Canoeing for the First Time

Canoeing across a tranquil lake or down a whitewater river are both amazing ways to enjoy the water. But what if it’s your first time? Although it’ll be a new experience, learning the basics will help reduce your risk of toppling over and increase your fun on the water.

How to Canoe

If possible, start in a flatwater lake. This environment will help you get a handle on things without dangers like rapids and rocks. Dress for the water temperature and wear a life jacket.

Your first step will be getting into the canoe. Put your paddle in the boat so you have two hands to help you. If you can, ask someone to hold the canoe steady. Otherwise, get in slowly and center your weight so the canoe does not rock too much. Sitting in the back allows you to steer better, but you may be able to balance more in the center. Lower your center of gravity as much as you can, either by kneeling or sitting.

Next, practice paddling. Reach forward with your paddle, but be careful not to lean your body. Reaching too far forward can put you off balance! Then, place the paddle’s blade in the water and pull it back to you using your arms and core muscles. Keep the paddle close to the boat if you’re going straight. Using a wide-angle will cause you to turn. 

Practice turning and going in circles. If you ever need to avoid an obstacle, it’s important to be comfortable going around it.

Canoeing Tips

In addition to the above steps, the canoeing tips below will assist any canoeing beginner in finding their confidence on the water:

Learn the Different Strokes

You can learn a few different strokes that will help you control your canoe. The most common are the forward stroke and J stroke. Even though you can still control your canoe without knowing many strokes, you will find you can go a lot farther while expending less energy if you learn the correct techniques.

Keep Your Paddle Shaft Vertical

When trying to go forward, know that the more vertical your paddle is, the more power you will get. Keeping the paddle shaft vertical will help you get to where you’re going more quickly by enhancing your forward propulsion.

Wear a Life Jacket

Anytime you are in the water, you need to wear a personal floating device. Even experienced canoers can tip over sometimes, so make sure you’re prepared in case this happens. To protect your gear, strap it to your canoe so you don’t lose it if you capsize. 

Use Sunscreen and Bug Spray

The sun will reflect off the water and cause burns, so it’s best to be safe by using sunscreen. The best times to go canoeing are also often the best times for bugs to be out. Bring bug repellant to make your trip more pleasant.

Canoeing Made Easy With EZ Dock

Love canoeing? You can make canoeing even easier by getting the EZ Dock canoe launcher for your dock. Suitable for people of all experience levels, this launcher will stabilize your vessel so you can get in and out of it with no fear of capsizing. It makes canoeing accessible for everyone and is even ADA-compliant. 

Request a quote for one of our canoe launchers today, or browse our blog for more helpful articles.