Canoeing Safety

Canoeing Safety

Don't Rock the Boat, Baby! While canoeing a safe outdoor activity, there is always a chance your canoe will tip over. Most drowning occurs when a boat capsizes or someone falls overboard, according to an article in Field and Stream magazine.

If this happens, don't panic. Stay upstream of the boat to avoid being pinned between the boat and a rock. Angle your way up to shore instead of paddling straight, stay behind the canoe and hold on to it for floatation.

Here are some additional tips for experts and beginners, alike:

  • Always wear a life jacket
  • Have someone steady the canoe so you can get in without tipping
  • Canoe with at least three people, or two crafts
  • Join a local canoe club or take lessons to learn about canoe safety
  • Never attempt rivers or rapids beyond your ability; progress gradually from one skill level to the next
  • Never stand in a canoe away from shore; always sit on the seats
  • Do not canoe in inclement weather
  • In waterproof bags, bring some extra clothes, sunscreen, a first aid kit, snacks and water, and a map
  • Carry a canoeing whistle, just in case you need help; yelling can't be heard from very far away
  • Tie your equipment to the canoe in case it tips over
  • Bring a rope to pull a swimmer to safety or tow another boat 

It's also important to know the area you plan to canoe. Is the water high and fast or low and slow? Enjoy the great outdoors safely this summer! 

Copyright 2024 National Safety Council

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