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Owner's Manual

Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of a Clipper! Before you take your Clipper out on adventures, make sure you read through the Clipper Owner's Manual. This manual will tell you everything you need to know about caring for your canoe. While you're at it, make sure you fill out the Warranty Card. If you have any other inquiries, please feel encouraged to reach out to us at Clipper Canoes and Western Canoeing & Kayaking. Our knowledgeable team can help answer your questions. Love your canoe, and it will love you back!
Download the printable PDF of the Clipper Canoes Owner's Manual

Caring for Your New Clipper Canoe

With a little care and frequent applications of common sense, your new Clipper Canoe will provide you with years of trouble-free use. Here are some of the more common rules to follow:


Always store the canoe upside down, preferably off the ground and secure against wind and theft. Better yet, store it inside if possible. Before putting the canoe away for the winter, clean and wax the outer hull, any good car wax with a UV inhibitor will do. The wax will protect it over the winter and you will discover any repairs that may be required. If you place a tarp over the canoe for the winter, ensure that the tarp is not touching the canoe. This will allow proper air flow, avoiding dampness and gelcoat discoloration. Letting large quantities of snow build up on top of your canoe over the winter can cause hull damage. Wet snow can weigh a lot, so if your canoe is next to a building where snow from the roof can slide off on to it, or if you are in an area where there is heavy snowfall, clean the snow off your canoe often.


Washing: basically the same as you would wash your car (i.e. soap and water).

Wood Trim

Most of Western Canoeing’s wood trim models have an oil finish. Always keep the wood well oiled. When you get the canoe it will have been oiled three to four times at the factory; the wood will still absorb additional oil. We recommend that you use Watco wood oil. Canoes with varnished wood will require re-varnishing after hard use. We recommend Spar Urethane by Minwax. Wood cane and wood web seats may require re-varnishing after hard use as well.

Salt Water Use

After use in the ocean, we recommend that you hose your canoe down with fresh water, then wash with soapy water. Nothing will rust but salt will build up a dirty film over a period of time and may decrease the shine of the gelcoat.


There are several types of minor damage that your canoe will encounter in normal use. 1. Gelcoat may fade slightly depending on color. Use of a good car wax will slow down the fading. 2. Scratches. It is almost impossible to use a canoe and not scratch the surface gelcoat. Minor scratches will not affect the durability of your canoe. It is not practical to repair and fill in these small scratches with gelcoat. The best alternative is to use an automotive rubbing compound. Deep scratches that are all the way through the gelcoat, or chips in the gelcoat, may be repaired by covering the area with new gelcoat. Even deep scratches will seldom affect the overall durability of your canoe. Treat them like facial wrinkles; as signs of distinction. Some types of damage that do require repairs are: •Cracked gunnels or ones that are badly bent •Cracks in the laminate that show up both on the inside and outside of the canoe •Damaged or cracked yokes •Damaged or cracked flotation tanks •Loose rivets, thwarts or seats

Temporary Repairs

Temporary repairs can often be made in emergency situations, until dealer assistance is available. Minor breaks in the hull can usually be patched with ordinary duct tape. Dry the area thoroughly and tape both sides of the hull. Upon completion of a trip, the hull should then be repaired with fiberglass or Kevlar as soon as possible. Duct tape can also be used to make temporary repairs to split wooden paddles. If structural rivets become loose, clean around the rivet head and apply a coat of a marine sealer, like “Goop”. In a tripping situation, you can use duct tape on the outside of the hull. This seldom occurs, but be prepared. When you return from your trip, ask your dealer for assistance for any major repairs or return the canoe to Western Canoeing. If a Western Canoeing truck can pick it up at the dealer, there will be no charge for transport to the factory. You will only be billed for the repairs and return freight.

Road Travel

Never use bungie cords to secure your canoe. They frequently fail without notice. Tie the canoe to your vehicle with a rope to each corner of the bumper on the bow and the stern. Two additional straps or ropes must be used over the racks or the centre of the canoe. These ropes should be tied to the rack, next to the canoe. Don’t leave room for it to move. Use extra caution in areas of high wind. Use only racks or foam canoe carriers specifically designed for the task. Double check all ropes and straps before moving the vehicle. Be sure to keep strap buckles and rope knots on the passenger side of the vehicle for extra safety when making road-side adjustments.

Water Travel

Never tow your canoe behind a power boat. Serious hull damage may result. This will also void your warranty.


Many of the Clipper models are designed for the paddler to sit rather than kneel. Never kneel in a canoe that restricts your exit (i.e. trapping your feet under the seat). The seats are easy to raise, but this will require you to kneel more often as it raises the paddler’s centre of gravity.

Sliding Seat

This sliding mechanism is designed to help you “trim” your canoe for different weight paddlers. To “trim” a canoe is to set it so it rides level in the water, taking advantage of its sharp entry and keel line. Adjusting the sliding seat forward or back allows this. The sliding seat also allows smaller paddlers to slide to a narrower portion of the canoe so they can better reach the water. The sliding seat has a friction fit, which means that when there is weight on it, it shouldn’t move. If you find yours does, take a paper towel and wipe off some of the oil on the slider frame. If your bow paddler isn’t heavy enough to lock it in position, a pipe clamp or duct tape will do the trick. If the seat is hard to move, oil the slider bars with a light coat of oil or silicone, or replace the tubes if they are bent.

