Motor for Scanoe

I recently purchased a Scanoe from Coleman, which I understand is manufactured by Pelican. Now that we have the Scanoe, I’m interested in buying a small outboard for this boat and I have a few questions as follow:

1.) The maximum horsepower for this boat is 5HP. With a near capacity load, what HP would you recommend?

2.) I’m interested in the 5HP Briggs and Stratton 4500 I’ve seen online, but think the shaft might be too short for my Scanoe. The transom measurement is around 18 inches. I believe the Briggs and Stratton recommends 15 inch. Any thoughts?

Any additional recommendations/insights you could provide as I consider a motor purchase would be much appreciated. While we have canoed before, this is our first canoe purchase so some of this is new to us. Use of the Scanoe will be mostly in the lakes of the Adirondacks for overnight canoe camping trips with my family and for my son and I on outings with his Scout Troop.



Bless You
Wouldn’t 50 HP be more fun?

Y’all ain’t from 'round here, is ya?
No offense man, but we don’t do a lot of motors on pnet. The p is for paddling. With a paddle. That you move with your hands. No noise.

You might get a few people that know outboards enough to answer your question intelligently (I’m not one of them), but you might look for some other message boards with more experience.

Why not a trolling motor?
An electric trolling motor works well, doesn’t make noise, doesn’t burn gas. If you’re on lakes that don’t get a lot of motorized use, other users will thank you.

The B&S motor is noisy.
When selecting a motor, remember the motor is part of the capacity of the boat. That capacity includes you, passengers, gear, the boat itself, and the motor. A 5 hp should be fine, but you may want to look for a 2-5hp Nissan, Tohatsu, Honda, or Suzuki. Look for a used one if money is a problem. Those motors named are far superior to the B&S motor. More money, especially new, but worth every penny.

Aren’t the Honda engines
supposed to be the quitest and cleanest burning? Thought I saw that on a billboard somewhere. Said something about Honda having the “greenest” outboard motors.

4 cycles in general are cleaner burning.
But, the Honda isn’t necessarily the best boat motor, in spite of their advertising and fan club. Not a bad motor, but the other makes are also good. Its all a trade off. Price versus clean burning. Even the 2 cycles these days are much better.

15-InchTransom, Outboards

– Last Updated: Jan-01-08 1:28 AM EST –

If that transom really IS 18 inches, that's just one more example of how no thought goes into the design of the Pelican/Coleman family of canoes except for the purposeful design of making the boats capable of being stacked like soup bowls for shipping and warehousing. All boats made to accept small outboards have a 15-inch transom. I think the other standard is 20 inches, but that's generally found on larger boats than this.

Now, that transom may be closer to 15 inches than your original measurement showed. The way to measure it is to put a big carpenter's square flush with the bottom of the hull, with the other leg of the square in contact with the top edge of the transom (you measure the vertical height of the transom, not the distance along the slope). See what you get for a measurement that way.

The Briggs and Stratton outboard doesn't idle slowly like virtually any other brand will, but other than that they aren't bad. These engines are loud because they are air-cooled (water-cooled outboards vent the exhaust underwater), but you can substantially reduce the noise by installing a better muffler.

I'm not a fan of electric motors for anything but fishing, but for fishing, they are the best. You can probably travel at least 50 times farther with a gas engine than you can with an electric motor on a pound for pound basis, and there's no 6- to 8-hour downtime for re-charging. If you go electric, the battery alone will weigh at least as much as a 5-H.P. outboard, and a decent-sized electric motor weighs nearly the same, yet it won't go nearly as fast or as far. Go with a 3-H.P gas motor and the weight savings over an electric motor is enormous.

One other thing. Most states (maybe even all of them) follow the Coast Guard standard of requiring that the battery be both covered and securely tied down. If you just set it in the bottom of the boat, plan on getting a ticket someday. It's best to devise a means of securing the battery in a way that "looks effective" too (if it looks too much like a cobble job you might still get ticketed).

Niether Coleman nor Pelican give
transom height in the specs. So, your method is the best way to determine if a motor shaft will work.

The transom measurement I originally took was with the use of a carpenter’s square. I had it handy for the installation of a Harken Hoist, which I was glad got good reviews on this site.

As for the transom, it truly is 19 inches in the center. It’s a tri-keel canoe and if I move just to the left or right of the center keel it drops to 18 inches. I guess I’ll need to narrow my search to the 20 inch shaft motors. I plan to use the canoe about 50%+ without the motor and with it mainly when we plan longer trips with extra gear.

Also, thanks to all of you that offered serious responses. I thought I was in for a round of sarcastic, smartass feedback after the early one I received about “paddling”. The others have been very helpful and much appreciated by someone who is new to this site and the sport.

Thanks again and Happy New Year!

Dude, lighten up.
The suggestion was serious. Maybe made in a sarcastic way, but I was merely suggesting that you look for boards more specific to the question, as you might find more experienced help.

Get over yourself. Even the sarcastic first paragraph wasn’t far off from the truth. Come to a “paddling” website and ask about motors. Duh!

