What Is the Difference Between a Canoe and a Kayak?


Quick Answer

A canoe is an open boat propelled by a one-sided paddle, while a kayak has a waist-high opening for the occupant and is propelled by a double-bladed paddle. A kayak sits low in water and floats on it, while a canoe sits deep in water and cuts through it.

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Full Answer

Kayaks are narrower, longer and lighter than canoes, making them faster. Occupants of canoes sit with their feet in a normal sitting position, while kayakers sit with their feet extended in front of them. A kayaker dips one paddle in either side of the kayak to navigate, but a canoe moves by a paddle placed from one side to the other. Kayaks are more time efficient than canoes because of the double-bladed paddle, but canoes are energy efficient because the one-bladed paddle is lighter and easier to maneuver than the double paddle.

Canoes are easier for beginners to master because they are wider and more stable. Kayaks tend to spin or zigzag, making them more difficult to maneuver. It is also easier to get in and out of a canoe for older people, small children and dogs, and it is more comfortable because of its higher sitting position. The lower-seating position of a kayak provides less resistance, making it more efficient.

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