How to Choose a Canoe?

Sea canoesThose that are commonly called sea ​​canoes should actually be called sea kayaks , because they derive from the kayaks of the Inuit people (esquimesi) and owe their present characteristics to that primordial but ingenious model.

However, in the current jargon, we refer to them indifferently with the term canoe or sea kayak, so we will also use both terms on this page.

Characteristics of the sea canoe

The sea kayak is ideal in open waters such as those of the sea or the lake, in which the great difficulty is represented by the true wind that blows constantly and that creates ripples on the surface (waves). To withstand the force of the wind and not lose the course continuously, the sea kayak must have a pronounced keel line, which makes it possible for the canoe to whip the wind and proceed undisturbed on the sea waters. To avoid easy tipping, the fore and aft thrusts must be rather accentuated.

Another feature is speed,because unlike canoes for streams and rivers, which follow the current and must be especially manageable, sea canoes are used for navigation and must therefore be fast. To this we owe the particularly tapered form of the sea kayak, which has a considerable length compared to other canoes.

And it is always due to navigation requirements that sea kayaks have ponds, or small holds in which to keep personal items and supplies for crossing (water and food) safe.

Regarding the measurements of the sea canoe , the first models had an average length of 5 meters and often even reached 5 meters and a half. The width was and still is between 50 and 60 centimeters today.

Today the builders have managed to manufacture sea canoes only 4 meters long that have characteristics of stability and speed similar to those of traditional sea canoes. These “short” sea canoes are more manageable and easy to transport, clean or store in a garage.

A good parameter to evaluate the speed of a sea canoe is the ratio between length and width : the higher the ratio, the greater the speed. be careful though: if the canoe is too long and fast it can become even less stable. In that case it may not be suitable for beginners or novice canoeists!

Construction materials of the sea canoe

Construction materials of the sea canoeThe kayak was the typical Greenland boat and was used by the Inuit people to hunt in the inhospitable waters of their frozen seas. The original boats were made with a wooden frame and a seal skin covered in grease.

The first modern versions of the marine canoe had a metal frame covered with a waterproof canvas.

Today the sea canoe is used only for leisure and sport, and is built with ultra-strong and light modern materials: fiberglass, polyethylene, diolene and carbon fiber. These materials make the canoe light, easy to handle and resistant.

Beach canoe accessories

In addition to the classic accessories of those who are dedicated to rowing (see the canoe accessories page on this site), sea kayaking requires some optional options that are not as optional, because they are essential for the safety of sailing at sea:

safety lines: these are the ropes that run along the edges of the canoe and are used to hold on to the boat in the event of a rollover

compass: since the sea kayak can also be used for long crossings, it is good to be able to orient yourself with a compass

reserve paddle: having an additional oar can be very useful, especially if you move away from the coast and go towards the open sea

bilge pump: useful to remove the water that is loaded in case of rough sea

Rigid or inflatable sea canoes

Rigid or inflatable sea canoesAs will be clear by now, classic sea canoes are rigid. However, there are also inflatable canoes on the market , less fast and more inconvenient to maintain, but much easier to transport.

Inflatable sea canoes can in fact get on airplanes, enter the trunk of a car and be stored indoors in a normal storage room.

For sure the kayak professionals will continue to use the rigid canoe from the sea, but for all those who want to bring the sea kayak on vacation and who have no space for storage, the inflatable marine canoe can be a good compromise.

To choose the right canoe for the sea you can consult our guide to buying a canoeor ask the specialist dealers.


What are sea canoes characterized by?

You may take any sort of canoe to the sea but a classic sea canoe will look after your needs in the best way. Any sea canoe will fit the needs of anybody but there are options that you can take resort to. The classic sea canoe has a long and narrow hull that is fully covered by a deck. No, that doesn’t mean that the kayak will sit inside the cockpit as it is sealed by spray deck. Sit-on-top canoes are extremely famous in warmer climates and summer weather.

Can you swim in an inflatable canoe at sea?

In spite of what most people think, inflatable canoes and kayaks are pretty safe and durable. They are built in such a manner that they can withstand the rough waves and weather at the sea, thanks to the modern manufacturing process and the materials used. You can even take them on lakes, rivers and to the sea without the fear of drowning. Hence, you may swim with an inflatable canoe.

What to consider when choosing a sea canoe?

When you purchase a canoe for paddling in the sea, there are few considerations to make. How far are you going to paddle on your canoe? What is your level of skill and what are your goals? Also take into account the length of the canoe and the material with which it is made so that you may know whether or not it can withstand rough waves on the ocean.