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How to Build an Airboat Mower Engine for a Canoe

An engine can be mounted on a canoe to make an airboat.
George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Airboats use air from a propeller to propel the craft through the water. You can find this type of boat in areas that have shallow water, such as Florida and Louisiana. You can make your own airboat from a canoe by installing a lawn mower engine. However, you will need a canoe that's sturdy enough to hold the weight of the lawn mower engine and one to two passengers.

Measure the length of the propeller that you want to use with your airboat with a tape measure. Add 2 inches to this measurement and make a note on a piece of paper.

Transfer the measurement to a piece of plywood. Draw a circle on the plywood with a pencil and cut it out with the jigsaw.

Construct a round cage for a propeller guard from 1-inch conduit and wire mesh. Use the plywood that you cut in Step 2 for a template. Make the cage wide enough to contain the engine and the propeller.

Measure the width and depth of the lawn mower engine. Construct a pedestal mount for the engine that is 12 inches high using 2-inch by 6-inch boards.

Place the round cage over the pedestal mount for the engine. Secure the cage to the pedestal mount and the canoe with bolts and nuts. Tighten the nuts onto the bolts with the socket wrench.

Set the engine on its side so that the blade shaft is facing horizontally. Mount the engine onto your pedestal mount with bolts and nuts. Place the propeller on the blade shaft and tighten with a nut.

Things You'll Need:

  • Propeller
  • Tape measure
  • Plywood
  • Pencil
  • Jigsaw
  • 1-inch conduit
  • Wire mesh
  • Lawn mower engine
  • 2-inch by 6-inch boards
  • Bolts
  • Nuts


  • If the weight of the engine is more than the canoe can support, the boat won't float.
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