So, I’m hoping to hit a couple lakes this year, and while my canoe feels pretty stable already, I wondered if there was a way to make it REALLY stable.

So, I started researching canoe outriggers and stabilizers. I learned a bunch of boating terminology in the process, and have come to the conclusion that it might be possible to build one relatively cheap.

Cabelas has one for over $200: http://www.cabelas.com/p-0001464011360a.shtml

I started to see some homemade floats made from things like pool noodles, large 4″ PVC pipes, boat bumpers, and more. I found several web sites using bullet nose crab buoys, and it seemed like the best plan to me. I also decided to use some free conduit that was laying around as the “cross beam” for the whole thing.

So, I ordered the crab buoys first from LFS Marine here:

http://www.lfsmarineoutdoor.com/scripts/prodView.asp?idproduct=130

Next, I needed a way to attach the conduit to the canoe. Luckily, I found something called a conduit U-bolt beam clamp. This clamp worked perfect. Here is the clamp:
U-bolt beam clamp

Here is the conduit in place with the u-bolt beam clamp:
Conduit on the canoe

I then found a video on Youtube that showed someone attaching the crab buoy to a 3/4″ schedule 40 PVC pipe. I bought 6 pre-cut pieces of PVC, and two tees. Basically, you stick one piece of PVC into each end of the tee making a big upside down “T” out of PVC. The two crab buoys attach to the upside down T. I glued them in place with plastic adhesive. I think filled the whole “T” with “Great Stuff” expanding foam for the sake of waterproofing and floating.

Next, I needed a way to attach the “T” to the conduit. I looked for some type of tee clamp, and found a PVC 3/4″ compression tee would be perfect. I can looses the tee and slide it up and down the upside-down “T” to adjust the height. The compression tee had a threaded outlet, so I I bought a 3/4″ schedule 80 nipple to screw into the compression tee. Here’s what I ended up with:
Canoe Crab Buoy

Luckily the 1/2″ conduit I had fit nicely into the nipple. I then drilled a couple holes though the nipple and conduit, and will place pins into the holes to hold the whole thing together. This is what the final product looked like:
Canoe Float

So how much did I spend (rounded):
a. 6 – 2′ sections of Schedule 40 3/4″ PVC = $6
b. 2pcs 3/4″ PVC tees = $1
c. 2pcs 3/4″ Compression Tee = $8
d. 2 – 5″ Schedule 80 3/4″ nipples = $2
e. 2pcs of Conduit = free for me
f. 2 – U-bolt beam clamps = $8
g. 4 – Crab Floats = $33
h. 1 bottle Plastic Adhesive = $4
i. Great Stuff Foam = $4
Total: $66

Not too bad. The biggest cost is the crab floats. So, hopefully someone out there who is thinking about doing the same thing stumbles onto this and can have yet another opinion on how to build a stabilizer, float, outrigger, or whatever this thing is called.