re-entering canoe

canoe re-entry
thanks everyone,I shall check the advice from you all.Won’t be until next year,the water is way to cold.Again I thank you

Try towing…
Have you ever tried to swim-tow a swamped canoe or kayak? It’s a daunting task to accomlish in calm conditions. In wind/waves? Unless you are very near shore or have a buddy to help (you should), either re-enter and paddle it back swamped if you have to or abandon and swim.

This of course assumes you are wearing appropriate cold water protection. If you are under-protected, swimming is ill advised and getting out of the water (back into your craft) is a matter of life and death.


After lurking for a while …
This has been a most fascinating exchange of ideas.

Best of all, I like the idea of practicing canoe re-entrys on a warm, calm day. For sure, it could be a nice way to cool off and get some exercise on a warm summers day. When I’ve done this, I’ve ended up a bit bruised and, invariably at some point, feeling like someone kicked me in the balls. Other than some possible pain-pleasure connection, I see no real value in the exercise.

In my experience, being on the wrong side of the gunnel has somehow been connected to rushing water, waves, wind, or immoveable objects – none of these being conditions conducive to climbing back into a canoe AND STAYING THERE!!! There is certainly no similarity between the adverse conditions that tip one over and the nice warm calm water where its fun(?) to practice.

You get back into your swamped canoe in the same adverse conditions that dumped you … hmmmm … you capsized when the canoe was empty of water and now with it swamped you’re going to do what? Unlike oil tankers, canoes do not become more stable and manueverable as you fill them with liquid.

Contrary to the nasty rumors spread by kayakers, canoes are really quite stable. Their stability is improved by kneeling, more so by flotation, and even more so by being used in conditions they are designed for.

I think, basically, you shouldn’t be out in conditions, from which you can’t rescue yourself by getting to shore (with your canoe and with your paddle) on your own power.

having run a livery
for quite some time, I can tell you that besides waves, etc. there are numerous ways to capsize a canoe by accident even on a fairly calm lake!

I’ve seen people in tandems leaning over to one side, both paddlers at the same time to go after a dropped camera, ie. That’ll do the trick even if both are kneeling. Or I placed my dog once in a tandem with two fairly experienced paddlers. Doggy likes to stand on the gunnels with both her front paws-with a 110lbs dog, that’s a sure capsize as well if you’re not prepared. I could give you a lot more examples on that subject and don’t agree on your point of view. There are always situations where the waves pick up while you do a crossing or where you come around a corner, out of the lee and some unexpected wave hits you. Or a squall on a lake, or…

The Lake Temiskaming disaster is only one example how terribly wrong things can go if you’re not prepared. And especially with soloing on your own, re-entry skill can decide over life or death of a paddler. As the poste above stated: you can’t tow a canoe for a distance-especially not if it’s loaded. You either get back in or you let go of it. The latter is quite a call for a solo paddler doing a real wilderness trip (not talking Bowron Lakes here)

not only MHO

I humbly yield to your experience

– Last Updated: Nov-22-06 3:26 PM EST –

As a matter of principle and respect, I don't argue with Canadian paddlers. I also don't argue with people with profiles like yours.

Generalizations about paddling will always get you in trouble. The tandem world is different than the solo world. Wilderness is different than front country. The lake experience is different than the river experience, which is different than the white water experience. The tripper is different than the big flat bottomed barge.

I have spent several long lunches at the outfitter at Cache Lake marveling at what renters can do or not do with a canoe. It's no surprise that many go for a cold swim. I'm not sure they are a standard by which we should measure training and skills.

I still maintain that you need to know your canoe and your skill level; and you shouldn't venture further from shore than your ability to do a self rescue. IMHO thinking you can rescue yourself by climbing back into your canoe in adverse conditions AND STAYING there is not a great strategy.


fair enough…
shouldn’t be your sole strategy but part of the back up plan.

Unexpierenced paddlers sometimes give great examples on what can happen-things the more experienced species would never have thought about. Nevertheless they can happen to

even the most seasoned paddler just because we never thing about it…

And btw-‘eh’ is only used by those born in our beautiful country. I’m not one of them.

But I do like beavers and I wear a fur hat (sometimes)…

FYI - Kanawa article
Kanawa magazine’s current issue has an article that discusses different experiments with re-entry to a single canoe in deep water.

It specifically addresses canoes with spray decks, but the results are the same -

Grab the upset canoe by the ends or both gunwales (or use a “leash”-thing) and roll the canoe over (harder with a spray-decked canoe).

Get horizontal in the water at or near the wide point of the canoe, pull yourself up, and flop yourself in (also more challenges in a spray-decked canoe - but at least it will likely have much less water in it and you stand a better chance at paddling and bailing out the water).

You could also search the threads on the Canadian Canoe Routes Forum.