How to Identify the Front and Back of a Canoe


Canoeing is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and spend a little time bonding with nature. Many people enjoy fishing in canoes, which maneuver in shallow water where boats containing motors cannot. Canoes terms are the same as for other small boats. The front of the canoe is called the "bow" and the back is referred to as the "stern". Many features on a canoe can help you to determine which end is which.

  • Observe the ends of the canoe. Look to see which end forms a narrow tip. The front or bow of the canoe is narrower than the back, as it cuts through the water as you paddle. The back still forms a point but is much wider to stabilize the canoe as it turns.

  • Notice the seating arrangements on the canoe. Observe which seats allow leg room in front of the seat. The back seat will be closer to the back of the canoe. The front seat is closer to the middle of the canoe to allow leg room for the front passenger.

  • Locate the drain holes on the bottom or hull of the canoe. The drain holes are located at the rear or stern of the canoe to drain out any water that enters the canoe.

  • Check to see if there is any text on the side of your canoe. The direction of the letters or brand of your canoe will help determine which way the canoe is supposed to face.

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