Mallard canoe

So I’m very new to canoeing, as in, I’ve rented grummans from the state parks on a few occasions, and duck hunted out of one one season. But I recently purchased a canoe that is in quite nice condition. It has a sticker on the side that says mallard marine inc. New Haven CT. I can’t find any info on this. It’s 17’, not a flat back. It’s fairly heavy but not obscene. Paddles nice it seems. Quiet and stable. But the big reason for the canoe is there’s a park in state that has remote camp sites only accessible by non motorized boat. So I’d like to know the carrying capacity. Will likely be myself and 2 or 3 kids. Tent, small grill. Maybe a small bit of firewood. Would also be interested in any general info anyone may have on the canoe or mallard as a whole.

Also, how do you go about selecting a proper paddle? For lack of knowing any better I purchased two $11 Kmart specials just to give it a go. They’re 46" and anything but great. But they moved the boat nonetheless.

Thanks in advance.

A picture or serial number might help. There is a manufacturer named ‘Mallard Marine’ on the USCG MIC website, but not in CT, in Oregon. Does the serial number on the canoe contain the letters ‘OYN’?

I don’t seem to find a serial number. Currently don’t have a picture available. I will get one soon. The seats are molded into the hull. The rear seat is one piece so to speak. There is no gap from the read to the seat. I know there’s a mallard marine in oregon that builds duck boats. But it is not the same company.

Load ratings are not determined by any standard method from one company to the next. As a way of estimating load ratings I used to recommend that people go to the abandoned website of the old Bell Canoe Works and look for a canoe of roughly the same dimensions as the one in question, and look at the loads required to sink the boat to the depths indicated (I think they ranged from 2 to 4 or 5 inches). Alas, that old website finally got taken down. The next best thing would be to go to the website of the new Northstar Canoes and do the same thing, as I’m pretty sure they use the same system. The only trouble is that they have far fewer canoes, and thus far less variety in canoe dimensions for comparison.

You haven’t said how long the boat is or how wide, but it’s pretty typical for 16-foot canoes to have a reasonable rated capacity somewhere in the range of 600 pounds (that’s VERY approximate). For any 15-footer that’s not as wide as a barge, 500 pounds is likely a reasonable limit. Certain manufacturers rate their 17-foot canoes at right around half a ton, but that’s not realistic in most cases. I think for boats having such a rating, that’s the weight that sinks the canoe to the point that there’s 6 inches of freeboard. That isn’t much, and more than that, the canoe will handle like a pig due to how much hull is below the surface. You are better off assuming that 5 inches of draft means you have a very heavily loaded boat. 4 inches is more practical as an upper limit, and 3 is usually better yet (again, check out Northstar’s website for some approximations). Sometimes in strong wind, more draft (more load) is better, but on average, you will pay for extra load in paddling effort. For one adult and two or three kids (of unspecified age and size, so far), you are better off keeping your load on the light side, since their combined weight may be significant, yet you probably will be supplying more than your share of the paddling power.

Next, you should do something about those paddles. Using them will be as bad or worse than having on overloaded boat. For starters, go to the Bending Branches website. They have quite a range of decent paddles for prices that are as low as anyone’s (though the prices may be higher than you expect), and I’m pretty sure they have sizing recommendations, and that also can be modified according to how high the seats are, etc, but usually the standard recommendations are good enough, especially starting out. Sawyer paddles are similar in quality, for similar prices. You can order both online at, among other places, and probably direct from the manufacturers. For myself, I find that paddles in the “pretty good” range of quality can be gotten for around $230, plus or minus. Bending Branches might still have some decent, practical choices for about $150. For what it’s worth, one of my favorite Bending Branches models is the “Expedition Plus”. It’s incredibly tough, and moderate in weight.

It may be more of a volume issue than a weight issue with 4 humans plus camping gear especially if the gear isn’t very light weight/compressable backpacking gear. That said, you can get a lot in most 17’ canoes. I’ve done 2 weeks in a 16’ tamdem but only with 2 humans on board.

REI lists Bending Branches paddles as low as ~$80.

Thanks for the brief lesson guideboatguy. That was extremely helpful. New paddles are on the must have list. I did state the boat is 17’ long. The width I dropped the ball. I’m not sure. I will have to measure it when I get a chance. Two kids are 4 and 6, combined weight about 90 pounds. Third is 12, 110 pounds. I think volume will be more of an issue than weight as stated by rival51. Due the

ages of the little ones, the trip will be limited to a weekend. Medium to large tent. Small cooler. Small coleman grill. Probably scrap the chairs. And other items. Only enough to survive a weekend. Probably some fish poles.

So the canoe is 17’ long, 35" at the widest point, and if memory serves me, 10 or 11" from the top of the gunwale to the bottom of the boat on the outside. Maybe shorter in height. I can’t remember exactly.

Those specs are pretty common for a 17’ canoe. From the Northstar Canoe website, the Seliga is pretty similar in dimensions to your boat. They list the optimal load as 350 to 650 pounds, but with a draft of 5 inches, I’d be reluctant to load it to 650 while also being the primary power source, as will be the case for you when taking your kids, but with two full-size adults, that load would be more manageable. Hopefully your kids can at least provide some paddle power.

Here’s the rest of their data on load versus draft for the Seliga. How close this is to the load performance characteristics of your boat will also depend, more than anything else, on bottom shape and the nature of the taper in width between the middle portion and each end.

2” WL : 200 lbs
3” WL : 350 lbs
4” WL : 480 lbs
5” WL : 640 lbs