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Do It Yourself Outriggers For Your Canoe – How To Guide

Mark Armstrong
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Maybe you’ve been feeling a little unstable in your canoe or maybe you have some family members that don’t feel comfortable when they’re tagging along. DIY outriggers for a canoe might be the solution to helping everyone feel more stable on the water.

We probably all experienced that feeling of unsteadiness when we first got in a canoe, so could outriggers help? We’ve looked into them to see what exactly they are and how they might work. Plus, we’ll teach you how you can make your own.

DIY Outriggers For Your Canoe - How To Guide - Pinterest imagePin

What Are Outriggers, And Why Use Them?


Outriggers can help you to stabilize your canoe on the water, by essentially acting as an extension to the width of your vessel.

The outriggers attach to your canoe providing a crossbar and cylindrical floats that help to distribute the weight over a larger surface area. Much like training wheels on a bicycle, outriggers can help to prevent your canoe from tipping over.

They may also be useful in adding the extra stability that you need when you’re fishing or if you wanted to add a sail.

Video: Ulua Outrigger Canoe – First Sail

Open Water

You might find that outriggers can come in handy for canoeing in open water, as they may help you feel more stable in rough or windy conditions.

Some people can feel unstable in a canoe, even at the best of times, so having outriggers attached can help to make you and your fellow paddlers feel a little safer. They can be great for reassuring kids or nervous adults, as well as being useful if you have a dog bouncing around on board.

How To Add Outriggers To A Canoe Yourself

Step 1: Create A Crossbar

First of all you will already have your 2×4 wood in the desired length to suit your canoe. Ideally, it will extend about a foot beyond either side of your vessel. Attach this to the gunwales, securing it on both sides of the canoe with a screw or clamp.

This should give you the extra support for the next step.

Step 2: Attach Your Pipe

You should already have a 1 inch PVC pipe in the correct length to extend around a foot to a foot and a half beyond the edge of your canoe.

Secure this pipe to the 2×4 using D shaped saddle clips that hook over the pipe. The wood will help to strengthen the single pipe, helping to prevent it from flexing too much on the water.

Video: Video: DIY Canoe Outrigger/Stabilizers Homemade

It’s possible to simply attach the PVC pipe to the gunwales bypassing the wooden support.

Step 3: Make An Angle

Connect a 90 degree pipe connector to either end of your PVC pipe. Then, using a shorter length of PVC pipe, attach this to the end of the connector. Repeat for the other side. So you should now have pipes coming down at 90 degree angles from both sides of the long crossbar pipe.

The length of your shorter section will depend on the water where the water level hits your canoe.

Step 4: Connect ¾ Inch Pipe

Using T joint connectors, attach ¾ inch PVC pipes to either end of your existing pipes, so that they are parallel with your vessel. You should have two pipes coming out of either end of the T connectors.

Step 5: Attach Crab Floats

The crab floats should slot right over the ¾ inch pipe. Attach them to all four ends of the ¾ inch pipe and secure each of them with water resistant glue.

You should now have your own outriggers and be ready to hit the water.

You’ll probably find you can modify some of the methods in order to customize to your own canoe or if you want to use items that you already have at home.

Video: Another Outrigger Option

A Balanced Conclusion…

Now that you know how to make your own outriggers, the next time you hit the water in your canoe, you and your passengers might feel a little more at ease knowing it’s not going to easily tip over.

It’s always important to feel safe on the water, so we hope you’ve enjoyed reading our guide. If you’ve made your outriggers we’d love to know how you got on. And feel free to share this if you think others could benefit.

> DIY kayak outriggers

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