"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." ~ Ratty to Mole, The Wind in the Willows
In this section we share with you some useful stuff about boats. Find out what boats you want and what clothes to wear when you get wet.
Canoeing is an exciting sport if you learn it well. You can paddle or paddle to places other people can't reach, like calm inland waters, whitewater rivers, and along the coast.
Join your friends for a quiet paddle down a lazy river. Enjoy nature in peace and quiet. Go for a swim whenever you like.
Paddling your way through the wilderness can be a wonderful opportunity to get some exercise, socialize with friends and explore wild places that are normally inaccessible. That is what canoeing is all about.
If you go out with friends you may want to combine kayaks with canoes and rafts for greater variety. Kayaks can escort the slower canoes or rafts which carry most of your gear. Known for their handling and seaworthiness, kayaks take many shapes depending on their desired use.
The instructor may give you an overview on the different types of boats and any must have equipment, like buoyancy aids, life jackets, paddles, spray decks, and the right clothing to help keep you warm.
First of all learn how to handle and paddle your boat, preferably as a team. Obviously, this requires some co-ordination by the team and also requires one of the team to take the lead and set the pace. Next, learn how to steer the boat.
You may also want to practice safety measures like capsizes, swimming in clothes, and how to carry your boat.
Sometimes you may want to watch a training video.
Take good notes so that you can refer back to these at a later date.
You should be confident in the water with your head above and below. If you are the kind of person who would panic when under water, think carefully before considering taking up boating as a sport or hobby.
Anyone considering boating lessons should be able to swim at least 50 metres fully clothed.
You should also take the mandatory dip in the water when you learn how to capsize a your boat, how to right it and then get back inside safely. It isn’t all plain paddling, you have to be able to get back in once you fall out, but it is easier than it looks.
When you're out boating regularly, a capsize is likely sooner or later. If you're not sure how to deal with capsizes, the results can range from fun to unsettling to quite dangerous.
With training, practice and experience, performing a rescue can become simple and routine, even when it is unexpected. If everyone in your group has rescue training, some practice and good judgement, the chances of having a serious incident are quite low.
Then indulge your team in some educational games. Stand up in a canoe and learn how to keep your balance. Of course, if you don’t get it quite right the lesson is compounded by another dip into the water. You will find that this helps you learn to balance a lot better, quite quickly!
After learning all about boats, the different skills required,
and the mandatory capsize drills, it is time to progress onto open water.
The whole experience is designed to encourage friendship, trust, leadership and teamwork.
It is all great wet fun.
Canoes are narrow open boats that capsize occasionally and you get soaking wet. That is the appeal of it in a nutshell. The thrill is that you know you'll get wet, but not when. That's the suspense followed by a surprise.
Depending on the weather you wear tracksuits, hooded jogging suits, or other sportswear underneath your canoeing cag.
When you fall into the water again and again, you stay warm inspite of being soaking wet.
This is what cags are designed for.
Wear your cag over the spray deck if you paddle in the rain or get splashed by waves. Any water runs off your cag onto the spray deck and overboard.
For wildwater you may want to wear it inside the spray deck so it doesn't move about. Good spraydecks make a better seal around your waist to reduce the amount of water that comes bit. But the more often you roll your boat, the wetter you'll get.
Most cags are ideal for use on sit on tops and recreational touring kayaks,
but also easy to swim in for open water adventures.
A canoeing cag gives great freedom of movement for your arms, which is useful for open water swimming and aquatic resistance training. It protects you from sunburn, wind chill and nasty little critters.
The sleeves are tapered towards the wrists, thus holding only a small amount of water. This makes swimming a lot easier than with anoraks which have loose sleeves for better ventilation. To empty the water from the sleeves, raise your arms and it flushes out of the bottom.