If you’ve ever watched someone try to get into a rowboat, kayak, or canoe without tipping it over, then you understand how difficult it can be. It’s even more difficult once you’re actually inside the watercraft and out on the open water. Keep reading to find out how to canoe without tipping over.
Best Practices While in a Canoe
The most important part of bring on the water is being aware of your surroundings. Different types of boats react differently to your movements and knowing what those are will help you on the water, whether you’re an experienced boater or a fence contractor who’s never been out on the water.
Getting In and Out of the Canoe
Getting in and out of the canoe improperly can cause the canoe to flip. Until you are situated in the center of the boat, things can get dicey. Always have one person keep the canoe steady while you board. Keep your feet in the middle of the canoe. There’s an imaginary line from the front of the canoe to the back. Do not step on either side of that line with getting in or out of the boat. Hold on with both hands, making it possible for one foot to leave the center of the boat and onto the dock, or from the dock and into the boat.
Once you’ve made it into the boat with no issues, you need to find your center of gravity. The lower the better. Just as it is when you’re getting in the canoe, when you’re inside you want to stick towards the middle of the boat. If you try to stand or adjust too quickly, this could cause the boat to tip over.
Kneeling vs. Sitting
Most experienced canoe users prefer to kneel rather than sit. Newer canoes actually come with higher seats to allow for kneelers to lean back against the seat and still be comfortable. Unfortunately, if someone new to canoeing does not know this, they may end up in the water. Kneeling gives you a wider stance than sitting does. This will keep the boat secure and dry on the inside.
Limit Your Movements
This one seems obvious, but it never hurts to explain. The less movement you make, the lesser of a chance you have to tip your canoe over. If you need to reach for something outside your center of gravity, make sure your partner knows so they can try to counterbalance your movement. If you see tree branches or other obstacles in your way, don’t try to move them out of the way. Instead, dip lower to avoid them. Trying to move them may result in you tipping the canoe.
If Your Canoe Tips Over
If you flip your canoe over, do your best to flip it back over and get inside of it as quickly as possible. If you cannot flip it over, try to climb on top of the upside-down hull.