Install bow and stern lines

Have recently gotten a royalex canoe. it seems that the manufacturer did not provide an adequate place to to tie off a bow or stern line (painters). I’m a little reluctant to start drilling holes in a brand new canoe. is this the only solution? or is there another way?

Several good threads on piercing the …
…hull for lines in the last couple of years. Search

for lines, hulls, etc. I’m trying to screw up the courage to do it myself. Apparently it’s almost essential for lining or towing. As I recall, you glue plastic tubing between the holes to leakproof. Someone had a good idea about using electic junction box hardware, but I forget the details.

Tug Eyes
The commercial ones are called Tugeyes The website shows a “cut away view” which is helpful if you want to manufacture/cobble your own.

Going through the hull is the only way I know of if you want it for lining and permanent. If you only want the line for tying up the canoe on shore, a line can be attached/tied to a grab handle. If you don’t want it permanent, you can create a harness around the hull and grab handles (this is for a one time lining. To tie and re-tie is a real pain).

Tug eyes
I like my Tug-eyes. some say they are not worth the $ but I like them, and I like the guy why makes them.

Carry handles?
Many boats have wood breasthooks and carry handles. Many have Black vinyl breasthooks with carry handles integrated into the form. You can bend on a painter to these with a fishermans bend or a tautline hitch.

just holes
Had a look at the Tugeyes and they do look sweet. Have also seen just a plastic tube fastened with epoxy.

I just drill the hull and splice a piece of rope into a permanently attached grab loop. The rope is the same diameter as the hole so takes some persuasion to get it in but it doesn’t take water either. Lining ropes are stored under a piece of shock cord on the deck with one end snapped onto the grab loop.


Holes in Boats
Thanks Tapelgan for admitting your hesitancy to drill your canoe. That is where I’m at also. I’ve got marks measured on it and yesterday got around to loading the boat down with water to make sure the lining holes where above waterline with the canoe fully loaded. The water trick helped, but really didn’t work as well as I’d hoped. the water tended to settle more to the back of the canoe, tip her to one side, etc. Real gear and people on flat water would obviously be much better. I was keeping an eye on my child playing in a little rapid so I was in moving current and that didn’t help.

Here is a link to Cliff Jacobsen’s article where he describes installing pvc epoxied in lining holes.

I’ll probably do mine this week as the weather is supposed to be good, with temps into the upper 70’s.

The tug eyes don’t look like a bad deal at 20 bucks a boat.

for years and years

– Last Updated: Feb-16-04 9:59 AM EST –

I have been drilling the ends and threading a 7 or 8mm rope. works great and very cheap.

be brave


Eye bolt
Of course you could always install a stainless steel eyebolt with backing plate. Works on rowboats, sailboats and powerboats.

Tug-Eye No Problemo
I’m not all that handy, and I have installed tug-eyes on my RX Penobscott and RX Wildfire no Problemo. The instructions, lack of hassle and technical support make it worth the $20 IMHO. Makes me feel secure for the tie down on the highway, and the tie down on the water - at the campsite. If I ever need to line the canoes, or pull themn off a rock or something, I can.

electrical junction box fittings
I used tugeyes and had no problem with them But I wanted something less expensive. Go to Lowes or Home Depot and look in the electrical dept. They have PVC electrical conduit and junction box fittings. There is one that is identical to a tugeye there for around .30 cents! Buy 4.

Go over to the plumbing department and find some clear plastic tubing that fits inside the PVC fitting.

Drill your canoe (down near the waterline, not up near the decks!) put some epoxy glue on the flange of the fittings and insert. Let cure.

Cut the plastic tubing to fit and insert and you have an almost identical set up as a Tugeye for less than 4 bucks!

BTW I have used Cliffs PVC pipe set up. They look ameteurish and have a tendency to let go. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Lining holes/tubes
A bunch of good ideas above – there are many ways to skin this cat. …And yes, this has been discussed before. Do a search at this forum for “tugeyes”. A few threads should come up.

You can line the painter holes with a commercial product (Tugeyes) or you can be a bit more creative (and do it on the cheap) with a “do-it-yourself” approach by lining the holes with some hardware items you locate yourself (some plastic electric conduit and connectors work well). The Tugeye product is a good one (or so people say) and the price is not out of line – it certainly looks easy to install and looks nice and neat when the job is done. The DYI approach will suit you if you can “think on your feet” a bit at the hardware store and want to save a few bucks. Another way to do it is the Jacobson technique as Osprey mentioned. With this method you basically drill holes through the hull and epoxy in plastic water pipes as tubes. This is the least expensive way, but does require some somewhat fussy fitting of the plastics tubes to get them flush with the outside of your hull. This is also the crudest way to do this job (of the three), but what the heck, these are just lining tubes – no big deal. Pick an approach and go for it.

Whichever way you go the painter tubes should be placed about 2 or 3 inches above the waterline. The process is very straightforward and goes quickly, but it does take a touch of courage to dill holes in a new hull if you’ve never done it before. Just remember to breathe deep, set your tongue “just so” (hanging out the corner of your mouth) and of course use the restroom BEFORE you drill that first hole! ;^)

The “freak-out” you may experience when you first drill through your hull will quickly be replaced with a sense of satisfaction for small a job well done. I’ve installed lining tubes in 4 of the Royalex canoes in our little family fleet so far and it gets easier each time. After you’ve done it once it no longer gives you cause for concern. Lining holes are a small useful improvement that’s very easy to do and well worth doing.

