My Canoe looked like an "L"

This was my first run on the Little river and my canoe was swimming in the first 30 seconds… over the whole trip our boat swam 4 times and the other 2. my question is though. on 2 of the swims my boat was pinned and bent in half. it then popped back out like a giant rubber maid bin, but left bad creases. are these ok? should I do anything to help them? I am lucky that none of them broke through. at one point it was past 90 degrees on a rock.

Thanks for the help.


how to help
What was that, 6 dumps and 2 pins?

You might want to consider: 1) trying easier rivers 2) taking some dumping prevention clinics and 3) making sure your boat has lots of well-installed floatation.

You may also want to get a “pin kit” with ropes and caribiners and take a river rescue course.

As for the creases that are already there, they’re probably fine. If/when you want to reinforce them, you can support the areas on the inside on the hull with fiberglass or thin ABS sheeting.

C’mon, more details! What’s your boat? What kind of river? What kind of group? What kind of dumps, swims and pins?

Glad it was only a few creases. Been there.


Sorry You Bent Your Boat
I had that happen to me, but it wasn’t in a river :wink:


That’s what flotation is for
Flotation will keep your runaway boat floating higher and much less likely to pin. IMO you only have too much when there’s no room for you in the boat. Keeping air in any boat whether by bags, gear or bulkheads also makes it much easier to recover.

If I see a boat with no flotation float by on the river I just let it go. Wrestling 500 to 800 lbs of water filled boat is not my idea of a good time.

This is Scottb’s pic of my Explorer on Pine Creek.

That’s a 16 canoe rigged for solo & poling. I consider the space between the airbags minimal for poling. If I rigged it for tandem, the end bags would be smaller and I might use a center bag if I didn’t need the space for gear or me.

With Royalex and poly boats, pins usually break gunnels, thwarts and seats. The creases somewhat weaken the hull but there are many boats, including my Explorer that take a crease or two and still provide years of service. YMMV.


It was a warm spring day

– Last Updated: Apr-28-07 7:38 AM EST –

... I have swam and tubed in the lower section of this river. but the first miles is in the national park and had a few hidden class III's and one III+ to IV.

We actually made it through most of the biggers stuff and would pin or get tossed comming out of them.

It is the Little river in TN. Suppose to be a class II and down.(which I am more comfortable with) we would come through a chute, and start to calm down and then Bang... down and out we would go.

As for floatation, we had every open Inch of the center filled up with float bags. I honestly think that is what let us pull the canoe off of the rocks. Under the bow seat was open and that was it. I have ran rivers before with out trouble, but this one was rockier and really Kicked our trash. Both my canoes are in need of repair and we can't wait to get them back up and running to do it again. we will see if some experience helps and if we are smart enough to portage the larger 2 that ate boats.

Oh... and my boat is a 15ft dagger that is close to flat bottom and my other is a 16ft Mad River Adventurer that is old and in rough shape, but still does the job well


I usually run my 15ft solo. My brother who has never set foot in a canoe came and ran stern for the trip. althought I would have probably dumped on some of those, he would jump around and lean against me… LOL he had a blast though and wants to get a canoe or Kayak now.


from your description, it sounds like

– Last Updated: Apr-28-07 4:48 PM EST –

... you guys took on a good bit of water going through the rough stuff: "we would come through a chute, and start to calm down and then Bang... down and out we would go."

Is that what you think happened? If so there are techniques and some DIY gear to help minimize it (leaning back, picking dryer lines, back paddling to slow down and give the boat more time to rise, moving the seats toard the center). Sometimes you need a dryer boat, sometimes you need to find other places (or at least lower water levels) to paddle.

Be careful though. No one here wants to read about someone getting into real trouble after giving them advice on how to run bigger water than they are really ready for. So, don't take any posts that may appear here personally.

Along those lines ... do not get in front of a loose boat. Fight like hell to get behind it and then realize that you can still end up quickly passing. Do not unpin or approach a pinned a boat from the downstream side. Keep your feet up when swimming, if you think you've got them up, raise them some more unless you're toes are already out of the water. But really, think about a swiftwater rescue course if you are going to play around in water like that.

.... So, do you think you were taking on water and that's what sent you over?

edit: Oops I realize I accidently typed don't approach a pin from the "upstream side." Duh!

wreck that boat yet. there is still alot of BSF to paddle.

Taking on water
Was some of it. we didn’t really plan on running water that big. I actually(and sadly) have taken a water safety and recover course when I worked on the Nantahala river. the bigest problem was having 2 inexperience paddlers with us(1 in each boat). I do know not to get infront of those freight trains when I flip. I usually would just grab the bow painter and goto shore. letting the boat float down and then we would get it out. I have ran water solo before that was close to this level and did fine, I guess the stern weight and well, him freaking out didn’t help. I am not totally a noob, but I am always open to good advice and never take any suggestion personally. I really appreciate the help this board gives.


My Red dagger is still in good shape, just some new creases in the hull. the mad river suffered some Gunwale damage, but they are wood and were rotten from the previous owner…so I was planning to replace them anyway. I also always have my dagger outburst WW kayak. it is alittle old school but works well.


good attitude

The other to think about is to analyze how the pins happened.

Did you dump, and then the boat pinned on its own whil it was floating freely? If so, there’s not much you can do other than scouting and not dumping. Good thing you had sufficient flotation or you may have lost the boat!

Or, did you broadside rocks while you were still paddling, and then bail out on the upstream side? If so, it’s important to keep paddling as long as you can, don’t grab the gunwales, and to lean onto the rock so that the water supports the bottom of the canoe and you can wiggle off to one side or the other. Don’t give up too early!


2 pins
One happened just after we were tossed. the second one happened as we came out of the rough water and it looked like it was slowing down. we didn’t see the rock that was just an inch or two under the water. we hit it at about a 45 degree angle, took on water and then it started to wrap around with both of us in it. my brother bailed and floated down to river left while I grabbed the bow painter and jumped on to the rocks on river right. After a few quick tugs it came free and popped like a giant rubber maid bin. Kase swam over(remember the current was slower where this happened) and we checked the boat. it was good minus some bad looking scrapes and spider creases.


How well secured is your flotation?
Some people don’t secure their flotation well enough, so that it just pops up higher than the the gunnels when the boat fills with water- rendering it essentially useless.

You should secure the flotation with cord running over the top, spaced every six inches or so.

It was pretty tight with …
they didn’t really float up. I am going to setup the bags differently next time too. I have a total of four bags for one boat. that is for solo. I usually just use 2 with tandem in the center.

I just did some expoxy repairs and did a liner cover for the bottom of it. I really think I can run that water we tossed on solo. I have ran similar stuff before and want to give it a try solo.



– Last Updated: Apr-29-07 12:14 AM EST –

Here is a video link of one of the rapids... we took it river left and swam. this was the easiest of the 4.

Also looking at the water level in the video I think we ran the river with it a little low. we did a lot of rock scraping and I think more CFS would have helped.

I only have a Yoked Thwart and no other. I think I am going to add another thwart to the boat to help with staibility and rigidity would that help?