Canoe Trips - Useful Tips
Canoe Trips - Useful Tips
The instructions below are heuristic in nature and should be treated with a grain of salt.
This is tricky, as a wrong step can bring you out of balance and
cause your canoe to capsize. In general, try to put your foot in the
middle and not to the side of the canoe and preserve balance when
moving your other leg in. It helps if your partner holds the canoe.
If you are the last to get into the canoe, one trick that may work is
to sit down in a horseman position on its tail and then, once the canoe
is floating, moving carefully to your sit. Keeping low helps to
Try to do it gently and quietly. Put your paddle close to the canoe
(this prevents your canoe from unintended turning and following a
drunk snake's path) but do not hit the canoe with your paddle.
You can turn left by paddling harder (or further away from the side)
on the right side and turn right by paddling on the left side. If you
need to turn suddenly, holding your paddle in the water or even
paddling backwards on the right side will turn you right.
The person sitting in the back has much more control over the
direction. It is prudent to have the more experienced person sit
there when the water is rough.
The thing that you want the least when going through rapids is
hitting a rock or getting stuck on a rock. When the current is
strong, it can turn you sideways and then capsize. When approaching
rapids, watch the river carefully and try to find a path of
reasonably clear stroke of water. If the current is strong, underwater
rocks will disturb the water and you can get a reasonable idea
where the rocks are. Enter the rapids straight, never sideways. Even
a small sidewise position may make it difficult to control your canoe.
In case you get stuck on a rock, the best method to get you out of
trouble is to have one of the two canoers (the one closer to the rock)
to step out of the canoe (the water may be deep, but there is usually
a small piece of shallow water, which is the rock itself). Try pushing
the canoe gently off the rock and get into it before the current carries
it away. The safest way to get on your canoe in this case is to sit
down on its front or its back in a horseman position and then move
slowly into your seat, trying to preserve balance.
Like in airplane landing, try to keep plenty of distance between you
and the canoes before you when approaching rapids. You should ba able
to stop or easily to take another route if the canoe before you gets
stuck on a rock.
In the very beginning, it makes sense to have somebody with more
experience go first through rapids and pick a good route (watch out -
some people like picking the most dangerous route for the pure fun of
If there is a thunderstorm, you should get out of the water and wait
on the shore.
Tie your things to the canoe (use a rope or bungy cords) when you
start the trip. This helps to avoid spreading your belongings over
the riverbed in case your canoe capsizes. Also, make sure that your
children wear life jackets. If capsized, don't panic, the canoe will
keep floating, the river is not very deep, and the current is not that
strong (it's not whitewater). Call somebody to help you pull the canoe
to the riverbank and get the water out before you continue.