Outdoor Education: How to Change Places in a Canoe

Outdoor Education: How to Change Places in a Canoe

Dick Moss, Editor, PE Update.com

After paddling for a while on an outing, some students may wish to switch places in their canoe (“Hey, when do I get to steer?”). While the safest option is to paddle to shore, at times an on-water switch may be necessary, and it certainly is quicker. Here's how.

The On-Water Position Switch
Instruct the stern paddler to move up to the center of the canoe, squeezing into the middle and crouching as low as possible.

The bow paddler moves backwards over the stern paddler, sliding her hands down the gunwales and staying as low as possible.

Once the former bow paddler reaches the back seat, she stabilizes the canoe by placing a paddle in the water. The former stern paddler then moves forward and assumes the bow seat.

1. Laurie Gullion, Canoeing, Human Kinetics Publishers, 1994. 
2. Cliff Jacobson, Canoeing & Camping Beyond the Basics, 3rd Edition, Falcon, 2007.

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