelican/Coleman. I will also check out boat made from other materials.

Canadian company that might be a little difficult to find a dealer but they have three models, the 12’ Mallard, 14’6" Heron, and the 17’ Cargo. All built in Royalex.

However, all these models are only certified for a 3hp motor. You might be out of luck if inspected.

Won’t track
Directional stability, or tracking, most closely related to prismatic co-efficient. The less of the prism shaped by the amidships waterline section the hull fills the better it tracks.

An easy way to come up with a useful number is to assume all canoes run the same depth, and just compare length to width ration. Race boats are 7.0, touring boats approach that and river tripping boats are usually 6 or more.

An 18.5’X 12" = 222" hull w/ a 32 inch waterline comes in l/w ratio of 6.94 and tracks well. Bobbing the tail removes 2.5 feet, 30" from the formula for a l/w of 6. Add in the effects of extreme stern turbulence and the thing will be slow and track kinda poorly.

He wants a canoe suitable for use…

– Last Updated: Jan-08-08 8:26 PM EST –

...with a four-horsepower outboard motor and doesn't care how hard it might be to paddle. I think that pretty much eliminates all choices other than square-stern canoes. I don't think any of those numbers you crunched say anything that's applicable here. I have a 12-foot Jon boat that's at least as wide as any canoe, and wider than any canoe of that length, so the calculations would suggest it doesn't handle worth a crap, but it "tracks" just fine, whether powered by oars or with an outboard motor (thankfully, with one person rowing the thing, the stern isn't deep enough in the water to present much of a turbulence issue. With two people on board, rowing is pretty darned slow). It's hardly a performance-oriented boat, but it does what it's made to do, just like square-stern canoes.

OBs help tracking
Most small outboards have a small fin for protecting the prop. That can act as a rudder.

Used Grumman
My father-in-law bought a Grumman in the early 70’s that we’re still paddling. It’s been stored outside most of that time and except for a little oxidation and loss of interior paint it’s as good as new. These are often available used at very good prices. With a little patience and research you should be able to find an affordable boat in time for spring.

Scott Canoes
I have the 18’ Albany with a 9.9 hp on it. Terrific canoe for fishing and camping on larger lakes. Stable, easily driven, nice for when you don’t want to paddle. For the 4 hp you might consider this:

Old Town
Old Town makes a decent square stern canoe that I’ve been using for three yrs. now. As a fishing guide in the Adirondacks I put alot of people in a canoe for the 1st time in their lives so I need a stable one. This is my ‘‘go-to’’ canoe when I get a pair of ‘‘pilgrims’’ that want to go ‘’ fishing on a lake for brook trout in the ADK’s’’.

Sorry I don’t know any stability equations to impress you with.

I know it is a stable canoe and will handle your 4-horse and I bet your kids can’t wear it out. I think Cabela’s sells them or try L.L. Bean. Good luck, Bill.