Canoe Motor and Motor Mount Buying Guide
A lightweight canoe motor lets you travel against stronger currents and carry more weight. It also comes in handy if you get tired of paddling. Regardless of your boat’s design, it is usually possible to use a canoe motor, sometimes with the aid of a special canoe motor mount.
A few canoes have a flat back which allows the owner to mount an outboard motor the same way it would be mounted on a regular motorboat. In this situation, no special canoe motor mount is needed. A small, low-horsepower electric or gasoline engine should be used.
Less than four horsepower is usually the right amount for canoes, with some variation depending upon the boat size and number of passengers. Old Town recommends using a three horsepower or smaller engine. However, certain Old Town canoe models can handle a maximum of five horsepower.
For most canoes, a special canoe motor mount is needed to use a motor. This device connects to a typical canoe and holds an outboard in place. Some are made of wood, others of aluminum, stainless steel, or a combination of these materials.
You can buy a motor mount from Cabela’s, Sports Authority, Amazon.com, or Olympia Sports, among others. Such mounts generally cost about $40 to $130 dollars. A lower cost option is to make your own outboard engine mount, if you’re good at that sort of thing.
For example, L.L.Bean sells canoe motor mounts for $49 dollars (as of February 2010). The mounts are made of stainless steel and wood. They can hold trolling motors, electric outboards, and gasoline-powered motors with four horsepower or less.
A somewhat more expensive type of mount is the “sidesaddle” motor mount. As its name suggests, it mounts to the side of the canoe, near the back. This makes it easier to control the engine when you’re looking toward the front of the boat, regardless of whether you’re left or right handed.
Another option is to buy a used mount or a canoe that already has such a mount installed. Both show up in newspaper classifieds and web sites like Craigslist occasionally. A few people sell used canoes with an appropriate outboard motor included as well.
Keep in mind that not every mount fits every boat, so it’s important to check that it is designed for your canoe’s measurements and material. Mounts from the brand that made your boat are more likely to fit, and the dealer may be able to assist you in choosing the correct model.
For most people, buying a small used outboard engine and a canoe motor mount is the best method for motorizing canoes. At the same time, making a mount from scratch or purchasing a boat that is ready to use a motor is preferable for others. Either way, it’s important to take the time to choose the right product.
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