When you bring home a new boat, where do you put it? Leaving it on the soggy lawn to collect mold and earwigs isn’t any way to treat your pride and joy. Proper storage of your canoe not only makes better use of your yard or garage’s real estate—so you can bring home even more boats—it seriously prolongs the life of your canoe.
5 storage secrets to extend the life of your canoe
1 Keep your canoe off the ground
Most importantly, keep your canoe off the ground. In a pinch you can use rafters, sawhorses or a pair of wood blocks. If opting for ceiling storage, look for a cradle that uses wide webbing for support. Resist the temptation to hang your canoe by its front and rear decks, thwarts or carrying handles, which weren’t manufactured to endure this stress long-term.
2 Store it upside down in a dry place
The best way to store your canoe is upside down in a dry place. Distribute the weight of your boat over racks or a cradle evenly to prevent the hull from deforming over time. Plastic hulls are the most susceptible to this, but fiberglass and wooden boats can fall victim over the years.
3 Keep the material in mind
When storing in an unheated area, be aware Royalex has a faster rate of contraction in cold temperatures than wood, making wood-trimmed Royalex canoes susceptible to cracks where the trim is fastened to the hull. Extreme heat, from being stored next to a water heater or furnace, can also warp plastic and composite canoes.
4 Use outdoor racks the right way
If storing your canoe on an outdoor rack, tie the canoe to the rack and anchor the rack securely. While a quality rack is sure to be sturdy enough to weather a storm, a lightweight aramid canoe can easily become airborne on blustery days.
Be aware that sunlight is your enemy, degrading plastic hulls, browning Kevlar and fading paint colors. Use a cover or durable tarp for outdoor storage. If using a tarp, suspend it above the canoe to maintain airflow, so that moisture doesn’t rot wooden parts. Keep heavy snow off your canoe, which could crush the hull.
5 Keep it indoors if possible
The best way to protect your canoe against theft is to keep it indoors. However, if storing your boats outside, use a security strap with a locking buckle and reinforced with cut-proof stainless steel to secure it.
Canoe storage mayhem in the Canoeroots garage.| Feature photo: Kaydi Pyette