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In the Market for a Canoe: The Essential Accessories You Need for Your Small Boat

In addition to being a great low-impact physical activity, canoeing is a great way to enjoy fishing, bird-watching, and sightseeing on picturesque waterways. If you are in the market for your very first canoe because you want a relatively inexpensive boat for fishing and other water activities, you will have to make sure that you also purchase the appropriate accessories in order to make your outings on the water safer and more enjoyable. If you need assistance figuring out the right accessories to purchase, the following guide can serve as your tutorial on what essentials you need for your canoe.

Proper Anchor System

When you are trying to reel in fish or maneuver your body to get a good view of wildlife, you need to make sure that your canoe is anchored properly, especially if you are in a waterway with a quick current or need to offset wind drift. Because canoes are lightweight water vessels, they tend to be more vulnerable to tipping and high winds than larger, heavier boats. Consequently, you need to invest in a small-boat anchor system for your canoe.

Boating suppliers sell anchor kits for small boats that include everything you need to keep your canoe stable. A full kit contains heavy-duty rope, rope floats, one or two folding anchor weights, and a storage bag. A high-quality kit will also include an instruction manual.

Some kits also have anchor trolley mounts that you can attach to the side of your canoe to help you slide the anchor into the water easily. You can also purchase the trolley kits separately. You can research companies like Stick It Anchor Pins to find an anchoring system you like. 

Life Jackets

Even if you are a good swimmer, you need to wear a U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)–approved life jacket when you go on a fishing expedition in your canoe. If you capsize into a strong current or lose your balance while fishing when your boat is anchored, your life jacket will be a saving grace. High-quality life jackets will have labels marking them as USCG approved.

If you plan on inviting a friend on a regular basis to canoe with you or like to bring your kids along, you should make sure you have life jackets for them as well. In addition, federal law requires that all children under 13 wear a life jacket when boating unless they are in an enclosed cabin area or below deck.

Your state may have additional laws on life jackets that affect children of all ages. If you plan to go canoeing in a state park, make sure you know the rules on life jackets before you take your trip.

When you go on canoeing trips, wear the life jacket the entire time. Do not think that you will have enough time to grab the safety vest when you realize you may be in trouble. Once you hit the water, it will be too late. Nearly 85 percent of drowning victims in boating fatality accidents were not wearing a life jacket.

Cushions and Seats

Standard canoe seats can be uncomfortable when you sit on them for several hours during a fishing trip. Once you set your anchor, you may have to wait a long time before you get any bites. Do yourself a favor and purchase seat add-ons like cushions and seat backs for a more comfortable trip.

You can also purchase heavy-duty seats that swivel so you can have a wider range of movement when trying to reel in fish.

One thing that you do not want to do is use your life jacket as a seat cushion, though this may seem like a harmless practice. This can ruin your life jacket as well as leave you unprotected if you capsize without the flotation device on your body.

Car and Hoist Accessories

Instead of relying on your rope-tying skills to secure your canoe to your vehicle, invest in a roof rack specifically made for canoes. With a roof rack, you will not have to worry about your canoe sliding off the car during your trips.

Canoe roof racks provide a snug fit and come with weather-resistant straps and mounts. They also have rubber or foam buckle parts that will not scratch or dent your boat.