Party Canoe Lights Up The Water

Generally, any activity out on the water is more dangerous when done at night. Hazards are less visible, and it can be easy to get into trouble. [Xyla Foxlin]’s party canoe can’t help with that, but it does look the business after dark.

The canoe is made out of fiberglass, directly formed onto an existing canoe to make getting the shape right easy. It was formed in two halves, with special care taken to make the final result as clear as possible. Obviously, fiberglass is never going to be perfectly transparent, but [Xyla] does a great job of getting a nice translucent frosted look. The final effect means that it’s the perfect canoe to stuff full of addressable LEDs. A string of WS2812Bs, hooked up to an Arduino, make for an appealing lightshow when boating at night.

The diffusive nature of the fiberglass really makes the difference here. We’ve talked about the topic before – it’s the key to making your glowy project really pop. Video after the break.

26 thoughts on “Party Canoe Lights Up The Water

  1. Great job, looks fabulous on the water!
    I was interested in how she was planning to join the halves. Back in the 70s I helped build 14 fibreglass kayaks for our local Venturers group (Australian middle-senior scouts). We also stood the kayaks on their sides, and cut 8″ long strips of glass, soaked with resin, and used a variety of poles with flat plates and edges to position them internally.
    Afterwards we stood them on their ends to add flotation, we pushed chunks of broken-up styrofoam into each end, then poured some two-part polyurethane foam over them to hold them in place. Man that foaming stuff was expensive back then!

      1. It certainly beat the horror that was doing the job on the canoe I built in the 1980s.
        Though canoes were a lot longer and thinner then, with only one, rather smaller, hole.

    1. From Wikipedia: “In British English, the term “canoe” can also refer to a kayak,[2] while canoes are then called Canadian or open canoes to distinguish them from kayaks.”

      Also AFAIK canoe is often used as an overarching term for all kind of vessels in this category including kayaks.

      1. Even in American usage, there is also a lineage of “decked canoes” distinct from the Inuit origins of the kayak, though convergent evolution has blurred the line between them to nonexistence. People began adding partial decks to open canoes to improve their abilities in rough water and weather, progressing to fully decked-over boats with an oval cockpit but without the kayak’s facility for sealing that cockpit around the paddler and allowing the boat to be rolled over without flooding. These were a fashionable form of recreation in the 1800s.

        Later on, a growing number of paddlers developed interest in kayaks, but not so much in developing the skill to safely paddle a boat that cannot be easily exited in a capsize or in maintaining the physique to fit in the tiny cockpits. The market developed kayaks with larger cockpits in response, with the modern “recreational kayak” style being so large that they’ve effectively reinvented the old decked canoe.

          1. Yeah, I’ve always considered the ability to roll as the requirement for a kayak to really be a kayak. But the industry happily markets double-hulled things that are basically surfboards with a dent in the top as “kayaks,” so clearly nobody cares what I think about this.

    2. The boat itself isn’t necessarily definitive. Lots of people use “canoe” to generically describe either, and that varies by region. The paddle defines the activity. Two paddle-blades = kayaking. One paddle-blade = canoeing. You can kayak in a canoe and you can canoe in a kayak. Some sit-on-top fishing kayaks are wide enough that they are almost easier to canoe anyway.

      1. Xyla, the boat builder and user calls it a kayak, and uses a two bladed paddle. She even titled the youtube video “[…] Party Kayak” but OP can ignore that and say canoe? Why not drop the “confusion” completely and call it a party boat?…

  2. IIRC under small vessel regulations, human powered craft are allowed only to show a white light at night. Start showing reds and greens and you end up more likely to be run over because in poor visibility you might be taken for a powered craft moving away at an angle, or in a position that demands you yield right of way.

    1. COLREGs permit a “vessel under oars” (which presumably extends to paddles as well) or a sailboat under 7 meters in length to display either a sailboat’s red/green/white lights or a single white light, which may be handheld. But if they’re using red or green, then they have to be in the full, directional red/green/white pattern. I’m less sure of inland regulations.

      1. Yes the lights displayed are a questionable, however I saw it as more of a big blob of light which should make it easier to see at night, and yes if I was really out at night with this vessel I would carry a handheld white light with me.

        Rule 25(d)(i) says May display the same as a sailboat, but if she does not, shall have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent a collision.

        Inland and International are the same

        Boats are not allowed to exhibit lights they are not entitled to display, but if you see a large cruise ship they have so many white deck lights that seeing the navigation lights is all but impossible. In Europe many freighters have white pained aft sections that have many white lights on them so they can be seen for many miles to help prevent getting ran over by an overtaking vessel

        Small vessels this size are very tough to see at night, there is a program by the U.S. Coast Guard and others to put bright reflective material on the paddles to make it easier to see a small vessel.

    2. I’d say at least here in Florida there isn’t much enforcement of this. I see plenty of boats with RGB leds on the river and bay here. Is it legal, probably not. Seems to be very much unenforced though. You’d probably have to run across some officer that you pissed off in some other way or having a bad day it seems.

  3. Neat! But it does give me an idea, what about embedding flashing LEDs into the bottom of a regular kayak with an orientation sensor so if it flips over the LEDs start blinking, see one blinking for a minute you know you should do someting.

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