All anglers want reliable transport as they’re going on their fishing trips, especially if they’ve got a canoe. Canoes are usually heavier and bulkier than kayaks. However, their wide frame can support motors more efficiently.
So, is it possible to install a motor on your canoe? The answer is yes. But—more specifically, can you fit a canoe with an outboard motor?
If you know anything about boating, you know there are multiple types of canoe motors to choose from: trolling, battery-powered, or outboard.
Outboard motors for canoes are certainly more popular. So, the short answer to ‘can you fit a canoe with an outboard’ is yes.
In this article, we’ll learn more about outboard motors on canoes, including how to fit them and what things to consider in the process.
What Is an Outboard Motor?
Firstly, let’s define the term: what is an outboard motor? Well, unlike trolling motors, outboard motors are slightly bulky and noisy.
You’ve probably seen them on larger boats such as powerboats and even yachts.
For canoes, you can get outboard motors as either two-stroke or four-stroke. Here, ‘stroke’ refers to the number of revolutions the engine piston makes to complete a power cycle.
With two-stroke engines, it takes two revolutions. However, this doesn’t mean two-stroke engines are more efficient than four-stroke ones.
Although two-stroke outboard motors provide excellent acceleration, four-stroke motors give you the better horsepower and fuel efficiency.
However, choosing between the two depends on what you need.
Two-stroke motors are usually more affordable, lighter weight, and quieter than four-stroke motors. Alternatively, four-stroke motors are more powerful and have better mileage and battery life.
Can You Fit a Canoe With an Outboard?
Again, the short answer to this question is yes. However, there are a few things for you to consider.
Find out the following measurements:
- Canoe length
- Canoe weight*
- Width from the bow of the canoe to the water
- Stern length
Be mindful: canoe weight includes the weight you’ll carry. This number excludes the motor weight. Typically, you can find this number in your owner’s manual.
Generally, though, canoes weigh between 50 and 75 pounds, depending on the construction material. Two-person aluminum canoes weigh between 60 and 70 pounds. Fiberglass and polyethylene canoes are more lightweight, weighing between 50 and 55 pounds.
On average, the bulkier it is, the larger the canoe’s weight capacity. Canoes weighing between 50 and 75 pounds typically have weight capacities between 400 and 600 pounds.
This number might seem like a lot, but even if you’re going alone, your weight and your equipment will take a large chunk of this capacity.
Outboard motors usually weigh between 30 to 100 pounds. This range is pretty extensive, so you must purchase your engine according to your boat’s weight capacity.
Also, consider the canoe length, stern length, and bow width. You’ll need this information when you fit an outboard on a canoe because it tells you where you’re going to install the motor.
Let’s learn more about the ‘how’ in the next section.
How to Fit a Canoe With an Outboard?
Once you’ve considered all the factors and found the right outboard, how do you fit it onto your canoe? The process is pretty straightforward. You just need to follow a few steps.
Firstly, have you collected the information as mentioned earlier? If yes, take your measurements and determine how you can install your motor.
According to the measurements, determine where you’re going to keep your equipment. (It should be as far away from the motor as possible.)
However, regardless of measurements, the canoe shape is also essential as it determines weight distribution.
Usually, canoes are either pointed at both ends or have flatbacks (pointed at one end and flat at the back).
Now, according to the information you’ve collected, you can mount your outboard motor:
- Facing the bow
- Facing the stern
- At the squareback
Once you’ve decided where to install the outboard motor, you can follow these steps:
- Put the installation bracket on the motor’s anti-cavitation plate. You can find the anti-cavitation plate on top of the outboard motor’s propeller. It’ll be circular and inserted horizontally.
- Secondly, you have to create a guide, using which you’ll punch holes. So, use the bracket to mark holes on the anti-cavitation plate.
- Get a sharp power drill ready. Make sure the ends aren’t blunt, as piercing metal plates requires something robust and razor-sharp.
- Be sure to put on safety equipment. If you’re an amateur with a power drill, it’s better to consult someone with more experience.
- Now, punch holes onto the anti-cavitation plate.
- Afterward, place the bracket back onto the anti-cavitation plate.
- Insert the mounting bolts into the bracket’s holes and tighten them up. (However, it’s essential to check whether the motor is stable or not.)
- Using a ruler, check whether the anti-cavitation plate is at least 12 inches underwater.
- Do a safety line test from a secure point in the canoe.
- Take the canoe for a test drive. However, make sure you don’t do it in deep waters. Also, remember to keep a paddle on hand in case the motor isn’t properly mounted. In such cases, you’ll have to turn off the outboard motor and paddle back to land.
