Weird and Wacky Canoe Jargon

A selection of fun, odd, and useful canoe jargon:

Air Lock: What happens if you try to lift a capsized
canoe straight up.

Bang Plate/Stem Band: A piece of reinforcement on the bow for extra protection against impacts and abrasion.

Broach: Turn broadside to an obstacle, such as waves, wind, or current—often leads to capsize.

Chine: Transition zone on the hull between the bottom and the sides.

Rockopotamus: A big round rock hiding just below the surface.

Throat: Where the paddle blade meets the shaft.

Thwart: Cross-piece between the two sides of the canoe.

Tumblehome: Inward curvature of a canoe’s hull above the waterline; improves secondary stability.

Weather Cocking: Turning of a boat due to wind.

Example: “Weather cocking pushed me off-course and the canoe broached after the bang plate hit a rockopotamus. I grabbed a thwart, hoping the tumblehome above the chine would save me from air lock.”


This column originally appeared in the print edition of AMC Outdoors along with the column "Which Canoe For You? Understanding the options."

(Photograph by Jerry and Marcy Monkman.)

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