I paddle frequently in places where a certified bear canister is required for backcountry camping (Grand Teton Nat. Park & Yellowstone). The certified canisters are required for backpackers in these parks, but paddlers do have other options. The campsites in Grand Teton have bear boxes, and the ones on Yellowstone Lake have bear poles to hang food. I’m not positive if all the campsites on Yellowstone Lake have the poles? At Grand Teton, you can get a free loaner bear canister when you pick up your backcountry permit. They have the medium sized Garcia type canisters.
So why did I get my canisters if I have other options you ask??? Well, at Yellowstone Lake, I much preferred having my food in the bear canisters over hanging all of it. I did hang my cook kit at night, but my food and toiletries were in my canisters. When you have a group of 5-6 people, all hanging their stuff over one very high bear pole, it gets kind of complicated. At Grand Teton, my group of 6 folks filled the bear box pretty darned fast. I could set my bear canisters on top of the box & allow some extra room in the box for others. Sometimes I paddle in areas where there is bear activity, but no specific requirements for a certified canister. Having my food in the canister gives me a little peace of mind. It keeps my food safe from other critters & keeps it crushproof. It also kind of forces me to pack my food more efficiently. Certified canister are definitely an investment, but one I thought was worth it. If you decide to get one, just make you it fits in your boat, through your hatches, and that you can actually open it without a major headache