With a few simple steps, a canoe can be outfitted with a motor to explore shallow backwaters or troll for fish in hard-to-get-to spots.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Small outboard motor with mounting brackets or clamps
- Transom mount (depending on canoe design)
- Tiller extension (depending on outboard motor design and fit with transom mount)
Use a transom mount for attaching an engine to your canoe if it has a pointed stern (rear). A canoe transom mount provides a mounting surface that allows you to either attach a motor to the canoe's stern or to its side.
Attach the horizontal beam of your canoe transom motor mount to the gunwales of your canoe by tightening the clamps or wingnut-like bolts on the beam. The gunwale is the upper edge of the side of the canoe and is composed of rubber, plastic, metal, or cedar.
Attach your outboard motor to the canoe transom motor mount by tightening the clamps or wingnut-like bolts used for securing the engine.
Shake the horizontal beam of your transom mount as well as your motor. If you notice movement beyond a simple flexing of the horizontal transom mount beam, tighten your hardware further.
Attach an outboard motor to the canoe's stern or mounting plate by tightening the motor's mounting hardware if your canoe has a flat stern.
Canoes with a flat stern (known as a "square stern" design) are capable of accepting a small outboard motor with no modifications. Rather than requiring a canoe transom mount, square stern canoes use either a wooden or metal stern or a reinforced plate attached to the stern for mounting a motor.
Take your canoe for a test drive.
Tighten your motor's mounting hardware if it vibrates or rattles excessively.
Tips and warnings
- Always consult the instructions that come with your mount because the installation procedures are unique for each transom mount design.
- You can make your own canoe transom mount if you are ambitious and have basic carpentry skills. A simple Internet search using "canoe transom mount plans" can lead you to free and fairly straightforward plans.
- Compared with other designs, a canoe with a flat bottom will provide the most stability. This is especially important for canoes using outboard motors and canoes used for fishing.
- Check with the manufacturer or seller of your canoe for motor size recommendations. Typically, canoes should not be paired with outboard motors larger than five horsepower.
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