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How To Get Back Into A Canoe From The Water
There are times when your canoe flips and there is nothing that you can do about it. This is a reality that any paddler needs to know about, but most importantly, you need to know how to get back into your canoe from the water. The steps to take will vary slightly depending on whether you are alone or in the canoe with a partner.
Empty The Canoe
After you have flipped the canoe back over, you need to empty it. There are some people who feel that a semi-filled canoe will be easier to get back into from the water. The reason for this is the fact that the sides will be lower.
The problem with doing this is that the canoe can fill completely while you are getting into it. This can cause it to capsize or tip you out again. It is better to empty as much of the water from the canoe as possible before you try to get into it. There are a few different bailing techniques that you can use and you should use the one that you are most comfortable with.
Getting Back In With A Partner
If you are in the canoe with someone else, you need to work together to get back into the canoe from the water. Once the canoe is empty, you will need to position yourselves correctly. It is recommended that you are on opposite sides of the canoe and close to the center. You should not be in line with each other as this will cause you to get in each other’s way on re-entry.
The next step is a bit tricky as you have to climb into the canoe at the same time. In unison, you will need to push down on the side of the canoe and pull your body out of the water. If you are not in sync the canoe could tip over and put you both back into the water.
As you both push the canoe down, you need to place as much of your torso on the gunwale as possible. At this point, you will be able to start getting into the canoe. In unison, you should rotate your bodies and lift one leg over the side and into the canoe. There should be a bit of give and take during this to ensure that the canoe stays stable as you do this.
Once you each have a leg in the canoe, you will have multiple contact points with it. You should each have a leg, both hands, your stomach and chest on or in the canoe. The other leg can now be brought into the canoe.
Getting Back In On Your Own
Getting back into your canoe from the water can be a bit harder when you are on your own. The way that you get back in after emptying the canoe will vary depending on the hull shape. There are some hull shapes that allow you to climb back into the canoe from the middle, but this is not always the case.
When you are alone, it is better to get back into the canoe a bit to the end. This will place your weight on the gunnels and closer to the centreline. You will need to get in using a single smooth movement. To start, you will need to grab the gunnels and put your chest inside the canoe followed by the rest of your body. Once in, you can rotate and do what you need to.
There are other methods that you can use when you are on your own if you are nervous about pulling yourself into the canoe from the water. Many solo canoeists use a stirrup that is hung from the gunwale to help pull them in. This is a particularly useful method if you have been injured while exiting the canoe.
If you are nervous about the canoe flipping as you get in, you need to use a counterweight. If you have any cargo with you in the canoe, this can be used to weight down the other side of the canoe as you pull yourself in. However, you need to be careful because a very heavy counterweight will be hard to pull out of the water once you are in the canoe.
Once you are in the canoe, you will need to get situated again. It is important that you do not make any sudden movements at this point because this could tip you back over. Everyone in the canoe will need to get into a comfortable position while staying as low to the floor as possible.
If you need to get back into your canoe from the water, there are a number of steps that you need to take. The process will vary slightly when you are paddling with someone else.