Benefits of Using an Outboard Motor
Why are outboard motors good choices for canoes? As mentioned, they’re bulkier and noisier than other motors. So, why should you invest in outboard motors?
Well, there are three main perks to fitting your canoe with an outboard motor:
Today, you can find outboard engines with all sorts of acceleration speeds and horsepower (HP) ratings. Although they’re not as powerful as inboard engines, outboard engines can go up to 300 HP.
However, this rating depends on the engine’s size. For an average-sized outboard motor, you can expect 65 HP ratings. For a canoe, these ratings are ideal for optimal acceleration.
Therefore, with the right outboard motors, you can maximize your engine strength without overpowering the boat.
Better Steering Control
Unlike inboard motors, outboard motors give you more control over steering. Typically, outboard motors are more user-friendly than inboard motors.
If you’re a beginner, you’ll find outboard motors easier to work. However, there is a learning curve, especially if you’re driving the motor and fishing at the same time.
Be mindful, though; you shouldn’t multitask until you have a firm grasp over the boat’s steering. This grasp doesn’t come until you practice.
All in all, depending on the type of controls, you can divert your canoe more fluidly with outboard motors. You can think of outboard motors as less taxing versions of paddles and less complicated versions of inboard motors.
Straightforward Repairs and Maintenance
Since an outboard motor is portable, it’s far easier to perform repairs and maintenance. You simply have to de-mount it and fix any issues.
For example, if there’s a crack in the fuel line, you’re almost immediately aware of the issue. Since outboard motors are fixed on the boat’s side, you can smell fuel leakages. Moreover, cracks are easy to check since all the parts are visible.
Outboard motors also have a more straightforward winterizing process. After routine maintenance, you can de-mount the motor and keep it in storage. This helps protect it from weather-related damage.
How to Choose the Right Motor for Canoes?
As a rule of thumb, what sort of features should you look for when selecting motors for canoes? After going through this article, you might be aware of some essential features.
However, let’s break it down further. After all, motors are a significant investment. They cost a pretty penny and require constant maintenance.
If you’re in the market for a new motor for your canoe, here are the features you should consider:
Gas-powered vs. Electric Motors
Outboard motors are either gas-powered or electric. Both types have their pros and cons, and picking between them depends on your priorities.
In terms of performance, both gas and electric are pretty much equal. They both deliver high speeds and excellent acceleration quality.
Also, both are pretty reliable, depending on the brand. Unless the motor is incredibly old or unmaintained, gas-powered motors are typically fuel-efficient.
Similarly, electric motor designs maximize battery life by enhancing amperage. The higher the amperage, the longer the battery life.
However, electric motors are quieter than gas-powered ones. They require less maintenance, as well. Moreover, with electric motors, you don’t have to worry about toxic fumes.
But—gas-powered motors are more durable and less expensive. If you’re on a budget, you can try gas-powered motors.
As mentioned above, weight is highly essential. Your outboard motor shouldn’t exceed the weight capacity of your boat.
Again, outboard motors typically weigh between 30 and 100 pounds. You can find out how much a motor weighs by looking at the product description.
Since weight is an essential feature, all products will clearly outline the motor’s weight. However, to reiterate, this information is useless if you don’t know your canoe’s weight capacity.
Types of Controls
Now, outboard motors, whether they are gas-powered or electric, have two main types of controls. Firstly, you can buy motors with hand controls. Hand-controlled motors are like steering wheels. You can sway the boat by turning the wheels.
Hand-controlled motors require practice. Although it’s similar to driving a car, it takes time to familiarize yourself with ‘driving’ on the water than on the road.
Secondly, you can get foot-controlled motors. These allow you to steer the boat handlessly. Consequently, you can easily fish as you move the boat.
However, foot-controlled motors take up space, especially in a relatively narrow boat like a canoe or kayak. Therefore, you can’t bring more than two people on the boat.
In this sense, foot-controlled motors are perfect for solo fishing trips.
In sum, fitting a canoe with an outboard isn’t a complicated task. It merely requires some preparation.
With this article, you’ve learned more about fitting canoes with outboards. Remember to consider all factors before selecting an outboard motor for your canoe.
The most important thing to remember is the weight. If you don’t measure weight capacity and distribution correctly, you can install an outboard incorrectly.
That’s highly dangerous, so always double-check your measurements and conduct safety tests.
With that, we hope we’ve sufficiently answered the question, ‘can you fit a canoe with an outboard.