Canoes are a rite of passage in Maine.

We've all had to do our time in a canoe, if you're a true Mainer. It's doesn't mean you always love them your whole life, but chances are you've ridden in one multiple times. Especially in our youth at summer camps and such. But canoeing is very much part of Maine culture. One of the world's foremost canoe manufacturers is right here in Maine, Old Town Canoe.

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So there are plenty of adults who still love to hop in a canoe and head out. Personally, I'm a big scaredy-cat and I don't enjoy them. Too tippy. But again, for a lot of Mainers they are life. But they can also be a pain to carry in and out of places, especially if you're alone. So what are your choices?

A lot of people just use canoes they find in the woods.

senior male paddling canoe

There are lots of remote places in Maine, where you could feel like you're in the middle of nowhere, and you'll stumble onto a canoe by a lake. There could be no one around for miles, but here's this boat. So is it ok to use? Considered opinion actually says yes, according to the BDN.

Rear view of hipster girl paddling the canoe on the sunset lake.

It would seem most Mainers feel it's ok, as long as A) you're respectful, and B) you put it back where you found it. Some people prefer to find a nice spot to use their boat and just leave it there. Others will do the same, but obviously don't want you to use their boat, and that's ok too. They simply chain it up. But most people seem to agree, if it's there and not locked up, it's ok to use.

Key and padlock

What if the owner shows up?

This could be a little awkward for sure. But again, it seems the feeling is... Be respectful. Apologize for inconveniencing the owner, clean up your mess, and ask if there's anything you can do to help. Just common courtesy, at that point. Obviously, if a canoe is locked up, it's absolutely not ok to use.

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Maine is a cool state. Generally speaking, I'm kind of assuming if someone is willing to leave their canoe in the woods unlocked, they're probably either assuming people might use it, or they certainly don't mind if you do. And that, is why Maine is such a cool state.

In case you wanted to take your love of boating a bit further...

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