Canoeing Glossary of Terms:

Tandem Canoe

Canoe Terms

Beam. The width of the boat at the widest point. This may be at the sheerline or waterline.

Bow. The front of the boat.

Freeboard. The portion of the hull between gunwales and waterline.

Gunwales. The upper edge of the hull surrounding the passenger area of the canoe.

Keel. The bottom centerline of the boat.

LOA. Length over all. Total length of the boat.

LWL. Length at waterline. Length of the boat IN the water.

Overhang. Describes the section of the bow and/or stern that extends over the water past the waterline.

Stem. The section of the bow coming up from the keel to the very front of the boat.

Stern. The back end of the boat.

Tandem Canoe. A canoe designed for 2 paddlers.

Thwart. A seat across the boat or member spreading the gunwales.

Canoeing  Terms

Chine. The curve in the hull where it changes from the bottom to side. If rounded it is considered Soft. If angular it is Hard. There may be multiple chines.

Other Terms:

Brace. A paddling technique used to prevent the boat from heeling over.

Deck Cover. Fabric or other material stretched over the deck to prevent water from entering.

Displacement. The amount of water equal in weight to the boat, paddler and equipment.

Draft or Draught. How deep the boat protrudes below the waterline.

Float Bag. Inflatable bags that are placed at the stern and bow to increase the floatation of the canoe.

Hull Speed. Theoretical limit of speed a hull may achieve based on waterline length.

Painter. Ropes attached to bow and stern.

Prismatic coefficient. The displacement of the boat divided by the displacement of an imaginary hull the same shape as the widest part of the real hull and the full length of the imaginary hull.

Righting moment. The opposite force to “heeling moment”. This force attempts to keep the boat upright.

Rocker. Like the rocker of a rocking chair, this shape of a hull allows the canoe to maneuver more easily.

Skin. The surface of the boat.

Solo Canoe. A canoe designed for a single paddler.

Spray skirt. A fabric or neoprene skirt closing off the area between the hull and paddler preventing water entry into the cockpit.

Stability. The tendency for the boat to stay upright. If the “righting moment” is greater than the “heeling moment”, the boat will return to the upright position.

Tipping or Heeling. A force, either unintentional or intentional, tipping the boat over to one side. Also described as “heeling moment”.

Tracking. The ability to go straight.

Wetted-surface area. The area of the hull surface below the waterline.

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