16-foot Peak's Plastics canoe, $45

Considering that I live in a state with a zillion miles of freshwater lakes and streams, I was certainly surprised to see this little beauty still at the yard sale when I got there in the early afternoon. This canoe is solid and in great shape all over, and shows no damage or anything else that I'd have to apologize for to my eBay bidders.This canoe was made by a company named Peak's Plastics, which I think may not be in business anymore, and it sports a very interesting feature.

Most canoes use a simple setup of metal bars that run from one side to the other in order to provide rigidity, as well to provide places to mount the seats. This canoe, on the other hand, actually has bulkheads that were built into it during construction, and this feature is much more important than it appears at first.

As kids, we used to go out in canoes all the time, and one of the first things we learned was how easy it is to sink one of these long, skinny boats. One misstep by a clumsy passenger is enough to turn a canoe over far enough to fill it with water. And since a canoe normally has nothing built into it to keep it afloat when it swamps, it goes right to the bottom. In the clear, shallow streams we used to go canoeing in as kids during the hot Florida summers, sinking a canoe was nothing more than comical fun. But, a capsized water craft out in deeper, darker water is not fun at all, and can be very dangerous.

Federal law requires that certain powered vessels have flotation compartments built into the design, so that a craft will remain afloat, even if it fills with water. But since canoes don't fit into this category, they're not usually outfitted with internal flotation. But... those sealed compartments you see in this canoe are more than just seating area - they're sealed flotation compartments. This one feature indicates to me that Peak's Plastic actually went beyond the basics and made a canoe that's better than most.

Do you think any bidders out there would be willing to pay a premium to ensure the safety of their passengers and family members who will be using the canoe? This is just another example of how developing an eye for seeing things more critically than the average person is willing to do can pay off in this business! Hey, wait a second here... who's that in my boat? it looks like someone's ready for the maiden voyage!

After six months of use, I sold this Peak's Plastics canoe on eBay for $265.
 

Photo of Peak's Plastics 16 foot fiberglass canoe