BTW: It really is not all that important that these lining tubes are absolutely waterproof. Think about it… You’re putting holes through an OPEN TOP canoe… and well above the water line at that… A couple of drops of water coming through the lining tubes on occasion is very small change compared to the water you’re bound to ship in over the rails from time to time as you plunge through the foam. You’ll also drip more water in your boat from your paddle then you’ll ever take in through lining holes – even if they’re fairly sloppy.

Unless you’re planning on doing a lot of lining, there’s really no need to install a grabloop and painter close to the waterline.

If you install it higher up on the hull, you don’t need to worry about it being water tight, and the grab loop can be used as a handle when you’re transporting the canoe. Higher up on the hull, the grabloop is also more conveniently located to pull your boat to shore if you flip (and the boat is upside down), and it provides a good place to tiedown to your car. With the grab loop higher up, and less line hanging around, it’s also less likely to snag on something while your paddling.

Just drill a couple of holes an inch or two below the deckplate, and an inch or two back from the stem. Thread a line through about the same diameter as the holes. Climbing rope, 6-8 mm, works nicely.

On the outside of the canoe, tie the two ends together using a double or triple fishermans knot; this makes a nice neat “handle” in the grab loop. Make the loop large enough so that it will swing up over the deckplate, with enough room to grab it comfortably.

Attach your painter to the grab loop using a bowline or figure 8 knot, and secure the painter to the deckplate with a bungee cord.

On my whitewater boats, I also add a couple of overhand knots in the grab loop, one on each side next to the outer hull, to keep the loop from pulling back into the boat. That way you can use the piece of the grab loop inside the boat as a tiedown point for float bags.

I did the same thing, except with the knot on the inside and heavy vinyl tubing over the line loop on the outside. That seems to be the preferred setup on the whitewater canoes I’ve seen locally. The painter is tied to the grab loop and stuffed under a bungee on the deck plate.

Thanks for the advice
From what everyone is saying,it sounds like I’ll have to get up the courage and drill the holes. I think I’ll go with the “Tugeye” they look about the best. Thanks again!

Please add…
…your feedback to those above when you’re done. I’m still waffling.

Certainly follow Tug Eyes instructions
But here are a couple of tips that worked for me:

make a template for dilling the holes

spend a lot of time measuring and aligning to get both sides the same

drill a tiny pilot hole. then a hole you know is too small (but close). Go up incrementally until the tug eye fits

test fit before gluing in

masking tape arround the hole before gluing/installing

roll the canoe onto its side to install. Wait for that side to cure before rolling it over to do the other side

carabiners work
I have no trouble drilling holes near the gunwales of my canoes but then, I own Coleman boats and they are very forgiving.

But I also own kayaks and what I do is collect a decent length (20’ or so) of poly rope (it floats) and tie a clip carabiner to both ends.

Then when I paddle ,I grab a painter from my box, clip one carabiner to the carry handle and toss the rest of the painter (bundled with a rubber band) into the boat. When I need it, I wrap the painter around something like a tree or rock and clip the other carabiner to the roap.

I’ve never had any problem with this idea.

Also I like to carry a second painter at the stern and a third cliped to a thwart amidships so I can tie off next to a warf or beach and just climb out and not have to walk to the bow to exit.

Skip hole-drilling, How about a bridle?
I have a Royalex Vagabond, and my plan for lining or tracking the boat through rapids (if I ever face that situation) is to use Bill Mason’s method, which he calls a bridle. This boat has a short thwart right near each end which would be a perfect place for a bridle attachment. It seems to me that Bill Mason’s method might be better since the pull is directly from the keel, so the boat can’t possibly get too strong a grip on the current or develop any tendency to roll when it gets sideways to the river flow (the harder the pull, the higher you lift the upstream side of the boat). Has anyone found an advantage using a loop right at the tip of each stem? “Convenience” doesn’t really count for me, because I’m pretty good at knots and rope-handling, and I have a method that takes just 5 seconds per line to rig up (have one side of the bridle attached and ready, with the proper length on that side of the Y-joint. When needed, you swing the bridle under the boat and tie-off the other side tightly, and you’re done!).

By the way, I also use those near-the-end thwarts for tie-down attachements for transport on the car roof.

Drill it up!
I agree with the post that said “be brave.” You won’t do any harm to the hull by drilling holes for your ropes.

My new Outrage (ww solo) has a set up I like:

Single holes drilled dead centre (i.e., “keel line”)at the each ends where lines are attached and simply held in place using stopper knots (figure 8s). AND the 2-hole system where a grab loop installed.

Ropes aren’t just for lining: if I take a swim in whitewater, it’s easier to find/hold the boat by a grab loop than a rope, and it prevents having the painter dragging around the water with me (they’re bungeed to the deck plate - meaning drilling more holes!)

Good luck. Pat.