Tipping over my S-canoe!

-- Last Updated: Apr-25-08 5:11 AM EST --

I just bought a 17 foot Old Town square back canoe and will be using it with a 55lb trolling motor. As I weigh 250 lbs, I mounted the 2 batteries in the very tip/front of the canoe for balance. Additionally, I made a small deck in front for my dog to sit on. It bolts on and acts as a lid to keep the batteries from falling out, if I should ever flip the thing.

What I want to know is, how much will the batteries pull the canoe down and will I be able to right it and bail it out relatively easily WHEN that day occurs? What is the best fastest way to bail out?

Thanks all,



– Last Updated: Apr-25-08 6:49 AM EST –

Well, water weighs approximately 8 pounds per gallon. Add up the weight of all the heavy stuff you're putting in the canoe, divide by 8, and that's the minimum number of gallons of flotation you need to add to make it float at the same level as an empty canoe when swamped.

The problem with adding the batteries to the bow is that it'll tend to ride nose-down if it swamps, making it more difficult to empty. Try to add the extra flotation where the extra weight is.

That boat will sink like a rock!
If that’s a plastic or Royalex canoe, the amount of floatation already “built in” isn’t much greater than that needed to keep the boat at the surface when swamped. Throw in a 50-pound motor and two batteries (what’s the total weight of those two batteries? Anywhere from 80 to 140 pounds would be within the realm of “average”) and it’s not hard to guess what will happen if the boat gets swamped.

Angstrom told you how to calculate the volume of floation you will need to avoid the nickname “Submarine Captain” if the unthinkable happens. Imagine 4 or 5 five-gallon pails strapped inside your boat, and you get an idea how much volume your floatation gear might require. Of course, there are better methods to use than sealed 5-gallon buckets - that just provides a “visual” :wink:

Plenty of people get by with using batteries and an electric motor with no floatation and never have a problem, but at least you know what COULD happen.

one battery is all you need
I have been pushing around canoes with batteries for many years. A great deep cycle marine battery will last me 6 to 12 hours depending on speed. That is hours of run time. Since I find I do not run the motor continuously, that is more that enough to get me through a busy day. My recommendation, only take one battery. After all, you CAN always paddle if required. That will help reduce your extra weight and expense.

As for strapping it in, I vote against that. If you flip it, even one battery will overpower any floation built into your boat. If the battery sinks, that is $80. Loose your boat $800.

I would leave the battery loose and add enough floatation to compenstate for the little electric motor. Motor = $400 new, $50 at garage sales. That should only weight about 20 lbs with the mount. Keep the additional floatation near the motor as suggested above.

paddle vs. battery
I used to fly fish out of my solo canoe using a very short apddle attached to my wrist with a lanyard. I could use both hands without much interference and atill could retrieve the paddle when needed. I really learned a lot about sculling but eventually got around just great and without all the hassle and weight of batteries. How about learning to paddle?

trolling motor
I’m in the same boat…no pun. Just bought an Old Town Predator 133 double end canoe and I plan on using just one compact marine batttery up front and my Endura 46 TM mounting towards the back on a side mount. As far as weight control, someone suggested buying a 40 liter vinyl/waterproof gear bag and adding water to it instead of buckets. Much easier to nest in the front area and can easily be sealed.