Pelican Canoe - Sagging Bottom


I recently picked up a used pelican canoe that i plan to use for some recreational paddling at a local lake. The bottom of the canoe is sagging, looks like it might have been store on a rack for a long time and the bars pushed up the keel at the two points where contact was made.

My question is

  • Is there anyway to repair this / straighten it out
  • What is the correct way to store such a canoe so that it does not get any worse![
    Thanks for your help,

Upside down with the gunwales on the supports and there should be three of them. This is a very common problem with Pelican canoes.

If the hogs( dents) are under the seats you might be able to decrease them by adding support under the seat like a piece of wood between bottom and seat. Is there an interior pipe along the keel line?

A hogged canoe is bad news.

Hi Kayamedic, no there is no pipe running along the keel line. I took the canoe apart yesterday to clean it and see what the options are to fix it. The sagging is occurring where the rear and front seats are, and also most likely where the canoe would have been stored on a rack. It is fine in the center. The center seat already has a pedestal down to the bottom of the canoe but this is missing for front and rear seats. My guess is that these seats should also have had this pedestal but it was never installed. I can see this on pictures of the same model i found online. Im hopeful that i can source 2 pedestals to go under the seats and this might push th sag out of the keel and straighten it out. Might need some help from a heat gun / sun.


This is an example of a canoe hull that is made from a sheet of solid, thermoformed polyethylene. The actual solid PE sheet is relatively thin to keep weight acceptable but because it is thin it has little rigidity. A relatively thin sheet of PE is too flexible for a canoe hull so in order to keep the bottom of the hull from buckling up into the interior of the hull and to provide a marginal degree of rigidity some type of endoskeleton is required.

The original Coleman Ram-X canoe had an tubular metal keelson extending down the center of the canoe hull bottom on the interior with tubular metal risers extending from the keelson up to the thwarts and seat frame. Nowadays this type of canoe more commonly has a polymer keelson of some type and uses molded seats with “footers” that extend down to the keelson and hull bottom, as well as some type of pretty useless center console with a footer that serves little other purpose than to support the hull bottom and add weight.

The fact that the seats do not have the footers tells you that someone has messed with this boat in a nefarious manner. The same person(s) probably also removed the keelson. If you can find replacement seats you can probably fashion a replacement keelson out of small diameter PVC pipe or something similar. Unless you can do this the canoe will be pretty useless.

I really don’t anticipate you will have any trouble pushing the actual hull bottom back down. That stuff is pretty flexible but if you do hot water or judicial use of a heat gun will probably help.