Canoe re-entry and roll?

I don’t canoe (yet), but recent threads about canoe self-rescue have me curious: is the re-enter and roll rescue ever used by solo canoeists? If not, why not?

My only rolling experience is in whitewater boats. In the shallow rocky New England rivers I usualy paddle, once I’m out of the boat it’s easier and safer to swim it to shore, dump and start again. Even when I roll the open boat I still have to deal with a swamped canoe. In bigger(deeper) water I’m told that re-enter and roll is not unheard of.

In a touring type boat you would need some way to stay in the boat while rolling and once you are up you have to remove a large volume of water while dealing with whatever conditions flipped you. On open water it does seem as though some sort of self rescue would be a required skill.

what boat?
In a ww solo boat, it may be very difficult to climb back into your swamped canoe. So, re-enterying upsude down and rolling is an option, if you can roll. Contortion isn’t that big a deal because you can find an air pocket under your boat while you’re under there getting back into your outfitting. But it shouldn’t be very often that you are by yourself and out of your boat in deep water. I wouldn’t expose myself to trying that in a rocky ww river.

In a tandem boat, again - if you can roll your tandem tripping boat - I guess that’s an option if you’re in that situation (alone, deep water, and you didn’t roll originally for some reason) - kind of a rare situation I’d think. But most tandem, boats are much easier to climb back into swamped, especially with 2 people, so no need to re-enter upside down.

Short answer: sure it’s possible. Real-life answer: why/when?


Easier in a (decked) c-1.
Racing c-1s have a tighter cockpit, and large people like me can slip back in without needing to engage the thigh straps. Thighs are held in place by the front edge of the cockpit, and rear end by the back of the cockpit aperture. It would then be possible to roll… I remember executing such a roll when the skirt had blown loose and the cockpit had water in it. Although racing boats are often run with no added flotation beyond the foam walls, regular river running C-1s often have four float bags, and so much less water will be caught inside the boat than is the case with a kayak.

Most (decked) c-1 cockpits are designed by teams of lawyers, so that the rim is way too large and offers no support, and the hips swing loose unless one puts in foot-catching hip supports. A small racing cockpit allows easy entry/exit and provides support to the thighs and hips.