How to Maintain Canoes

Type: article
Parent page: All About Paddling a Canoe

Canoeing has been part of the Olympic Games since 1936. It is a sporting event in which competitors race, with the fastest paddler winning the game. Canoes are widely used for leisure activities, such as camping, touring, and white-water rafting. For a canoe to remain in a good working condition, it needs proper maintenance. Although canoes don’t require any mechanical maintenance, owners must follow a few simple steps, such as proper storage, cleaning, and other basic protocols. Highlighted below are a handful of tips for maintaining your paddling canoe.


The way a canoe is kept after use can affect its longevity. Therefore, canoe owners should do a little research to know how they can best store their vessels. For instance, canoes should always be hung upside-down by their gunwales.

Canoes should typically be stored in a garage, and if you want to keep them outside, you must ensure that they are protected from the sun. But be warned, using tarps to cover canoes may lead to damage, since tarps store plenty of heat and moisture. You can also apply UV-ray protectants to shield the plastic parts of your canoe from harmful sunlight. Boat and car waxes can also be used to keep your vessel in optimal condition.

Wood and Canvass Care

Wood can rot quickly, especially when it is poorly handled. The same applies to canvas, which can start to tear if not taken care of. One way to ensure that wooden canoes don’t suffer any damage is to not drag them through sand or mud. Mud grit tends to accelerate the rate at which a canoe’s wood finish will wear out.

Therefore, your canoe should be cleaned regularly to remove all mud and other dirty materials. Moreover, sealing scratches immediately will help to prevent further damage. Scratched areas can be smoothed with the application of sandpaper and varnish.