Keeping Your Canoe Upright

One goal of an enjoyable canoe trip is keeping you and your gear dry. That means keeping your canoe upright. Here are some easy tips on how.

One tip a canoe paddler can do is kneel down in the canoe. If you’ve sat in the seat all of your canoeing life, you’ll immediately notice how much more stable the canoe is when you kneel down.

Spread your knees so they touch the area where the sides and floor of the canoe meet. Now rest your rear on front of the seat. It’s that easy. No need to kneel the whole trip, but it’s a good idea when going through rough water.

Don’t want to kneel on those tender, bare knees? Wear knee pads, the kind volleyball players wear. Or, toss a thin closed-cell pad on the floor of the canoe in front of you. If you find kneeling to your liking, you may want to glue the pad permanently to the floor of the canoe.

Canoes sometimes flip when paddlers get into their boats. No worries when you use this technique: Stand beside the canoe. Now place one hand on the left gunwale and one on the right gunwale, so you have a steady hand-hold on both gunwales. Now, place one foot on the floor of the canoe. Here you’ve got three points of contact with the boat. Now shove off with your other foot that’s on shore, then sit or kneel down.

On a river in a canoe or kayak, most obstacles that are going to cause trouble are located on the outside of bends in the stream. Going into a bend, keep to the inside of the bend because the current is naturally going to push you to the outside.

It’s easy to get distracted chit-chatting your way downstream, enjoying the scenery and wildlife. Pay attention to what’s downriver. If you see a rock or tree ahead, plan far in advance how you’re going to avoid it. Don’t wait until you’re 10 yards upstream from trouble to plan your moves.

Most importantly, wear your life jacket so you’ll live to enjoy a lifetime of river adventures.

Article courtesy of Guest Author Flip Putthoff