What kind of canoe did I just buy?

-- Last Updated: Apr-19-05 2:44 PM EST --

Okay - found what I thought was a great deal on a used canoe - ad in the paper read: "16 foot fiberglass canoe, good condition, Mad River (?) $425".

So, called, drove up to Lake George area, canoe looked to be in good shape - paid $400.00 cash (still think its a good deal - two minor scratches in the fiberglass is all I can see, plus a few exterior scratched - normal wear - all easily repairable.)

Now, I'm trying to figure out what kind of canoe it is (not that it MATTERS, but its driving me nuts). I've been doing Google searches on canoe manufacturers, but having trouble pinpointing what I've got (seems pretty old). I can see why he thought it might be a Mad River kinda looks like a few of their models, but I haven't seen older models online anywhere. Feels like it weights about 65-ish pounds: its 16 foot (possibly 15 1/2), tandem, yellow (looks like original paint) with mid-tone green interior (kind of mottled with white), aluminum on the gunwhales, aluminum and webbing seats, I'd say average rocker, not too wide, not too narrow..... and seems to have the remnants (or impression) of a sticker or label (hard to tell) on the outside left rear - looks like "Seminole" and some kind of feathery-paddle?? (although that might be a club sticker????) I don't even know where else to look for identification on the canoe....

Help out a curious soul, please.

(Still thinking I got a good deal, no matter what it turns out to be. Used canoe prices in Upstate NY aren't cheap. Not my dream canoe, but it'll get the job done)

I am no expert…
but I think it matters. What do you plan to use the boat for???

Canoe use
I’m not worried about THAT too much. We canoe camp - sometimes just the 2 of us, sometimes with my daughter (age 6), and when we bring his twins we usually bring (borrow) another canoe. We car top - no terribly long portages planned (so far) and if we do, we go really light and carry the canoe together. Mostly lakes - a few (slow) rivers. No whitewater (in that canoe). I think it’ll serve our purposes - but I have this need to know what kind of canoe. It’s the obsessive woman in me, I guess.

I wish I knw more about the boat, but I don’t. You mentioned you have a small child. Please read my recent trip report in “Paddelers discussion forum” entitled “IMPORTANT trip report.” Thought prevoking. I hope you get the info you need and have many happy (sunny) paddeling days ahead!

Your previous post
Wow - what a scare you had. I actually would never have attempted an unknown river so early in the season - especially with children.

I’m no newbie to canoe camping - just to this particular canoe, whatever make and model it is. Been canoeing and camping since I was 5, with my folks and family - so going on 31 years experience now. Safety is always first and foremost. CPR and First Aid training under both out belts. No cotton clothing. Life preservers for the kids ALWAYS. No exceptions, and I’d never take the kids anywhere I wasn’t completely familiar with first.

Just looking for some help on this particular canoe, thanks.

Oh good :slight_smile:

– Last Updated: Apr-19-05 3:27 PM EST –

Actually, we are very familiar to that river 4th time down. That is why I posted it so that people don't get into their "comfort zone." That river is like our backyrad, LOL. Good luck finding what you need:) Heather

Serial number …
Does it have a serial number?

Might be pressed into the fiberglass, in or outside of the canoe, near bow or stern, or it might be on a small metal plate attached to the canoe somewhere…


Indian river

– Last Updated: Apr-19-05 4:03 PM EST –

They hopefully did not mean Indian River, which is a lower quality chopper-gun fiberglass canoe. Frequently seen in upstate NY, as there was a Schenectday distributor. Fine for canoe camping, fishing, but not on par with Mad River quality.

Indian Rivers do have that molted green and whitish pattern on the interior.

The one downside to the Indian River lay-up is it is far heavier than a glass cloth boat. Can't comment on how it paddles.

Indian River

– Last Updated: Apr-19-05 7:47 PM EST –

Possible it might be an Indian River - did they make a Seminole model? Truth be told, my brother had an Indian River a couple of years back (newer than this one seems) and on lakes, that thing was a dream - tracked true, easy to manuever. Granted, not the LIGHTEST thing out there (neither is this, for sure) but like I said - not like either his India River OR this one is exactly a dream canoe - but the price seemed good.

I did, by the way, find a serial number (stamped on the outside stern of the aluminum gunwale - 5465)

Just found a website for Indian River canoes(http://indianrivercanoemfg.com) but nothing there looks similar (granted, this is probably an older model). Any other thoughts? Or anyone have a pic of an old Indian River. Cannot find "Seminole" nor the arrow logo online

The interior is very green, mottled.

Okay, so where do I go to find out more/older canoe models, etc??? (and thanks to everyone who has been replying)

You could look here
But I don’t think it’ll help.


I know I have some catalogues that list a Seminole Model but finding it is another matter entirely, especially if I don’t know which company built it.

My filing system sucks so locating items can be iffy at best.

One day I’ll actually have a BIG ROOM, which will eliminate the stacks of boxes or just give me more room to make the stacks even bigger!!


Wow, Jack - thanks for sharing
I didn’t see the canoe I bought in the pics, but just thoroughly enjoyed looking though all the old ads/specs, prices (!) and information. What a collection you’ve amassed!! That was really interesting!


It could be any of a zillion that was…
built by a small unknown canoe shop.

My first fiberglass canoe was a no name that was built in Florida.

I bought it new at of all places the F.

W. Woolworth Co which later became Woolco and then went out of businees. It was a 5 and 10 cent store. The canoe was a excellent one.

There are and have been small canoe makers all over the country.

New River Canoes in Virginia makes as good a fiberglass canoe as you can get, but they don’t advertise and stay on a small scale.



Indian River
How about calling Indian River and checking with them?

In the 70s …
a friend had a 15’ canoe we used to paddle. I think it might have been a Seminole Canoe (manufacturer, not model). It was made in FL and was heavy. I might have a picture somewhere, but it will take a while to locate.

Cool site
Nice collection Jack, well presented images.

What is the HIN?
HIN = Hull Identificatio Number. All boats (including canoes) HAVE to have them. The HIN is like the manufacturer’s serial number of your car. All commercially manufactured and imported canoes in this country have a HIN permanently affixed near the starboard (right) side of the stern (back), with a duplicate HIN affixed on an ‘unexposed location’ inside of the boat, to aid in identification of a stolen or damaged boat.

The HIN consists of a 3 letter manufacturer ID code, followed by a 5 digit serial number, and a 4 number/letter combination identifying the date of certification and manufacture.

Post the HIN and I can look up the manufacturer for you at the Coast Guard website. The HIN will also tell you when it was made. The model will be a bit more difficult to figure out but at least you’ll know the manufacturer (ie Med River, Bell, Wenonah, etc.)

That’d be great… (re: HIN number)
I’ve got to wait until this evening when I get home. I’ll look again - the only number I saw stamped (at first inspection) was 5465. No letters or anything. Guess I’ll have to look closer.

Sure do appreciate everyone’s help in solving my little mystery

The antique Postards
The paddlers PFD’s must be hiding under the big hats or disguised as a corsett.

Those folks just didn’t have any respect for water safety back then.



HIN Not Required…
on older boats from what I understand. I have a fiberglass down river kayak with no identifying marks anywhere outside or inside the boat.

The canoe in question may be very old.

16’ canoe
a 16’ canoe can safely handle two people…MAX!, that is if the hull is well designed…and the paddlers are aware of how to stay balanced, otherwise…you must really like the thrill of taking chances. Have fun…