Exiting Canoe

Stupid question probably, but haven’t been canoeing long… What is the best way to exit a canoe from this situation:

On lake, paddle to side of island in lake… no shore… when pull up to side, the land is slightly above the canoe. My 5yo son and I did this, but I held on to the land while he exited, then I, very carefully, maneuvered out while trying to keep canoe from leaving us :wink:

Same for re-entering the canoe also, without getting wet…

Is there a good way to secure the boat to land in this situation when you can’t reach a tree or such?

Thanks in advance!


Is there a GOOD way?
Not sure. But I usually dig the paddle DEEP into the mud or firmly on the bottom on the river/lake side, then grab the shore like you did. That is assuming it is not 20 feet deep on the side opposite the shore.

The second guy out has his work cut out for him. I usually would have the person on shore hold the bow line once they are stable. You might also attach a stern line and have the successful shore lander hold both of them so the canoe stays against the shore while you attempt a dry exit.

That way, when I flop onto shore and the boat tries to skoot to the middle of the river or lake, at least I can just crawl out, maybe wetting a foot or two and not have to swim out to retrieve the canoe.

There is nothing pretty about the situation you present. I will be very interested to see what other solutions are proferred. Helicopter lift maybe?

You’ve got the gist of it

– Last Updated: Mar-14-08 10:27 AM EST –

Every situation can be different, but basically, you get better at the standing-steppingout-climbing thing with practice. If you can, pick a spot with tree trunks or roots for hand and footholds, and in that case, you can tie a short length of rope from one of the middle thwarts to a root. If that rope holds the boat tight to the bank it makes things a lot easier (tying-off the center of the boat works a lot better than tying one end, and is just as good and much easier than tying both ends). If you can't do that, make sure you are holding one of the painters (those long ropes attached to each end of the boat) WHILE you climb out. That way, if you need to let the boat "escape" during your final scramble, you can concentrate on getting up the bank since your boat won't run away from you.

here’s one to try

– Last Updated: Mar-14-08 12:29 PM EST –

Pull up parallel to the shore, right up against the bank, on the water side, stick your paddle straight down into the bottom, keeping the shaft vertical and up against the gunnel. Then, pull the top of the paddle in toward you. This will pry the boat tighter up against the bank. You can also do this while standing up and exiting.

Caveat: This technique is only for paddles and boats that you don’t mind maybe getting some marks on.

It kind of looks like this:


“I” is the paddle “u” is the canoe and “/" is the bank

my OC-1 is real tippy
getting in and out I place the paddle across the gunwales, with the blade on land, holding the paddle firmly to the thwart with one hand( the one opposite the land). Now set your balance slightly toward the blade, anchoring it to the shore, and enter/exit.

A variation of Clarion’s technique
I’ll pull up to shore, stand up, plant my pole to the outside and pry the canoe hard into the shore. Then I just step up and out.

Takes a little practice.


Clarions method is OK
if there is a bottom…Amazing how deep some water can get in one or two feet. Guideboatguys method is what I use for chickees…where the platform is over your head.

If your kid is nimble enough you can nose in to a crack or crevice in the rock Dont bridge the boat but hold it steady to shore…Your child is old enough to exit with painter in hand. If the kid is heavy enough they can sit astride the bow to steady the boat while you crouch and work your way up the boat…keeping your head in the gunwales at all times.

This is a common dilemma for those of us who travel smooth rock treeless shores…there is no pretty answer!

and a pole :wink: NM

– Last Updated: Mar-15-08 3:21 PM EST –

actually a message. This is in response to chuck's. Can't seem to get the "response" in the right place, too low, then too high.

Here’s how I do it
After searching far and wide for a beach or slope or some place to land other than a deep water shore, and then after failing to find a place with a tree or branch or large boulder or something else to hang on to, then I slowly sideslip into shore. When I can’t reach bottom with the paddle to stabilize myself, then I get whatever hold on shore I can with my right hand and arm–tuffs of grass, poison ivy, dirt–while desperately clutching the painter and my paddle with the left hand.

Then I raise myself slowly into a crouch directly up in the center of the boat (so as not to push the boat away from shore) until my right knee is above the gunnel and then in one quick flop put my right knee onto shore, behind my right hand and keep rolling until I’m on my back (usually in the mud–although sometimes it’s sharp stones instead) with God willing, the painter and paddle still in my left hand.

It’s not nearly as graceful as it sounds when you see it in person.

That sorta sounds like my bog roll
there is no bottom under bogs…if you step out of your boat you will push it away…plus on bogs stepping out on a foot guarantees you (because all the weight is on a few square inches) that you will go through the bog.

I usually travel solo so I roll out on my side hanging on to the painter. I might be damp but am not stuck to my crotch in the bog.

Exiting Canoe
Wow… thanks for all the responses… I’ll keep all those in mind… especially if we go back to the spot in question (which we probably will).

The pry technique would probably work in this area, since don’t think is extremely deep.