What Is the Bench in a Canoe Called?

If you’re a canoe enthusiast or simply someone who loves spending time on the water, you may have noticed that canoes come equipped with a variety of different features to make your experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. One such feature that often goes unnoticed is the bench in a canoe.

But what exactly is the bench in a canoe called? Let’s take a closer look.

First and foremost, it’s important to note that the bench in a canoe is not always referred to using the same terminology. Depending on where you live or who you talk to, it may be called by different names. However, there are two terms that are commonly used to describe this particular component of a canoe: the thwart and the yoke.

A thwart is essentially a crossbar that runs across the width of the canoe. It’s typically made from wood or metal and serves as both a seat for paddlers and as a structural support for the boat itself. Some canoes may have multiple thwarts depending on their size and design.

The yoke, on the other hand, is another type of crossbar that sits above the gunwales (the top edges of the canoe) rather than between them. It’s typically made from wood and has curved ends that fit snugly against your shoulders when you’re carrying the canoe overhead.

While both thwarts and yokes serve important functions in a canoe, they are used for different purposes. Thwarts provide stability and support while paddling, while yokes are primarily used for transporting your canoe over land.

So why does it matter what we call this particular part of our beloved watercraft? Well, for one thing, knowing what to call it can make communication with other paddlers or enthusiasts much easier. If someone asks you about your thwart or yoke and you don’t know what they’re referring to, it could lead to confusion or even misunderstandings.

In addition, understanding these terms can help you better care for and maintain your canoe. For example, if you notice that one of your thwarts is loose or damaged, you’ll know exactly what part to look for when shopping for a replacement.

Overall, whether you call it a thwart or a yoke, the bench in a canoe is an important component that helps make your time on the water as enjoyable as possible. So next time you’re out paddling, take a moment to appreciate this oft-overlooked but essential part of your canoeing experience.

Photo of author

Lindsay Collins