Canoe 101

What is a canoe? (

n. a light narrow boat with both ends sharp that is usually propelled by paddling. (

  1. any of various slender, open boats, tapering to a point at both ends, propelled by paddles or sometimes sails and traditionally formed of light framework covered with bark, skins, or canvas, or formed from a dug-out or burned-out log or logs, and now usually made of aluminum, fiberglass, etc.
  2. any of various small, primitive light boats.

What makes up a canoe?

  • Gunwale: top edge extending around the canoe from bow to stern
  • Beam: point of greatest width
  • Bow: front of the canoe
  • Deck: wood pieces fitted between gunwales at the extreme canoe ends
  • Freeboard: portion of the hull between gunwales and waterline
  • Hull: body of canoe
  • Keel: outer strip on bottom of canoe in the center, extending from bow to stern
  • Painter: rope attached to bow and stern
  • Planking: flat sections of wood forming the hull, fitted lengthwise
  • Ribs: curved pieces of wood on planking, running crosswise
  • Thwart: crosswise supports between gunwales which help canoe maintain shape