Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

  • How do I clean my Old Town canoe or kayak?

    HULL EXTERIOR: Wash with mild soap and water. You can also use Murphy's Oil Soap. To beautify, we suggest a vinyl protectant product such as Armor All®, 303 Products or Pledge. These are safe for use on any of our Polyethylene, Superlinear, Royalex® and Fiberglass canoes or kayaks.

    We do not recommend waxing your hull with a paste wax, such as most car waxes. The wax fills in any scratches or gouges, then dries to a white color, making the damage more apparent.

    HULL INTERIOR: Wash with mild soap and water. We DO NOT recommend using any of the above products or polishes on the interior, as the floor of your boat may become slippery.

  • How should I store my Old Town canoe or kayak?

    CANOES: Always store upside-down, even overnight. If at all possible, set on sawhorses or blocks, as this will allow the gunwales to carry the weight.

    KAYAKS: Should be stored on their sides or standing on one end, if at all possible. If stored outside we recommend an Old Town kayak cockpit cover to prevent the possibility of water getting inside. Another option is to store the boat upside-down, preferably in slings or on cradle-type saw horses. This will keep the decks from becoming distorted.

    If you must store your canoe or kayak outside, we recommend you tie it down, as strong winds can catch the underside, flip it, and cause damage. Also, ultraviolet light from the sun may fade the color over time; if possible, store your boat out of the sun. If stored outside, do not cover with a tarp laid directly on the boat, as the heat of the sun will create an oven under the tarp that can damage, distort or discolor the hull. A tarp properly suspended above the boat will protect it from ultraviolet light. Simply leave sufficient space to allow for air circulation.

  • Will salt water damage my Old Town boat?

    No, salt water will not damage your canoe or kayak or any of its components with brief exposure. However, if you are using your boat frequently in salt water, it should be rinsed down after every use to avoid discoloration or corrosion of components.

  • How do I pick the right paddle?

    You should choose your canoe paddle based on your height and seat position. In the bow position, you want a paddle that measures from the floor to the middle of your chest. In the stern you need more length to assist in steering, so your paddle should stand up to the height of your collarbone.

    For a kayak paddle, consider the boat width, as well as the paddler's torso length and paddling style. Longer paddles are better suited to taller people, wider kayaks and a more relaxed style of paddling; shorter paddles match up better with shorter people, narrower kayaks and a more vertical style of paddling.

    Choosing between a wood or synthetic paddle is a matter of personal preference as well as intended use. Our wood paddles are more aesthetically pleasing, have a nicer feel in the water and of course are more traditional. On the other hand, our synthetic paddles are more durable and will work great as a general utility paddle.

  • How do I get new decals for my Old Town boat?

    If you need new decals for your Old Town canoe or kayak, first check with your local dealer to see if they carry these items. If not, please email customer service and request the decals you are looking for. Our Old Town canoe decals are available in our online store - click here.

  • How do I get a replacement copy of an Owner's Manual?

    You can download a PDF version of the owner's manual or use our contact form and we can mail one out to you.

  • How do I get a duplicate MSO in order to register my canoe or kayak?

    In order to get a duplicate Manufacturer's Statement of Origin (MSO) you should contact the dealer from whom you purchased the canoe or kayak. If for some reason you cannot reach them (you have moved, or the dealer is no longer in business, etc.), email customer service with your request.

  • Where is the serial number on my Old Town boat?

    You can find the serial number for your canoe or kayak on the back cover of the Owner's Manual included with your boat. The serial number is also located on each boat as follows.

    • On kayaks the serial number is located approximately 6" from the stern on the starboard side of the boat (the right-hand side of a boat when you are facing the front front).
    • On canoes the serial number is located up to 12" from the stern on the starboard side of the boat. The serial number on a wood canoe is stamped on the stem which is located on the inside of the boat at the bow and stern.

    If a serial number that is etched into the boat is difficult to read, take a rubbing of the number by placing a piece of paper over the number and rubbing a crayon or pencil until the serial number can be seen on the paper. The above instructions are also available with photos in the following PDF file: OT Serial Number Location.pdf

Canoe Questions

  • How do I trace the history of my Old Town canoe?

