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How to Tow a Canoe Behind a Boat? (Explained)

Canoeing is undoubtedly the most engaging and exciting activity for the sailor in you. Paddling on your own and enjoying the waters from such closeness is definitely a fun and thrilling rush.

But sometimes, things don’t go your way, and you have to settle for towing your canoe instead of paddling it yourself. In such a case, it is better to know the proper guideline and steps to be safe.

How to tow a canoe behind a boat?

Tie a long rope behind the bow that goes under the canoe and comes up the other side. You have to tie it to the same place as before. The rope should be long enough to come out of the water when the loop is pulled. The bow should be slightly raised when towing.

Sometimes our plans don’t go accordingly, and on our canoeing trip, we find an open river crossing. This is a big problem, and the options at hand are usually to either paddle through the water or use a floatplane, which is dangerous and expensive, respectively.

The best option in such a situation is to tow your canoe to a bigger boat and let it float along with you. If you can manage to get along with a powerboat, things will get much easier.

Most boat enthusiasts advise against towing a canoe because it seems much more of a hassle, and the chances of getting both the boat and canoe damaged are very high. Instead, you should put your canoe on the deck of a powerboat. This takes much space, but it is safer. But let’s face it, this option is almost never at hand.

There have been some instances where one boat had to tow many canoes at the same time for delivery purposes. With careful sailing and clear instructions, this obvious hard task was done with much smoothness and ease.

Canoeing is one of the most fun and exciting outdoor activities. The boat is small and smooth and with a paddling system. In case of emergencies, it can be easily moved from one place to another.

But this becomes fairly difficult when you have to cross a big water body. Though troublesome, it is possible to tow the canoe behind a boat.

Can you tow a canoe behind a boat?

Yes, you can tow a canoe behind a boat. Canoe is a small paddling boat used to row for sports or recreational purposes. Basically, this boat is not made for big waters. Sometimes there comes a need to cross a big river, and that’s where the trouble begins.

It is always recommended to tow onboard instead of towing behind the boat. It is much safer to tie the canoe to the top deck of the powerboat or the motorboat. 

You can row the canoe in the big water, but it is very risky. It is better to just tow it along with a bigger boat, such as a sailboat, motorboat, or even better, a powerboat.

How do you tow a canoe?

Towing a canoe sounds very difficult. But with the adequate materials and proper guidelines, the work becomes easier. You will only need a few things around you. They are pretty easy to find and are usually kept in any boat or travelers kit. They are-

  • A long rope
  • A weigh
  • Scissors
  • Towing bridle

Towing a canoe is not very hard if you are careful enough. Here are a few steps that might help you do this job easily and properly-

  • Step 1: Make a bridle or tie the long rope to the bow of the boat;
  • Step 2: Take the rope and put it under the canoe;
  • Step 3: Pull the rope up the other side of the canoe;
  • Step 4: Tie it the initial location;
  • Step 5: Put a weigh or a small carboy of water at the end of the rope;
  • Step 6: Secure the rope and test if the bow raises slightly as you tow.

And with this, you are ready to go. When the boat is sailing, do check on the canoe and see if the rope does not drown too much into the water.

What precaution should you take while towing a canoe?

Towing a canoe is a rather risky job as there are many things that could go wrong. It is wise to be careful than sorry, especially in this case as the damage that might occur will be huge.

The best recommendation is to use a powerboat and place the canoe on the deck. As that is not always possible, you should keep the following precautions in mind just in case.

  • You should maintain a safe distance from the towed canoe;
  • The length of the rope should be long;
  • Keep aware of other boats;
  • Make sure the canoe is light and easy to tow; any added weight can make it more difficult to tow and take turns;
  • Make sure to sail slowly in case of rough weather.

The water can be very unpredictable and dangerous. You should be completely prepared in case of any problems. Knowing what to do in such situations is very crucial. It is always best to be prepared and cautious before any boat trip or canoeing.

What is a safe towing recommendation?

It is always recommended not to tow a canoe to any kind of boat as it is very dangerous and risky. Instead of towing, one can simply place the canoe boat on the deck of any other boat, preferably a powerboat.

  • It is best to use a towing bridle;
  • The point of the pull should be at or beneath the waterline;
  • If you don’t have a towing bridle, use a long rope that goes through all the loops;
  • Tie the loop big enough to allow some free play for the canoe;
  • Position the knot under the stem;
  • Rig a harness around each boat;
  • Keep the speed of both the boats in check; the canoe is likely to go faster than the main boats, especially in the turns;
  • Snap on the spray cover is possible;
  • At least one person should watch the canoe throughout the towing;
  • This works best with smooth canoes as the waves don’t cause it to slither on the boat;
  • Keep scissors close by so you can cut the tie off in case the canoe starts to weigh down the boat in high tides. 

It is always best to be aware and safe when you are at sea. Many things can and regularly do go wrong. A little bit of knowledge and safety will go a long way.

Canoeing is a fun activity, so is sailing. But these two combined are definitely not something anyone would want. The risks are high, and the amount of trouble is not worth it. This is why you should be aware of the procedure and precautions of towing a canoe behind a boat.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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