Canoeing Sans Paddles. Yes, It Is Possible

electric canoe

Now that Spring is upon us, it’s time to get out the kayaks, canoes and row boats. As fun as paddling around a lake may be, after a long winter of sitting inside our arms are not up to that task. Well, [comsa42] has a solution to that problem. He’s made a quick-attaching trolling motor setup for his canoe and documented the process along the way.

[comsa42] started with a run of the mill canoe. Although he wanted a trolling motor option, he didn’t want to permanently modify the canoe. He started by making a wooden beam that spans the width of the canoe and overhangs on one side. The beam was notched out to securely fit over the lip of the canoe and a couple bolts and washers were used to clamp the beam to the canoe. This beam is just a few inches behind the rear seat so that the motor is at a comfortable position for the person steering.

The electric trolling motor is attached to this beam. To power the trolling motor, [comsa42] wired up two 12v deep cycle marine batteries in parallel. He installed them in a recycled wooden case to protect the batteries from the elements or occasional splash.

During testing the vessel reached a top speed of 6.5 kph. [comsa42] estimates that with the 2 batteries they could get about 15 km range on a single charge. If 6.5 kph is too slow for you, check out this gas engine powered canoe.

21 thoughts on “Canoeing Sans Paddles. Yes, It Is Possible

  1. This is not a hack… I have an(used to be foot controlled) 85 lb thrust trolling motor on the back of my canoe that’s controlled with a joystick from a electric wheel chair and i cut the shaft down to 18 in to make it canoe sized…

      1. Well, it isn’t a hack. That’s how you’re supposed to use them. Google for “canoe motor mount”.

        Although a better way is to clamp a piece of marine plywood overhanging at the back, so you can center the motor. It goes faster when you’re not pushing the boat at an angle.

    1. agreed this is not a hack I also have an motor adapter plate for my canoe. However people need to look into state laws at least here if you put a motor on your canoe electric or gas, guess what you have to register it and get numbers for it. Not worth the hassle for me anyway.

  2. I hate to be the troll here, but very little of this is needed.

    These motor mounts are designed for a small gas-powered outboard that has a (relatively) big power head for the engine and needs to be away from the hull or on a square stern in order to point straight. Electric motors can easily rotate 360 degrees and don’t have a power head (the motor’s underwater).

    You can just clamp electrics to the side of the hull with a couple of properly shaped spacer blocks (use a belt-sander to shape them) and rotate the handle into position (Old Town sells a “sidewinder” mount that still points forward but does this for you). If you’re worried about flexing the hull, you can brace it across, but clamped near one of the thwarts it’s usually not a problem. You can also mount these near the bow so that it pulls the boat rather than pushing it.

    1. If you clamp the motor directly to the side, you have to sink the motor below the boat so the propeller doesn’t slice the side, and that means you can’t use it in shallow water.

      I’ve been up and down rivers in a safety canoe, which has a flat bottom two-part fiberglass pontoon construction to prevent it from flipping over or sinking. There’s an inverted ridge running the middle for rigidity. That kind of boat swims in very shallow waters, so we put 100 Ah worth of SLA batteries inside the side pontoons and a motor at the back, and went fishing. It was handy driving around the shores because you could lift the motor all the way up until it just clips the surface and get around in 1-2 feet of water.

      For longer hauls across big lakes we had a suitcase generator running.

  3. Next up on hackaday: “Make a dim flashlight brighter by ‘hacking’ it and installing new batteries,” or possibly, “Homeowner ‘hacks’ washing machine by putting laundry detergent in the water to make clothes cleaner.”

    It must really be a slow news day when one has to resort to calling the intended use of things a ‘hack’. I really like the way that hackaday spaces out new posts over time; it means there’s almost always new content each time I drop by. But, sometimes, it might be better to just not post…

  4. I wouldn’t call this a hack either. 3 years ago, I outrigged an inflatable 1 person pontoon with a Minn Kota trolling motor. Mounted a tiller out of PVC to make it so I could control it from the front, hacked the motor to be controllable by an Arduino with a pot with safety cutout. Also, put sonar and side scan on it. If you do it, make sure the Minn Kota has digital maximizer for the best runtime.

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