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Canoe Related Terms


Parts of a Canoe  
Hull The main body of the canoe which displaces and parts the water.  The displaced water provides the buoyant force
Gunwale Also called gunnels or rails, these are the upper edges that surround the upper part of the hull.  The gunwale often consists of 2 parts; the in wale which runs along the inside of the hull and the out wale which runs along the outer edge.  They supply support and rigidity to the hull.
Planking These are the wooden strips which run the length of the hull and give it form.
Ribs These are the narrow cross-members which follow the shape of the hull; hold its shape and give added rigidity to the bottom.
Cover The cover is the waterproof layer stretched over the, usually wooden, frame.  Fibreglass and aluminum boats do not require a cover.
Keel This is a narrow protrusion on the bottom of the hull, running the length of the canoe.  It helps prevent side slip and accepts most of the wear and abuse suffered by the bottom.
Bow The front end of the canoe when moving forward.  Normally the end with the greater distance between the first seat and the pointed end is considered to be the bow.
Stern The end of the boat opposite from the bow. (i.e. the back end)
Stem posts These are the narrow strips of wood, at the bow and stern, to which the ends of the planking are attached.  They provide strength and curvature to the ends of the canoe.
Decks  These are basically horizontal triangles of wood that sit between the gunwales at either end.  They provide had grips  for carrying the canoe and a place to attach a rope.
Seats These are wide cross members usually positioned just below the gunwales that paddlers can sit on or lean against.
Thwarts These are one or more cross-members positioned approx. at gunwale level.  They provide support to the gunwales and sides of the hull.
Stem bands / strips Usually brass or aluminum strips attached to and following the curvature of the stem posts.  They may extend the full length of the hull and they help prevent wear to the hull.
Floatation In fibreglass and aluminum canoes with no natural buoyancy, the ends usually contain a poured in place piece of foam to provided added buoyancy.
Floor  Racks These are strips of wood that form a protective covering on the inside of the bottom of the hull in some wooden canoes
Yoke This is a contoured form, designed to comfortably fit the shoulders, which supports the weight when carrying the canoe