    Call Old Town Canoe Co. at (207) 827-5514 or (800) 343-1555 and request to speak to Customer Service, or email customer service. Your serial number will be required, which is typically located at the stern end of the canoe. A research fee may be applied. (NOTE: We are unable to research histories for boats built from the mid-eighties through the present since detailed records are not available for newer boats.)

  • How should I transport my Old Town canoe?

    Factory installed roof racks and reputable aftermarket racks can be padded for scratch prevention. Be aware of roof rack weight ratings, and make sure you have the correct rack for your canoe. Foam block canoe carriers are sold here. Whichever type of carrier you use, be sure to tie 2 belly straps and front and rear guide ropes for stability when transporting your canoe.

  • What size (hp) motor can I use with my Old Town canoe?

    While some Old Town canoes are designed to handle up to 5 horsepower motors, we generally recommend that motors on traditional double ended canoes be limited to 3 hp. Please refer to this site or our catalog for model-specific information.

  • How should I attach a motor?

    You can use either a motor mount or sidesaddle motor mount. Both of these motor mounts are available here.

  • Should I install a skid plate? How do I install one?

    Many people prefer to use skid plates in order to prevent scratches and wearing down of the entry points at the bow and stern. Skid Plates kits are sold here. For instructions on how to install, please refer to our "Installation Instructions" on the product page or product manual page.

  • How do I make repairs on my old wood/canvas Old Town canoe?

    Feel free to call us at (207) 827-5514 or (800) 343-1555 for our free 12 page wood/canvas canoe repair brochure, or use our online contact form. Another excellent reference is "The Wood & Canvas Canoe" by Jerry Stelmok and Rollin Thurlow. Old Town wooden canoe parts, hardware and supplies for restoration or repair can be found at Island Falls Canoe

  • Can I replace the cane in my cane seat?

    Cane and spline for repairing cane seats are sold online at Island Falls Canoe

  • Why is my Royalex canoe sticky? How do I fix it?

    In storage, Royalex boats sometimes develop mildew on them. Also, Royalex boats have been known to have processing oils migrate up out of the plastic when exposed to repeating cycles of temperature extremes. These oils were in the plastic solely to aid in the original manufacture of the Royalex sheet. Losing them actually makes the Royalex tougher. The following procedure gives good results for both causes of sticky Royalex:

    1. DO THIS PROCEDURE EITHER OUTDOORS OR IN A VERY WELL VENTILATED AREA.
    2. Wipe the sticky surface with denatured alcohol. This type of alcohol can usually be bought at a paint supply store, and may be marked as painter's alcohol, ethyl alcohol or denatured alcohol. DO NOT use rubbing alcohol.
    3. Use rubber or latex gloves. Saturate a soft cloth with the alcohol and wipe using fairly long even strokes. Turn the cloth often so as not to use the same area over and over. The alcohol will evaporate quickly so you will not have to wipe dry.
    4. If you still have some sticky areas, just wipe over again.

    CAUTION: These alcohols are extremely poisonous if ingested. Please store them in a safe place away from children. 

Kayak Questions

  • Does kayak length affect stability?

    No, the width of the kayak is more directly related to stability than its length. In general, a wider craft is a bit slower but more stable, and the better choice for fisherman and photographers. For those looking to go long distances with efficiency and speed, a longer kayak is preferred. For more information view our kayak buying guide

  • Can I install additional foot braces?

    If your kayak does not come with foot braces or if you only have one set in your tandem kayak, then you may want a Foot Brace Kit, which can be found under accessories.

  • Do I need float bags for my kayak?
    Some people prefer the slightly increased buoyancy that float bags can give their kayak, but they are not a necessity.
  • Can I add a second seat to my Predator K140 Kayak?

    Old Town does not recommend such a custom modification and we do not offer a retrofit kit. Please note that modifying the kayak in such a way could negate its warranty. In order to add a second seat, one would have to remove the solo seat arrangement and replace it with the Twin Otter seat set-up. However, installing the two seats will interfere with use of the cargo net and work deck, as well as foot pedals.

  • Can a through-the-hull transducer be used in my kayak?

    No - the foam in the materials used to make the kayak throws off the transducer. so it will give a false reading. We recommend using a transducer that suctions to the bottom of the kayak.