How To Take Care For Your Wooden Canoe

One of the best parts about summer in cottage country is enjoying your first canoe ride on the water. Owning a canoe, especially a traditional wooden canoe, is a surefire way to create great memories with friends and family.

You can really feel yourself being transported back in time – paddling around in something that people have been using for thousands of years to trade, travel, fish, hunt, and live their lives. If you are fortunate enough to own a wooden canoe, there are some storage and care tips that you should keep in mind.

Cleaning the hull exterior

To clean the hull exterior of a wooden canoe, all you need is a mild soap and water mixture. When it comes time to give it some TLC, it is recommended to use a good vinyl protectant product, or a polish. They not only protect the paint and sealant, but they also bring out the colours of the boat better.

Cleaning the hull interior

Similar to the cleaning instructions for the hull exterior, the interior should also only be cleaned with a water and mild soap mixture. It is not a good idea to use the aforementioned vinyl protectant products on the interior because it might end up making the floor of the canoe slippery and dangerous. The interiors of high quality wood canoes have already been finished with a tough spar varnish, which you can touch up as needed over time.


If you have spent time in cottage country, you will have noticed that the people who take the best care of their wood canoes usually do so by hanging them. You can hang your canoe inside or outside. Hanging your canoe, rather than having it on the ground all winter and summer long, is going to provide it with the best protection.

Self-storage units

The very best thing that you can do to extend the life of your wood canoe is to place it in a self-storage unit over the winter. When your canoe is not on the water, and you are not around to ensure it is well maintained, climate controlled self-storage is ideal. If you leave a wood canoe sitting out in the elements, even in a boathouse or shed that is not well insulated all winter long, the canoe will deteriorate over time.

A wood canoe is special, which is why it requires special care. If you are serious about protecting your wood canoe, and getting the most out of your investment, keep the above upkeep and storage tips in mind so that you and your family can enjoy it for many summers to come.