Penn Yan Boat Company

Dan Miller

cranky canoeist
Staff member
[H=1]Penn Yan Boat Company[/H]
The Penn Yan Boat Company of Penn Yan, New York, was founded in the mid-1920s. Perhaps more well known for the outboard boats they built, the company built a variety of canvas covered canoes, and a fair number survive today. The company ceased building wood boats and canoes in the early 1960s, switching instead to all fiberglass production. No records are known to survive.

The following is a link to a YouTube video showing initial work on a 1946 PennYan Rainbow. Video shows typical PennYan deck, decal, placement of serial number, war-era seat treatment, and headache of fiberglass removal.

[H=2]Identifying Features[/H]
  • Presence of Reed & Prince screws fastening the seats and thwarts are usually indicative of Penn Yan canoes.

[H=2]Serial Numbers[/H]
Serial Number Format: Two or three letters followed by 3 or 5 digits is typical, there are variations. In some cases the first two letters indicate the model, in other cases the first letter indicates model and the second indicates length. The third letter, if present, indicates trim (S=Spruce, M=Mahogany). See the Penn Yan identification table below for letter codes.

Dating: Sometimes (apparently only in the second half of any given decade) the first two digits of the serial number are the year built, and the remainder the presumed order of construction. In the case of Owasco, Rainbow Guide and Kingfisher model canoes, three letters in the serial number indicates 1947 or earlier, 2 letters is 1948-1960. An exception is that some pre-1933 16' Rainbows and 16' Owascos may be marked RC and OC, respectively.

[H=2]Canoe Models Offered[/H]

ModelSerial Number CodeDimensions
Auto CanoeCA, CAS10 x 34½ x 13
HunterCL15 x 35 x 12½
FishermanCM12½ x 34½ x 12½
HunterCM12½ x 34½ x 12½
Carry CanoeFX15 x 33 x 11½
CamperGC17 x 35 x 12
GuideGE, GES, GEM18 x 36 x 13½
ScoutGN16 x 34½ x 12
KingfisherMC, MCS, MCM14 x 37 x 13
OwascoON, ONS, ONM16 x 34 x 12½
OwascoOC, OCS, OCM17 x 35 x 13
OwascoOE, OES, OEM18 x 36 x 13½
RainbowRN, RNS, RNM16 x 34 x 12½
RainbowRC, RCS, RCM17 x 35 x 13
RainbowRE, RES, REM18 x 36 x 13½