Canoe Country Wilderness Canoeing
by © Lee Hegstrand


Landing the Canoe

Be careful landing a canoe! Many tip-overs occur then. Landing the canoeShallow water landings: it is best to land without bumping into the shoreline to avoid damaging the craft and making noise. The bow person hops out into the water to pull the canoe towards the shoreline. Do not drag the bow upland while the stern person is in the boat or the stern will become tipsy. The stern person should steady the boat with his paddle until the bow person has full control of the boat, with that person's legs straddled over the bow and hands gripping the forward gunwales. Dry foot believers: stern person and passenger may have to "walk the gunwale"*, to get around packs and equipment in disembarking. The wet foot method, i.e. stepping into shallow water before the canoe has landed, has the advantage of being less noisy, gentler to the canoe, faster and it is easier to heft the packs out of the "higher" canoe as opposed to its relative height on dry land.

Keep your center of gravity low and to the middle of the canoe always when embarking or disembarking. Hands on the gunwales. Be deliberate when entering and leaving a canoe to avoid sudden jerks that could tip the craft. When stepping out avoid stepping on larger rocks as they will be very slippery. When all people are out, gently pull the canoe much further up and unload or, better yet, unload while the boat is in the water. Deep water landings: use a sculling or draw stroke and land parallel to the shore. Bow person out first (carefully!) while the stern person and passenger steadies the boat with their paddles and then the bow person holds the canoe while the other(s) exits. Stow life jackets under the seats or attach them to the thwarts. Be careful with paddles, they could be stepped on and broken if laid on the ground. Stash them upright and well out of the way.

*All "fours" on the canoe’s gunwales and slide hands and feet along to a suitable footing point.

Alternative views on landing a canoe...

Getting in and out of a canoe - loading, unloading

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