Drawing the waterline


Well-Known Member
Jan 31, 2007
Kansas City, Kansas
I was sitting in the garage earlier today, watching the epoxy dry on the pirogue, sitting on it's cradle, thinking of a paint scheme for the when it's completed, and I thought about drawing a waterlne in some really extreme color. Problem!!! What is the best way to determine the placement of the waterline. Since I know nothing about such nautical matters, I thought I would bring this to your attention, and seek your advise.
I appriciate any help or hints you can provide.


Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
Central , Florida
Using a rule of thumb , the water line should be from two inches to 2 1/2 inches. That is what I go by for what it is worth. :roll:

Less with just a paddle in there , more with camping gear. Someone else might have worked out the math for it but that is beyond me ... I still add up 2 and 2 and get 3. ( one 2 then the 2nd two = 3 ).


Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan

There are too many variables to answer your question. The more weight in the boat, the deeper it sinks. Then, of course, there's trim. If it's trimmed nose heavy the nose will be in deeper than the tail (bow & stern in nauticialese) Anyway, whatever waterline you choose, your boat will never be at exactly that line for more than a second or two every other time you paddle the boat.

Best bet may simply be to select some ratio, say 25% or 40% or some other attractive number, translate that into inches of depth, and draw a straight line along one side of your boat. (Try to do it the same depth on both sides.)

Drawing that straight line can be a bit daunting. Using a chalk line is an easy method. Put a push pin in each end of the boat at your selected waterline. Get a piece of stout string about 2' longer than the boat. Tie a permanent loop (bowline knot or or ... into one end of the line.

Rub the line with some chalk of a color that will contrast with the background. Put the string snugly onto the two pushpins, (loop on one end, wrap the other end) pull it out and let it snap back up against the wood. It will leave a trace of chalk in a straight line. Run your masking tape along that line. Then, lightly sand off the chalk.