DIY Canoe Outrigger: Enhancing Stability and Confidence on the Water

Are you looking to increase stability in your canoe or make your family members feel more comfortable on board? DIY outriggers might just be the solution you need. In this article, we’ll explore what outriggers are, why they are beneficial, and provide a step-by-step guide on how you can make your own.

What Are Outriggers, And Why Use Them?


Outriggers act as extensions to the width of your canoe, helping to stabilize it on the water. By attaching outriggers to your canoe, you create a crossbar and cylindrical floats that distribute the weight over a larger surface area. Think of them as training wheels on a bicycle, preventing your canoe from tipping over.

Moreover, outriggers offer additional stability for fishing or sailing purposes. Whether you’re reeling in a big catch or harnessing the wind with a sail, outriggers provide the extra support you need.

Open Water

Outriggers can also prove invaluable when canoeing in open water, especially during rough or windy conditions. Even the most experienced canoeists can feel unstable at times, but the presence of outriggers can reassure both kids and nervous adults. They can provide a sense of security and peace of mind, particularly if you have a playful dog joining you on your canoeing adventures.

Image: Ulua Outrigger Canoe - First Sail

Adding Outriggers to Your Canoe

Now that we understand the benefits outriggers offer, let’s delve into how you can make your own and enjoy all the advantages they bring.

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Step 1: Create a Crossbar

Begin by securing a 2×4 wooden plank, cut to your desired length, on both sides of your canoe’s gunwales. Ideally, it should extend about a foot beyond the canoe’s sides. This crossbar provides the foundation for attaching the outriggers.

Step 2: Attach Your Pipe

Using a 1-inch PVC pipe that extends a foot to a foot and a half beyond the canoe’s edge, secure it to the 2×4 using D-shaped saddle clips. This connection enhances the pipe’s stability, preventing excessive flexing on the water. Alternatively, you can attach the PVC pipe directly to the gunwales.

Video: DIY Canoe Outrigger/Stabilizers Homemade

Step 3: Make an Angle

Connect a 90-degree pipe connector to each end of the PVC pipe. Then, using a shorter length of PVC pipe, attach it to the end of each connector. This configuration creates a 90-degree angle from both sides of the crossbar pipe. The length of the shorter section depends on the water level your canoe encounters.

Step 4: Connect 3/4 Inch Pipes

Using T-joint connectors, attach 3/4 inch PVC pipes parallel to your canoe on both ends of the crossbar. This configuration should result in two pipes extending from each end of the T connectors.

Step 5: Attach Crab Floats

Slide the crab floats over the 3/4 inch pipes and secure them with water-resistant glue. These floats enhance buoyancy and stability, further improving the performance of your outriggers.

Image: Another Outrigger Option

With these steps completed, you now have your very own outriggers, ready to conquer the water.

Feel free to customize these instructions to suit your specific canoe or utilize materials you may already have at home.

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A Balanced Conclusion

Now that you have the knowledge and know-how to build your own outriggers, you and your passengers can enjoy a stable and secure canoeing experience. Remember, safety is paramount when on the water, and outriggers provide that extra layer of confidence and support. We hope you found this guide informative and inspiring. If you successfully create your own outriggers, we’d love to hear about your experience. Share this article with others who may benefit from the added stability of DIY canoe outriggers.