Course Overview: The Introduction to Canoeing course is designed as a short program emphasizing safety, enjoyment and skill acquisition for entry level individuals in the public, private and commercial setting. This course is appropriate for all canoe craft, including traditional decked canoes, inflatables and sit on tops. It is assumed the boats will be paddled solo. The instructor may want to limit this program to one type of craft, but should announce this prior to the start of the course.

The Paddling Environment:

 Wind

 Waves

 Weather

 Water

Personal Preparation:

 Personal ability

 Swimming ability

 Fitness, conditioning, and warm up

 Safe paddle and boat handling

 Safety and rescue considerations

 Personal equipment  

 Judgment. In addition to learning hard skills, the importance of developing personal judgment and group responsibility increases on more difficult paddling venues.

Getting Started:

 Personal Equipment:

 Canoe: types & parts

 Paddle: types, parts, length and hand position

 Life jackets (PFDs): fit and regulations

 Appropriate clothing: comfortable / protective

 Care of equipment

 Additional Personal and Group Equipment:

 Extra paddle, bilge pump, sling, dry bags, maps, water, food, sponge, hat, eyeglass strap,

whistle, foot protections, bug spray, sunscreen, first aid kit and location of equipment.

 Warm up to reduce injury

 Canoe carries

 Loading and unloading, racks, tie down

 Demo using straps or line and knots to secure craft to vehicle

 Launching/landing from land or docks

 Canoe Trim

 Posture, rocking and balance

 Basic Terminology

 Outfitting

 Land & water etiquette


All participants are to be asked to demonstrate a controlled capsize and an appropriate rescue.

 Water comfort and confidence

 Controlled capsize / wet exit

 Swim the boat to shore (short distance)

 Emptying a canoe

 Deep water exit / re-entry

 Assisted Rescues

– Reenter & Pump

– T / X-rescue

 Rescue Aides

– Sling

– Heel hook

– Others


 Spin: boat pivots in place

 Abeam: boat moves sideways without headway

 Forward: boat goes forward in a reasonably straight line

 Stopping: boat stops within a reasonable distance


 Forward

 Back (stopping)

 Draw

 Sculling draw/brace

 Sweep (including Stern Draw)

 Reverse Sweep

 Rudder

 Low brace to avoid capsize

Conclusion & Wrap Up:

 Group debrief / Individual feedback

 Course limitations

 Importance of First Aid & CPR

 Importance of additional instruction, practice, experience

 Importance of appropriate level of safety & rescue training

 Demo advanced maneuver

 Life sport / Paddling options

 Local paddling groups / Clubs

 Handouts / Reference materials

 ACA Membership forms

 Course evaluation

 Participation cards