Foam Thigh Pads

Foam thigh pads will greatly increase your control of the canoe in rough water. If they are not available from your dealer, they can be ordered directly from Western Canoeing And Kayaking.


Many Clipper Canoes come with a footbrace. It should be adjusted so that when you are sitting square in the stern seat, the balls of your feet are resting on the bar 12 to 18" apart. Your knees should be slightly bent. This is designed to give you better leverage when paddling so that you will use your whole body during the stroke instead of just your arms. A footbrace also gives you better control when paddling conditions start getting rough. For increased control, spread your feet to the edge of the footbrace bar and lock your knees against the gunwales. Optional gunnel thigh braces made of foam will provide even better control.

Floatation Tanks

Most Clipper canoes are equipped with airtight bow and stern flotation tanks, filled with styrofoam chips. Tanks may expand or contract with extreme temperature or altitude variations. If this happens, simply pull up the red air valve at the top of each tank with your fingers to allow the air pressure to equalize. Always push the valve closed before paddling. Never paddle with improperly sealed tanks.


The portage yoke in the Clipper canoe is made to handle the weight of the canoe only, during portage. The yoke should not be used as a seat. Besides being unsafe with regards to the canoe's stability, the yoke can be damaged. This type of use is not warranted by Western Canoeing. Specific techniques on how to carry a canoe may be obtained by referring to a suitable book or speaking with knowledgeable sales staff. The yokes are positioned so that the canoe is slightly stern heavy. It is much easier to pull the bow down during a portage than to continually push it up! Often the balance can be changed by moving the sliding seat or by securing a paddle in one end or the other.

Motor Canoeing

Various square stern canoe models are designed to carry up to a 3 h.p. outboard motor or an electric model. See your dealer for specific information regarding the safe operation of your motor. Most double ended canoes are not suited for use with a gas motor. To prevent the loss of a motor overboard, secure the motor to the boat with a rope or chain. Clipper square stern canoes have a thwart in the stern for this purpose. Many double end canoe models can accommodate an electric motor but require the use of an accessory outboard motor bracket. Contact your local dealer or Western Canoeing for the appropriate model.


When mounting the motor on the canoe in shallow water, avoid dragging the propeller in sand or silt. Always accelerate the outboard motor gradually, avoiding sudden bursts of speed or quick turns. Keep your hand on the tiller at all times and watch for underwater obstructions that could hit the propeller causing the canoe to tip.

Serial Number

Each canoe has its own serial number. It is important to record this number in a safe place in case the canoe is ever stolen. This makes identification easier when it is recovered. Space is provided for this at the back of the manual. Check your home insurance policy as many standard policies do not cover items such as boats. Western Canoeing keeps a record of all canoes purchased from our plant/showroom via the serial number. If you purchased your canoe from one of our dealers, please return the enclosed registration/warranty card and you will be included on our list. If your canoe is stolen and recovered and the serial plate is missing or defaced, contact Western Canoeing and we would be happy to identify your boat. If the plate needs to be replaced, Western Canoeing staff would be happy to reinstall one at no charge. The serial number plate is located on the stern right side of the aluminum trim Clippers, and on the stern tank of the woodtrim Clippers. Putting your driver's license number somewhere on the canoe is also a good idea.

Safety Warning

Whether you’re a complete novice or accomplished river paddler, paddling safety always comes first. Beginning paddlers are urged to enroll in a basic paddling course. Instruction is available in most communities through recreation departments, community education courses, paddling clubs and private instructors. We recommend that you join local paddling clubs. They are a great way to learn new techniques, meet new friends and learn about paddling destinations. Paddlesports can be dangerous and physically demanding. The user of this product should understand that participating in paddlesports may involve serious injury or death. Observe the following safety standards whenever using this product.


• Get paddlesports instructions specific to this type of craft. • Obtain certified first aid training and carry first aid and rescue/safety equipment. • Always wear a nationally approved personal flotation device. • Always wear a helmet where appropriate. • Dress appropriately for weather conditions. Cold water and/or cold weather can cause hypothermia mia. • Check your equipment prior to each use for signs of wear or failure. • Never paddle alone. • Do not paddle in flood conditions. • Be aware of appropriate river water levels, tidal changes, dangerous currents and weather changes. • Scout unfamiliar water. Portage where appropriate. • Do not exceed your paddling ability. Be honest with yourself. • Consult your physician prior to beginning your paddlesports training. • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the use of this product. • If additional outfitting is required, use manufacturer’s approved materials only. Do not impair entry or exit access. • Read owners' manual prior to using this product. • Always let someone responsible know where you are paddling and when you expect to return. • Never overload your canoe - Remember, additional passengers raise the centre of gravity in the canoe. 300 lbs of passengers will make the canoe much less stable than 300 lbs of gear placed on the bottom.

The user of this product acknowledges both an understanding and an assumption of the risks involved in paddlesports.