I got my first canoe..... HOLY TIPPY!

Hey everyone, I got a 16 ft fiberglass Pere Marquette. She is big and old. I went out by myself (260lbs) and almost barrel rolled in 2 feet from shore. I moved to the center and sat on the floor and all was well… The canoe has the standard bow and stern seats.

I am looking to take my 5 year old, but don’t want to scare the #$%# out of her with the stability… any tips or practices would be AWESOME!

For taking your daughter, you need
a kneeling thwart, seat, or pedestal somewhat back of the center of the canoe. Until you and she get used to the situation, you need to kneel for stability.

I’m not familiar with the P. Marquette, but I’m sure it is not unusually tippy. Most canoes are designed to provide a good bit of stability.

I had no idea kneeling was so important… I will have to try that next time out. It makes sense. I flopped my butt on the floor like a toddler…lol

Kneeling works if you are positioned right in the boat. As noted above you need to be just a bit behind the center to keep the weight distribution right so one end isn’t sticking out of the water.

Most tandem 16’ boats are about 36" wide. If your is a few inches less than than, it may indeed be more tippy than most. In any case, since you’ll be kneeling, don’t forget to take some padding for your knees. A simple closed cell sleeping pad works great. $5-10.

Please don’t take the little one out
in it, until you are completely comfortable and confident that you can keep it up right.

Jack L

I’m willing to bet that the next few times out in it, you’ll feel more and more confident in the stability. You’re a big person so it’s important to have that weight in the center of the canoe…the lower the weight, the more stability you’ll achieve. Again, take a few short trips out in it and I’m sure you’ll look back at your first time in it and smile about how nervous you were.

Is it a Scout

– Last Updated: May-26-10 10:49 AM EST –

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If it is a Scout it's 16' X 36" looks like maybe 2" rocker. Looks like a nice canoe. Maybe you can add a center seat. Keeping centered is the trick including your head. Time on the water and moving weight around will make you stable. Please get it worked out before taking the little one out. Always keep your PFD's on and make sure they fit correctly.

Keep the open side up :~)

a couple of tips
when getting into or exiting the boat, do not have any part of it on shore - have it floating completely in the water; when you step into or out of the boat, place your foot carefully on the keel line (center) first, without weighting it - then shift your body weight over that foot, and then stand up - that keeps your center of gravity over the center of the boat.

a good exercise that will help you get the “feel” of the boat, and build your confidence is to sit in the boat near shore and preferably in shallow water - then rock the boat side to side, keeping your upper body/torso upright while moving at the hips so that your lower body is rocking with the boat - that keeps your head and center of gravity over the center of the boat. IF you stay loose at the hips, you shuld be able to rock the canoe over quite a ways, even so far that the gunnel is touching the water in some boats (but not all). do that for a few minutes, and staying loose at the hips becomes second nature - the worst thing you can do is panic and stiffen up - if you lean the boat when your stiff, you go over.

most likely, you are going to be more stable sitting in the bow seat and paddling the canoe stern forward. You will be sitting at a wider part of the boat than if you sit in the stern seat, and the boat will be more level, with less out of the water - it helps to add some weight (gear, or a couple of milk jugs filled with water) up in the far end of the boat to help trim it level.

kneeling-good (chronicles of Tarzan)
I’ve got to firmly agree with JackL. Do not take your daughter or anyone else out until you are more experienced.

Also, imagine there’s an invisible force shield above and following the rails and only your arms are allowed through. Any other body parts outside the force field will result in an immediate swim. If you can keep your head and complete torso inside this plane you will not tip over. It’s just physics.

Have fun.

Keep the Open Side Up,


Yeah, she is not coming with me till I am ready. I am gonna take it to a shallow lake this weekend and roll it… I heard that the p. marquetes sink, but it is foamed at stern and bow.

Thanks for the tips everyone!

pedestal, knee/ankle padding…
As mentioned, the ww-pedestals are terrific in any type of boat, add good-foam padding for both knees and ankles…with ankle blocks = the most painful for myself if I’m without.

Loosen up pro-actively in the hips…the fact that its initial stability is low points to the fact that it can be a pretty fast boat.

Flatwater time…in not too deep water(think you know that)…then in moving water is best before taking on any passengers.