How to Canoe

It's good to learn how to canoe from more experienced canoeists when you're just starting out in the sport.

Never canoe alone, even if you're an experienced canoeist. In the event of an accident you'll need somebody to be able to help you or to get help.

Make sure you're a good swimmer before you hop into a canoe. If your canoe overturns (especially in rough conditions like rapids), you'll need to have good swimming ability to be able to survive.

Even if you're a great swimmer, wear a life preserver. This is important no matter what, especially in the event that you are knocked unconscious during a canoeing accident.

Wear sunscreen! Even on a cloudy day, it's easy to get a sunburn in a canoe. A hat can also protect your face and head. If you're wearing sunglasses, wear a cord to keep from losing them while canoeing.

Make sure you have a canoe you're capable of maneuvering and appropriate-sized paddles. Check your canoe for areas that may need to be repaired. It's a good idea to bring an extra paddle, in case you lose one of yours.

Always check the weather and water conditions before heading out. You don't want to go out in conditions you're not ready for. If you do come across something you can't handle or an obstacle that would be difficult or impossible to get around, take your canoe out of the water and walk around it.

A waterproof bag is a must. You can carry food, your wallet (for identification and emergency purposes), a cell phone and first-aid kit in a waterproof bag. You should also bring a bag for trash; don't litter!

Be prepared to get wet. You'll have to get at least moderately wet in order to get into the canoe, but you should prepare yourself as though you'll be submerged. If temperatures are cooler, make sure you dress in layers. Bring a dry bag with dry clothes to change into in the event you have to get out of the canoe and you're not near your base. This is especially important in the event that you get lost.

Keeping in mind the likelihood that you'll end up soaked, where a waterproof (not resistant) watch.

Get reef shoes. You can wear old sneakers, but those can get heavy when wet.

A stainless water bottle is ideal to keep drinking water in. You should make an effort to stay hydrated; it's easy to get dehydrated without realizing it.

When canoeing in a group, have one canoe lead and one remain at the back. The rest of the group should remain in between.

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