What Size Trolling Motor Is Good for a Canoe ?

Canoes are affordable and low-maintenance small boats that you and two others can explore rivers and lakes. However, most canoes require oars to move, which is a labor-intensive process. However, in recent years canoe owners have turned to a new form of propulsion, trolling motors.


The ideal size trolling motor for a canoe is a 30 inch (76.2 cm) electric trolling motor. A 30 inch shaft will have enough length to recharge beneath the water surface and give the canoe enough force to move. You can also fit petrol or diesel engines to your canoe, though they are bulkier.


Keep reading to continue learning more in detail about trolling motors and how you can use them on a canoe. We will explore what specs you will need to power your canoe as well as what size an engine you can fit. We will even examine whether you need to register a canoe with a trolling motor.

What Is a Trolling Motor?

Now that you know what size motor you require for your canoe, it’s time first to clear up what exactly a trolling motor is and how they are used on boats. We will also have a look at what trolling motors are often used alongside and the benefits of trolling motors over alternatives.


A trolling motor is a self-contained unit that includes an electric motor, a propeller, and controls. Trolling motors are often fitted alongside larger motors as they can be used for slow movements or to avoid making too much noise with a gasoline or diesel engine.


Trolling motors are small and lightweight, which makes them ideal for use on smaller boats as either the primary or secondary source of propulsion. An electric trolling motor is silent, stealthy, and an environmentally friendly way for you to move around. Trolling motors are found on a wide range of small boats but are usually not powerful enough to propel heavier vehicles.

How Powerful Is a Trolling Motor for a Canoe?

Trolling motors come in a wide variety of sizes and powers. Some trolling motors are designed to move boats and small yachts. These trolling motors will be far too heavy and powerful to use in a canoe. So how powerful is a trolling motor for a canoe?


An average canoe with little gear and two passengers will require a trolling motor that powers the boat with 55 lb (24.94 kg) thrust, equal to about 0.6 horsepower. However, a giant canoe or one full of supplies or equipment will require a more potent motor, especially if you plan on traveling upstream.


If you fit a trolling motor that is too powerful for your canoe, it may quickly become hard to control. This could lead to accidents while sailing your boat, which could easily result in serious accidents. As a result, it’s essential that you choose an adequately sized trolling motor for your canoe.

How Big of a Motor Can You Put On a Canoe?

Canoes are very limited when it comes to how much weight they can hold and how fast they can go. If you load too much weight onto a canoe, it can tip over or sink. A powerful motor may also make a canoe unsafe for you to drive without risking an accident or injury. So what size motor can you fit onto a canoe?


The largest motor that you can put on a canoe is a two-stroke or four-stroke engine. If you place any motors that are larger or heavier, it could cause your boat to capsize. Unless you own a huge canoe, one with an engine with more than two horsepower could cause harm to the vessel.


If you place a motor with too much power on the back of a canoe, it will weigh down the back of the vehicle. This can cause the front of the boat to lift, which in turn could cause the canoe to tip over and flood with water. Therefore it’s crucial that you don’t fit too large of an engine on a canoe.

Is a Trolling Motor Considered Motorized?

In the majority of states within the US, you have to register any Motorized vehicles that are being used on the water. However, trolling motors are small, low-powered and electric. This leads many people to ponder whether a canoe with a trolling motor is considered a motorized vehicle.


In most states, asking for a trolling motor will make the vehicle a Motorized vehicle officially. This is because most states require any boat with gasoline, diesel, or electric engine to be registered with the state. As a result, you will likely have to register your canoe if you fit any motor.


Failing to register a Motorized vehicle can result in severe issues for you down the line. You may end up being fined by authorities, or you could even end up being summoned to court. This can result in a bunch of problems that can easily be avoided by registering your canoe fit with a trolling motor.


In some states, canoes without trolling motors still need to be registered with the state. To ensure that you have the necessary permission to use your canoe, check out your local government’s rules and regulations, or contact local authorities for more information on the topic so that you can avoid any potential problems in the future.

Final Thoughts

Trolling motors are a self-contained unit that includes a motor, propeller, and controls. Trolling motors for an average-sized canoe should be about 30 inches (76.2 cm) in length to ensure efficient usage. You should also use a motor with 55 lb (24.94 kg) of thrust so you can easily glide through the water.


Using a large engine on a canoe may not be a great idea as canoes are small and light. Also, once you add a motor to your canoe, you’ll likely be required by law to register it as a Motorized vehicle with your local authorities. This will protect you against fines and litigation in the future.

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