Storing aluminum canoe outside

How to Safely Store an Aluminum Canoe Outside?

Once you try your first canoe ride, you’ll be hooked! It’s an exciting, low-risk way to enjoy being outdoors.

It’s also a great way to burn off some calories while having fun on the water. What could be better than that?

Nevertheless, the only possible stumbling block to owning a canoe is where to store it. Experts say that indoor storage is the best viable option for all boats, aluminum boats included.

Yet, that’s not always a feasible course of action, which makes outdoor storage your only other choice.

If you’re wondering how to safely store an aluminum canoe outside, you’ve come to the right place.

Scroll down to learn about the best storage ideas, tips, and more!

How to Safely Store an Aluminum Canoe Outside

Out of all other materials, many consider aluminum to be the ‘strong, but silent’ type. During manufacturing, aluminum is mixed with other metals to create a touch, hard-wearing exterior suitable for watercrafts.

That’s why aluminum canoes are rust and corrosion-resistant, making them durable and long-lasting. However, improper storage can compromise their structural integrity.

So, to help you keep your canoe safe and shielded from the elements, we rounded up five ways to safely store an aluminum canoe outside.

Whichever one you choose, there are three things you should keep in mind.

The first is to always store the canoe somewhere hidden from direct exposure to sunlight. The second is to store the boat somewhere with minimal moisture and humidity. Finally, keep your boat raised off the ground.

Position It Properly

Let’s start by saying that you should never store the canoe right side up. The bottom of the boat might get damaged because it’s not designed to sit on the ground for long periods of time.

The first option is to place the canoe upside down. Any canoe enthusiast will tell you this is the best way to store your boat.

Then, to keep it well-ventilated during storage, rest the gunwales, aka the ‘rails’ that form the upper rims of the boat’s framework, on wooden beams or trestles.

You can also store it on its side. Just make sure you keep it in place with multiple durable, heavy-duty supports.

The final option is to store it vertically. This option is best used for short-term storage to avoid damaging the body of the canoe. To do this, you have to rest the boost against the wall with the interior, or cockpit, facing outwards.

Keep the Canoe Elevated

While the ideal position is to place the canoe upside down, all options are valid depending on how much storage space you have available. Though, what’s even more important than how you store your canoe is that you keep it raised above ground level.

The most commonly used supports are cinder blocks, bricks, or wooden beams. Make sure you keep the blocks evenly spaced out and that the boat is lying parallel to the ground.

Keeping the canoe elevated is typically used when you’re storing it upside down or on its side. It helps boost airflow, reduce moisture build-up, and prevent all the components from getting squished against the hard flooring or ground.

Spray a Layer of UV Coating

Prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause a slew of problems for your canoe. Depending on the type of material the canoe is made of, these harmful rays can make your boat fragile and more prone to scratches and dents.

There are plenty of high-quality sprays that double as cleaners on the market. Just make sure you pick a water-based product rather than one that’s silicon-based to avoid leaving a trail of silicon residue on the surface of the water.

Best of all, you can use these sprays to clean and protect the insides of the canoe as well, like the straps, seats, and paddles. Then, for maximum protection, reapply every few months.

Set Up an Elevated Tarp

Tarps are easy to come by. They’re affordable, tough, and weather-resistant. They’re also extremely versatile and can come in handy in a variety of situations.

To set up, get a 12 x 12-foot tarp and hang it from an elevated prop, like trees or fence posts.

Other alternatives could be a canopy tent or lining up some large-sized umbrellas. The important thing is to choose any type of material that protects the canoe against moisture and harmful UV rays.

The one downside to tarps is that they can become brittle when exposed to long hours of sunlight. To solve this problem, you try these two easy solutions:

  • Replace your old tarp every couple of months
  • Spray the surface of the tarp with a UV-proof spray

Lock Your Canoe

Keeping your boat outside means it’s not just exposed to direct sunlight and rain; it’s also exposed to thieves and heavy winds. The good news is that there’s a wide array of canoe locks to choose from that are designed specifically to keep your canoe in place.

The one downside is that these locks are typically higher in price than traditional locks, mainly because they’re sturdier and hard-wearing.

Still, they make a pretty good investment. After all, it’s better to pay a bit extra for a pricey lock than have to pay a hefty sum on a brand-new canoe.

how to store an aluminum canoe

Drawbacks of Storing Your Canoe Outdoors

Canoes are mainly designed for recreational boating, not long-term exposure to the sun and other elements. You can certainly spend hours in your canoe happily floating on the water. Yet, they’re more vulnerable to the sun’s harsh rays.

So, here are a handful of drawbacks of storing your canoe outside.

Break Down of the Hull

The hull is generally considered to be the full exterior of the boat. Although, canoers often use the term to refer to the bottom part that comes in contact with the water.

When exposed to the sun’s unrelenting rays, the boat’s structural integrity becomes weaker. As a result, cracks and holes will start to appear in the hull. The problem is you might not even notice these gaps until you take your boat out to the water and it starts getting flooded.

Not only that, but prolonged sun exposure can ruin the seats, strings, straps, and other components as well inside your canoe.

Unfortunately, the sun isn’t the only thing that can damage your canoe. Other weather conditions, like snow, hail, and rain, can also take their toll and weaken the structure of the boat.

When snow piles up, it creates an extra load that can lead to cracks and fissures in the hull of your boat. The heavy weight of the wet snow also increases the chance of the canoe being easily punctured or dented.

Rain is also another problem because it can cause moisture build-up. Then, over time, this moisture can create weak spots in the hull and cause it to slowly bend out of shape and become deformed.

Tarnishes the Canoe’s Colors

Our skin isn’t the only thing affected by the dangers of the sun’s UV rays. They also have a tendency to make even the brightest of colors appear faded and washed out. As a result, your vibrant canoe gradually takes on a withered, tarnished look.

Increased Risk of Theft

Unfortunately, even the nicest neighborhoods are vulnerable in the face of a burglary. Statistics show that it can take mere seconds for someone to snatch your canoe, toss it in the back of their truck, and drive off.

The best way to reduce the risk of your boat getting stolen is to lock it in place with a high-quality lock. Also, use straps and cords to fasten the canoe firmly in place.

Another idea is to lay the boat horizontally, preferably upside down to help keep it away from prying eyes. Alternatively, keeping your canoe standing upright vertically makes it easier to spot even from a distance.

How Different Canoe Materials React When Stored Outside

Aluminum canoes are super sturdy, stable on the water, and moderately lightweight, making them an ideal choice for recreational boating. They’re also low-maintenance and require minimal care.

So, while we’re focusing mainly on aluminum canoes in this post, it helps to know how other materials fare against sustained exposure to the elements.

Check out the three most common canoe materials on the market.

  • Plastic: quickly loses its color and becomes prone to cracking and fissures
  • Royalex: thins out and tends to splinter and crack
  • Kevlar: fractures easily and becomes susceptible to splits and breakage

A Final Note

Now that you know how to store an aluminum canoe outside safely, you have to make some tough decisions. Will you take the risk of keeping outdoors? Or will you try and make room for your canoe indoors?

Whatever you decide, just make sure you take care of your boat in the best way possible. Clean and protect it using the methods we mentioned above to maintain its integrity and keep it in great condition for many years to come.

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