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Canoe Navigation & Canoe Safety

Solo Canoeing & The Wind

If you are taking out the canoe by yourself, you should be sitting in the front seat facing the back. If you sit in the back seat, the wind will whip you around relentlessly!  You should also place gear (or a large rock) in front of you for ballast.

Solo Steering The Canoe

If you are canoeing solo or are the sole paddler, the canoe will have a tendency to turn to the side opposite the side you are paddling on.  You can correct this in one of two ways:

  • Alternate sides that you paddle on every few strokes.  If with another person you will get them a bit wet however!  When paddling alone this method works well.

  • Use the J-stroke.  As you complete a normal stroke, rotate the paddle so your thumb points forward and the paddle sweeps away from the canoe and countersteers toward the side you are paddling on.

Things Not To Do In A Canoe!

  • Never stand when with another person, ever.
  • Never take a canoe out in overly windy conditions.
  • Never take your canoe in flooded rivers.
  • Never take a small child out unless both you and the child are wearing proper life vests at all times.
  • It is strongly advised not to take a canoe out in icy waters that would quickly result in hypothermia in the event the canoe is overturned.
  • Never run rapids without making sure of what you are up against.  Scout the stretch of waters first.