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What is a Setting Pole?

Dan Cavallari
By
Updated May 23, 2024
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A setting pole is a tool used by canoeists and other boaters to propel the watercraft forward, usually in shallow water. This setting pole is a handheld pole that can be quite long, and it is used to push against the bottom of a body of water where paddling is not feasible or easily achieved. The pole may also be used if the boater wishes to propel the craft upstream against a current. The bottom end of the setting pole is usually cased in metal to prevent the wooden pole from splitting, cracking, or chipping when it is jammed against rocks and mud at the bottom of the body of water.

The metal cap at the end of the pole is also used to help weigh down that end, thereby making submersion of the pole much easier on the user. The rest of the pole is made from wood, usually ash or another wood; ash is a popular choice as it is resistant to water damage as well as the pressure of being pushed and compressed regularly. The length and diameter of the setting pole will vary according to the user's needs. Only one canoeist will use the setting pole to propel the craft forward, and it is usually the person sitting in the stern, or rear, of the boat who uses this pole, since the craft is being pushed rather than pulled or otherwise propelled with paddles.

A quant pole is very similar to a setting pole, except the submerged end often features a prong at the bottom to prevent the pole from getting stuck in mud when used in murkier waters. This type of pole is usually made from metal, and it is buoyant so it will float to the surface if the user happens to lose his or her grip on the pole. It is usually used to propel smaller barges or watercraft known as punts, which are flat-bottomed. The quant pole is used not only for propulsion, but also for steering, as the long pole can act as a rudder for the craft if used properly.

Setting poles and quant poles are usually used in watercraft that do not feature engines or other means of propulsion. Canoes, barges, and punts are the most common boats on which to use a setting pole, though other, larger boats may also require the use of a setting pole from time to time. The larger the craft, however, the less effective the pole will be at propelling the craft forward, as the pole is operated by one person and the weight of the boat will work against that person.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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