If exploring area waterways is on your bucket list — try using a canoe! Not only are they super portable, but they’re relatively inexpensive and beginner-friendly.
Before you head out on your next big adventure, brush up on these tips to keep your canoe trip as safe and stress-free as possible.
Pack the Right Gear
- Lifejacket and floatable cushion
- Extra clothes, sunscreen, a first aid kit, snacks and water (store them in a waterproof bag)
- Rope (to tow people and to tie equipment to the canoe)
Tricks for a Stress-Free Adventure
- Make sure to canoe with at least one other person on calm water, and with three others and another canoe in rougher water.
- Always check the weather. Hold off if the forecast calls for lightening, wind gusts or visibility issues.
- Pack light. The sides of the canoe should be at least six inches above the water when loaded.
- Stay comfortable! Wear synthetic clothes, rather than cotton, especially when it’s cold.
- Prepare for the unexpected. Learn how to flip a canoe when you’re in the water and how to re-enter a swamped canoe.
- Never stand up.
- Use the seats for the steadiest ride.
- Know the water you’re traveling — use a map and a compass in any unexplored water.
- Never attempt rivers or rapids beyond your ability. Don’t be afraid to walk ahead and check it out if you’ve never before traveled those particular rapids.
- If the canoe does tip over, hang on to it and kick swim to shore, if possible. Canoes will typically float, so it’s safer for you to stay with it rather than try to swim to shore alone.
- Get out of a metal canoe immediately if you see lightning.
- Stay near the shoreline instead of crossing a large lake in case you need to take fast action if the weather changes.