re-entering canoe

any tips on reentering a flipped canoe alone?I have tried from all directions,ended up with bruises all over and still no closer to being in the canoe

Need more info
What boat do you have, will the boat have filled with water or half-filled, how much weight or upper body strength do you have, are you wearing a PFD, water temperature, how rough are the conditions, and is it better to just swim to shore?

Check archives…
This subject has been thoroughly discussed, and numerous responses posted, on several occasions in the past 2 years.

But then again, maybe someone has something new…


her’s what works for me

– Last Updated: Nov-18-06 9:49 PM EST –

without the help of a second canoe to lock the gunnels:
approach 1: at the centre of the canoe, I place my hands flat side by side on the buttom of the canoe near the dead centre, push up 'til my hips are above the gunnel, bend forward accros the hull and roll in.
approach 2: with my stronger arm, I grab the far side of the centre thwart/yoke and pull myself up until I can lift my onside leg in. Rest of the body follows rolling in..
the least weight as possible on the gunnel, as much as possible on the far side of the yoke.

with some gear in the canoe, it helps to shift it to the far side of the canoe for counterbalance.
There are a few more methods but those two work for me....
Having a second canoe around helps certainly a lot-that's one reason nearly all organisations don't recommend paddling alone.

And it is one way to drown if the canoe gets blown away on a lake once you're too exhausted to swim after it from trying to get in.

This is one task that definetily should be practised more often than it actually is. And those who can't do it shouldn'd be paddling alone- at least not on open water in remote areas. Rivers are a different story anyway.
Not only MHO.

I agree with canoecamp, both on suggested reentry techniques and practicing them. I got rid of a canoe I loved (a Wenonah Advantage) soley becuse I paddle alone, mostly big water, and could not master a reentry in that boat. My current boats are not as sleek or fast, but much easier to reenter in deep water.

If it is a normal every day canoe.
I can’t do it, and gave up many years ago.

I once won a bet from another old fart who claimed that he was taught how to do it when he was a kid in the boyscouts.

It was a OT Disco 158.

I sat on the shore and watched and chuckled until he was completely worn out and gave up.



can you get out of
a pool by pushing yourself up?

If so, than you can get back into most canoes (some are really bad for this…) as well-if your arms are strong enough, it’s about technique-I hold that bet…

I can do that part, but I thought
the rest of the story (not mentioned) was to get the water out.



Re-entering Device?
Is there a re-entering device for canoes? Something like a stirup?

I’m a canoer but I have kayaked a little and took a course. With a kayak I am able to re-enter with the paddle and float. I’m currious if there isn’t some simple device to help re-enter a canoe.

BTW as a kid I could re-enter a canoe without even thinking about it. I doubt I could do it now. Of course that was 40+ years ago and with a 17’ aluminum canoe.

Canoe re-entry
is something the Boy Scouts and Red Cross always taught. It seemed so easy when I was 12…

Like others have said, it is a skill that must be practiced often. I admit to not practicing it in years (but I do practice deep water re-entry in my touring kayak).

The idea of a stirrup for canoes is interesting. A paddle float is an accessory not normally carried in a canoe either. I shall try some techniques when the water is more temperate.


On our next warm water campout
I’d like to practice as well. Not a boy scout any more (sigh).


Difficulty on re-entering a canoe
The difficulty in getting a canoe show back on the road after and uplanned swim session is one reason why my wife and I have kayaks instead.

I also work with a fellow who has been a past Boy Scout canoe instructor, and who assures me that the feat CAN be accomplished without undue effort. As he is 62 years old, I’m hesitant to ask for a demonstration! (For reference, I’m 59!)

In fact, I’m thinking of picking up a SOT kayak to use as a means of setting out the marks (anchored buoys for racing) and rescuing disabled R/C sailboats, my most recent hobby, as our sea kayaks aren’t exactly the hot set-up for this job.

However, if I win the canoe in the drawing, I might have to give the re-entry bit a try! :slight_smile:


paddle float?
since I almost always have a long double ended paddle with me when I solo canoe I have wondered about doing ,but never tryed a paddle float self rescue , I have also though that it might be possible to use the float and paddle to help get most of the water out before the re-entery .Any way just something to think about and try next year.

makeshift stirrup
can be easily tied with a painter around a thwart. Works well only with a counterweight on the opposite site (your paddlepartner in the water as well)and with tandems (wider boats).

Careful: you wouldn’t be the first one who gets knocked out by the far gunnel comming after you…some canoes roll pretty fast (my wife learned that the hard way while doing a practise once)!

Emptying out a laden tripper is not the issue if all gear is tied in and watertight: the canoe floats high enough to bail. If you took a bailer with you and you still have it-(most don’t float) you can bail after chuckling out a lot of the water.

I always tuck my dry sponge into my bailer: together they float for quite a while. And I could tie all my gear together to a float and do a canoe over float rescue while in the water.

Stirrup idea sounds interesting
Has anyone tried attaching the stirrup to the opposite side of the canoe than the one you are entering from?

I’ve got to try this out when things warm up.

Paddle float re-entry
I have it envisioned this way:

Somebody on these boards described his being able to re-enter a swamped solo canoe by BACKING into it - sort of like hopping up onto and sitting on a table, except that you end up sitting in the bilge. Once inside, I would stabilize the boat with an extended paddle (either single or double bladed) while bailing.

At least, that is my idea. It may be a total failure when tried.


That was me Jim
I “was” able to do it easily and repeatedly in my Supernova. But, these caveats are worth keeping in mind. 1) This was with 60 inch endbags and 2) the Supernova is a fairly high sided canoe.

I now have to say, “was able to do it” because I no longer can. Installing a saddle put an end to it.

Ah Hah.
With those end-bags you were floating a lot higher than I might be in a MR-FS with no added flotation! Lemme do some calculations here…One 14’-6" x 30" boat filled with water, emptied via bailer at the rate of 0.75 gallons per stroke…equals one heckuva lot of baling.

An the plus side, I could probably swim right into the boat, considering how low Doc’s FS floated in the Yough.


The question is can you reenter
when you need to and not just in calm water. Also, is the canoe loaded? A loaded canoe that is flipped would be hard to right. How cold is the water? How much clothes are you wearing? I do most of my tripping up in Canada where the water and air temperature is cool or cold. When paddling in a cold rain my clothing is bulky and I have boots on. I wouldn’t waste too much time trying to reenter the canoe but head for shore with it in tow, especially if there was wind and waves. If reentering a canoe was an easy skill to learn there wouldn’t be the caveat when paddling a canoe not to wander too far from shore. If I decided to leave the shore behind, I’d start paddling a sea kayak.

I’ll take pictures
Because I’d like to see you guys (Doc, Jim, and Brian) doing solo canoe re-entries.

We practice re-entries in our kayaks often in warmer weather in Lake Erie.

So, tell me when, and I’ll bring the camera! :slight_smile: