Can You Canoe in the Ocean ?

Canoes were initially used as a means of transport, and in ancient times, people used them to transport food and to get from one place to another. Today, canoeing is a popular recreational activity, and there are different types of canoes or hull designs available depending on your specific needs.


You can canoe in the ocean. While canoes are most commonly used in inland water bodies, this is entirely possible. There are several types of canoes that are best suited to specific environments, and the best canoe for the sea is an outrigger with a shallow-v bottom.


If canoeing in the ocean is something you would like to try, it is best to stay close to the shore and only canoe on a day when there is no wind. Keep reading to learn more about canoeing in the ocean.

The Hull Allows You To Canoe In the Ocean

The hull is at the bottom of the canoe, which is the part that touches the water.


It comes in various shapes, and each form serves a specific purpose. Each hull is designed for different water environments. Depending on the form, it can track better, maneuver more effectively or offer increased stability.

Types of Canoes That Can Go in the Ocean

While a shallow-v outrigger canoe is the best type to take out into the ocean, there are also others that fair well. If you plan to canoe in the sea, you might want to consider a canoe with a shallow arch bottom or a canoe with flared sides.


Here are some of the canoe types that can go in the ocean:


  • Outrigger
  • Shallow-V bottom
  • Shallow Arch bottom
  • Flared Sides


Let’s now take a look at each of these types in closer detail.


Simply put, an outrigger canoe is a canoe that has lateral support floats attached to the sides of the hull. These support floats are called outriggers and are usually made out of materials that are inflatable or plastic.


The benefits of the outrigger are that it provides increased balance and stability, which is especially helpful in rough, open waters or when paddlers are paddling fast.

Shallow-V Bottom

Shallow-V bottom canoes have a centerline or keel that is a bit larger. It is ideal for taking into the ocean because it performs superbly in rough water. The way the hull is designed allows the canoe to cut through the water, and it is able to deflect waves.


Since the canoe sits deeper in the water than other types, it offers more stability. It also tracks well, which can be challenging to control in windy weather conditions.


The cross-section of the hull of a Shallow-v bottom is the most versatile of all the canoe types.

Shallow Arch Bottom

A shallow arch bottom canoe has a shape that is somewhere between a canoe with a flat bottom and a round bottom that allows paddlers to maintain balance quite easily. This type of canoe is typically stable and easy to steer, making them a suitable option for taking into the ocean.

Flared Sides

A canoe that has flared sides does a great job of keeping water out of the boat. It also provides stability and deflects waves. Another benefit is that the flared sides prevent the canoe from tipping over.


This makes it a good option if you want to canoe in the ocean, as it will keep you safe inside the boat.

Optimal Weather Conditions

Even if you have the best canoe suitable for the ocean, it is still important to remember that your canoe is a small open boat in a massive, often unpredictable ocean, which leaves you in a vulnerable position.


If you are planning on canoeing in the ocean, be sure that you go on a day that is not windy or rainy. You’ll want to learn how to read weather conditions so that if you are out on the ocean, you can estimate when the weather is about to turn.


Also, be sure that there is little to no fog so that your visibility is clear, and look up the times of local currents and tides as this will help you prepare.


If you decide that it is indeed safe to venture out into the ocean with your canoe, staying close to the shore is advisable. This way, you can make it back to the shore if the weather turns, and it will be easier to signal for help if need be.

Safety Equipment

After you have decided on the right canoe to take into the water and pinpointed a day when the weather is clear, you need to gather the proper safety equipment. A life jacket or personal floatation device (PFD) is a non-negotiable for everyone who plans to get onto a boat regardless of their level of expertise as a paddler or swimmer.


Canoeing whistles can be lifesavers if you need to call for help.


If you are in trouble, it is unlikely that your voice will carry if you shout out for help. Canoeing whistles are cheap and easy to carry, so it makes sense to have one on you every time you go canoeing.


Other things to consider:


  • The type of clothes you wear should be both comfortable and suitable for the weather.
  • A hat to protect you from the sun.
  • Closed-toe shoes are always the best choice.
  • Make sure that you have a basic first-aid kit and a flashlight. This will help you deal with minor injuries.
  • Some basics to keep in your first aid kit are bandages, splints, cleaners, wound dressings, and band-aids.
  • Medicines like painkillers and topical creams are good to treat headaches, scratches, and other aches and pains you might experience.

Final Thoughts

Canoeing in the ocean is definitely possible, and with the right canoe like an outrigger, a canoe with flared sides, a shallow-v bottom, or a shallow arch bottom, your trip is sure to be safe.


Always watch the weather as canoeing in a calm ocean makes for a safer experience, and be sure that you have the correct safety equipment. If you take these measures into account, you are sure to have a pleasant and safe trip.

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