A Guide to Canoeing Safely
Canoeing is a fun experience for the entire family. Traveling via water is a summertime delight that most look forward to each year. Whether you are newer to the Canoe scene or a seasoned pro, it is smart to be aware of the potential mishaps that can occur along the way. As much as everyone hopes for a seamless trip down the river, being prepared for hazards will keep both you and your loved ones safe. Everyone who has heard various tales of canoe woes do not have an expectation that it could happen to them. Truthfully, nature is beautifully diverse yet unforgiving at times. Respecting your surroundings and having the right knowledge will ensure a successful ride in your Canoe.
Canoeing Hazards and Solutions
Hazard #1– Falling while entering the Canoe- We would all like to be graceful and look like Indiana Jones when we get into a Canoe. In reality, the thin parameters of the vessel are rocky in the water causing us to stumble, falter and even fall.
Solution- Have others hold the Canoe steady for you as you attempt to step in. It is easier to crouch and hold the sides versus doing a plie into your seat. With your knees bent and two hands on the edge, you will be able to sit without having to fully stand on the Canoe.
Hazard#2– Your Canoe Tips Over- Imbalances in the Canoes weight distribution, large rocks or currents can all cause an unexpected Canoe crew to find themselves in the water. Turns or twists can throw it off course leading to a sideways or spin which can also tip over the Canoe. Life vests should be worn at all times you are on the water.
Solution– Seating arrangements and paddling should be even across the canoe. The middle of the seats and line from front to back is the safest space. When you tip, retrieving items and paddles will help you to push the canoe to shallower waters. From there it can be emptied, and everyone can climb back in. If you are too far from a safe point, the canoe will float with some water in it. It is safest to move slowly until you reach a desired spot.
Hazard #3-There is a Downed Tree in Your Path-This scenario has many variables making it impossible to have a one size fits all answer. Any obstacles that block your path should be taken seriously. You will need to have an understanding of trends and currents in your specific location. The depth of the water, the size of the obstacle and surroundings are all factors to consider.
Solution– There are many possibilities depending on your situation. If there is a safe passage around the obstacle that is one option. Your next theoretical course if the current is in your favor is to potentially manually move over the object. You can also detour to safer shores or abandon ship. The main rule to remember is do not attempt to go underneath the obstacle. You may find yourself caught in a current or in a piece of the tree. This is dangerous and can result in injuries or impairments.