Motor on canoe
There are some issues not mentioned so far in the other posts. The weight of the motor hanging on the back of the canoe must be counter balanced with weight in the front for proper trim. With no weight in the front to keep it down the canoe will be very unstable and possibly dangerous. Five HP is not necessary to propel your canoe. You could use a smaller HP and still go faster than you could paddle. This smaller HP motor would weigh less so the need for weight in the front would be less. Most 4 stroke outboards weigh more than 2 strokes. Check with the mfg to be sure if they recommend short or long shaft. I just bought a 16 ft. Grumman square stern to use next summer because I am having back surgery and will not be able to “PADDLE”. I still want get out on the water. I will be using a 2.5 HP Mercury 2 stroke on it. Hope this helps. George

Green and clean they are, as far as IC engines go. But I have a 2hp 4-stroke on a Sea Pearl 21 and “quiet” is not a word I would ever use to describe it. Great sigh of relief when you shut it down.

Maybe I’m just spoiled by the quiet of paddling?

water cooled

– Last Updated: Jan-01-08 3:46 PM EST –

outboards are a lot quieter. the 2 horse honda is air cooled. Little Nissan/Tohatsu (same thing) probably best "bang for the buck." Agreed with the above, you don't need 5 horse. I'd go with a 4 horse Nissan/Tohatsu or a 3 horse Yamaha, liquid cooled.I've got a 6 horse Nissan on my Rigid Inflatable, and it's been very reliable for the past 5 seasons. It just dawned on me, prior to this motor I had a 3.5 Nissan 2 stroke for 8 years. They make a 2.5 and 3.5, both liquid cooled 2 strokes, integrated tank around a third of a gallon, fuel lasted hours, light weight too.Perfect for a scanoe.Pretty sure the 15" shaft is fine, as the shaft starts below the top of the transom.
Yak O' Steel, since when has this been a paddling site? It's a social site.

Transom height and shaft length
Actually, all short-shaft motors are made to work on a 15-inch transom. It has nothing to do with the “actual” shaft length of the motor. An old 9.9-H.P. Johnson or Evinrude from the 1970s has almost the whole engine below the top of the transom, and thus has a very short shaft, but it’s still made to fit a 15-inch transom. For proper fit, the anti-cavitation plate should be slightly lower in the water than the bottom of the hull. Using a transom that’s too tall for a particular motor, air will get under the anti-cavitation plate at anything resembling a faster speed and cause the prop to lose its grip on the water (with resulting over-reving of the engine).

36-48 foot pounds thrust
Electric is all you need

On my scanoe I keep up at the cabin I use a mincota.

I honestly believe a gas motor would be unsafe,you’ll be sitting on the rear seat,your ass will be on the left or right side as your twisting around to work the controlls.Balance???

If it’s not trimmed properly youll flip her over.

Heck I almost did it with the electric motor.

Just give yourself longer cables and mount the battery up under the front seat.

Good luck


A few answers about outboards

I use an electric motor on my canoe

– Last Updated: Jan-01-08 10:13 PM EST –

yakofsteel, I've been on a lot of fishing and boating sites. But this site has been by far the best source of information on how to properly power a canoe with a motor. I use an electric trolling motor on my double-end canoe. If I owned a scanoe I would probably buy a gas motor. The great thing about powering a canoe with a motor is you have the option to move fast and cover a lot of distance quickly to move to another fishing hole and paddle with your paddle when you want to sneak up on the fish.

I had a Scanoe several years ago

– Last Updated: Jan-02-08 8:55 AM EST –

I had a Mercury 3 Or 3.5(Can't remember which it was). Pushed the boat well, but vibrated badly. I had a friend who had a Johnson 4 on his and it was a lot smoother. The Merc was a 1 cylinder, the Johnson had 2 cylinders. So if you can find a motor that small with 2 cylinders, I would go with that one. As for a counter-balance for the front, I used a 8" cement block and it done a good job of holding the front down.

some experience
I don’t know the Adirondacks area at all, but at least here’s some personal experience with a Scanoe…

Maybe 25 years ago, my family had a Scanoe. I ran quite a few multi day Ozark float fishing trips in that thing, using a 28 lb thrust trolling motor. We also had a 3.2 hp outboard that I used from time to time.

The outboard was good for motoring upstream a few miles, then shutting down and floating back to fish along the way. It was not useful for anything other than covering distance - noisy, vibrated a lot, and was sort of awkward to pull-start on the water. Unless the technologies have changed, outboards under 7 hp or so are pretty crude beasts - sort of like a weed whacker or chainsaw with a prop on the end. Also, you had to be very careful not to turn too tightly while under power. I never flipped the boat, but I can see where someone could very easily do so. I definitely preferred using a jon boat over the Scanoe for this type of trip.

The trolling motor was great for quick maneuvering, especially when my bow partner would catch a ‘tree bass.’ It also was a real boon on long river trips, as the Scanoe was a horrible pig to paddle in the flats. One of those 80 lb marine batteries was good for a 4 day river trip, though on the last day the charge would be nearly gone. I would clip jumper cables onto the motor’s power cables and put the battery up near the front of the boat to keep things from being too stern heavy.

In retrospect, I think of the Scanoe as more of a bastardized jon boat than as a canoe - it pretty much needs some sort of motor. If you do spend any time paddling your Scanoe rather than motoring, don’t judge the overall fun or efficiency of paddling in general by that boat.