How Do You Stay Safe in A Canoe

Nowadays canoeing has become a weekend sport in the US. However, canoeing is one of the safest paddling sports. But, 31% of the canoeing participants are beginners according to the report of 2018. That’s why there are some risks while you are canoeing in large rivers or tight canals.

But there are safety issues in every game or outdoor activity. So, you must follow some instructions to be safe in canoeing.

Therefore, these tips below on safety when canoeing will help you to get the answer to “how do you stay safe in a Canoe?” So, Let’s table this!


Is Canoeing Dangerous

Canoeing is not a dangerous activity if you have enough experience. Additionally, because of the lack of cautions and some mismanagement it can be dangerous sometimes. Some of the reasons that makes canoeing challenging are:

PFD issues

Mostly, people ignore Personal Flotation Devices(PFD) while canoeing or forget it at home. Anyway, forgetting or ignoring these stuffs can hurt you badly as they are specially designed for movement in currents in canoeing or kayaking.


As canoeing needs lots of energy, dehydration can often occur at any time. Also, you can feel dizziness and fatigue for a long padding time. So, lack of water can result in hazards when canoeing.

Motorboat issue

Motorboats or powerboats can be a threat when you are canoeing in a large lake or river. Specifically, in the large-size canoes, you will get less visibility. So, the heavy boats can damage your canoe for its more incredible speed and size.


The undercut rocks and strainers sometimes cause accidents by harming the surface. Also, heavy water pressure can put you out of the canoe because of facing the rocks.

Weather Issues

Rough weather conditions can make canoeing a disaster. If you go canoeing without any idea, the trip will become a nightmare for you.

What Must You Have In A Canoe

Over 250 incidents involving canoeing in 2018, eventually, because of a lack of safety kits. Therefore, you must carry proper equipment when you are set to go into the shallow water with a canoe. They are,

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    Life jackets – There are five categories of PFDs here. But we will prefer Type III and Type V PFD life jackets for their versatility of actions.
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    SPD – While canoeing, you have to be sure if there are any motorboats around. Therefore, you must carry the sound-producing device to be aware of your position to others.
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    Navigational light – Sometimes, weather can be unfriendly in the way of canoeing. So, a navigational light can be a lifesaver when you are going through the fog in cold weather.
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    VDS – A flare or pyrotechnic can help you to contact coastguards when in danger. Therefore, visual distress signals are a charm in need.
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    Safety tools – You can also have float bags, helmets, spare paddles, insect repellent first aid kits, medicines, etc., with you. However, it depends on who you are going with and where.

How to Stay Safe in A Canoe

There are specific steps you have to follow before you get into the canoe and after that. So, we divided it into three stages – Before canoeing, Getting into the canoe, and While canoeing.

Before Canoeing

First, you have to pick the canoeing place, whether it’s a river or a lake. If you are going with family, it will be better to have one of the best family canoes. Then. You must wear dresses according to the acclimate weather and gather all the tools given above for extreme conditions. Later, check if there is enough food and water for everyone in there.

Lastly, you must check every inch of the canoe and repair it if needed. Also, you can share with your friends or any adult buddy about your plan who is experienced in it for safety.

Getting Into The Canoe

Next, always have someone to grab the canoe when getting into it. You can restrict all jerky movements to reach your seat in it. Also, walk from the middle and lay low until everyone sets into their positions.

Now, wear your life jacket or life vest thoroughly and use sunscreen products if it’s a clear sunny day. After that, check all the devices if they are working for the last time before the start. Then, you can start canoeing to your desired place using the map.

While Canoeing

Start canoeing at a slow pace and keep it low. Also, please keep it away from the shores and don’t stand up until it’s needed. Therefore, we will prefer to keep it closer to the side of the river or lake. But you have to be careful about the hanging trees or the branches around the shore.

If you are near a motorboat, signal it through a light or sound device instantly. Also, keep the balance holding the side of the canoe when it hits the big waves.

Here, downstream can be an issue as it pulls the canoe faster. So, you have to paddle it thoroughly with skill, following the rocks or obstacles under the water. But don’t drink when you are peddling, as it can create a mess with shaky situations.

Lastly, panicking makes any incident worse and makes it a disaster. So, always keep calm and stay with the canoe, whatever the view is. Also, make every safety kit usable when you need them.

Therefore, you must use the ground rules of canoeing when you are in danger, or your canoe gets damaged. Also, contact the coastguard or rescue team if you face any safety difficulties.

In conclusion, canoeing can be a fantastic journey if you keep the safety in a canoe. Therefore, we discussed everything to keep you safe while canoeing. Also, this article will help you to choose the perfect tools and what and how’s about it.

So, fix the day and start canoeing now!

Cindy Herrera

I’m Cindy, a free-spirited outdoor enthusiast. Since childhood, I was very much exposed to the outdoor environment. Our family frequently goes on weekend camps and my father, who was a skilled hunter, used to teach me and my siblings valuable things about wildlife survival. Now that I’m a married woman with two wonderful kids, it’s hard to keep up with outdoor activities while parenting at the same time… so I made this blog to share the best of my knowledge, experiences, and tips from other bloggers to you, my fellow outdoor enthusiast because merely talking about the outdoors makes me feel closer to it.

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