Missouri’s Only Canoe Maker, Osagian Canoes, Delivers ‘Water Edge’ Experience
Canoeists dream of, and often beg for, more relaxing seats; this year, a long-standing manufacturing team professes to have the answer to this request. Jared Carr, owner of Missouri-based Osagian Canoes, said they added an optional mesh seat that provides comfort and durability in their canoes.
“We are proud of this feature, as it will keep both the strength of our seat, which we are known for, with the added benefit of comfort, as our customers have requested,” Carr said.
Osagian Canoes’ roots stem from the 1950s with Appleby Boats, Lowe Boats and Richline boats. Carr said the Osagian Boats company was incorporated in 1976, and has operated under the Osagian name since then. A family-owned metal stamping factory, Carmeco Incorporated, purchased Osagian Canoes in December 2003, and moved it to its current location in Lebanon, Mo. Carr and his family have owned Osagian Canoes for the last 13 years.
Canoes, in general, have not reflected many changes lately, emphasizes Carr, although he said his staff recently changed a few internal procedures to make their canoes more consistent during the manufacturing process.
To improve customers’ canoeing experiences, Carr said Osagian Canoes’ teams deliberately incorporate features and traits in their aluminum canoes to leverage superior workmanship and quality materials within four different models, such as:
- Best lightweight aircraft aluminum
- Superior strength-to-weight ratio
- True-steering, 1-inch welded keel for superior tracking
- Integrated, hydrodynamic side sponsons to bolster lateral stability as well as boost leg and storage room
- Hardwood thwarts, fore and aft, for comfortable portages
- Embroidered padded seats to improve paddling comfort, or now the new mesh ones
- Large selection of paddling accessories and canoe trailers
“The ultimate reason to buy an Osagian Canoe is because, as true canoe enthusiasts ourselves, we build every Osagian Canoe to deliver that ‘water’s edge’ experience that makes canoeing a joy,” said Carr.
All Osagian canoes and kayaks are made from aluminum. In 2012, Carr said they released the Osagian Kayak, which is a 12-foot aluminum vessel. He said this model caught on quickly, and he’s looking for continued growth from it in the future.
“With the kayak in mind, we’ve been asked by several persons to release a tandem kayak model, and we are currently discussing the possibility of adding that to our line,” he said.
Most of Osagian’s marketshare is in the recreational industry, however Carr said in recent years they’ve witnessed increases in the fishing and touring aspects of paddling, so he’s assuming those two applications may increase.
“Millions of Americans enjoy canoeing on local lakes and rivers for a wide range of reasons, from exercise to fishing to simply enjoying being outdoors,” agrees Chris Stec, chief operating officer of the Virginia-based American Canoe Association.
“Even though there are currently a wide range of innovations on the market for whitewater canoe designs today, the majority of canoes are designed for the recreational paddler on calm or slowly moving waters.”
According to statistics gathered in the most recent Special Report on Paddlesports, U.S. canoers make a total of 70.5 million annual outings, with 43 percent female to 57 percent male. Individual canoers take an average of seven outings annually. In this study, Missouri is included within the geographic region outlined as West North Central, which covered 10 percent of canoeing participants in the United States.
Canoers ranked the following reasons, in sequence, for taking to the water: getting exercise; spending time with family and friends; observing scenic beauty; viewing nature in close-up ways; getting away from daily demands; developing skills and abilities; being with other people who like canoeing; gaining accomplishments and self-confidence; and experiencing solitude.
Osagian crafter Carr said while there are numerous different reasons to purchase a canoe, his company’s canoe offers several decades of service with a minimal amount of maintenance, if any at all. “This makes our canoe very popular, because the 100th time you take the canoe out, it will perform the same as the first.”
Carr concurs that Missouri is a fantastic state in which to float and paddle. “From slow-moving streams to enjoy with the whole family, to fast-paced whitewater to get your heart racing, Missouri really has it all when it comes to canoeing. There’s no better way to get into nature than in a canoe!”