Welcome to the 2018 season

Our website will shortly be updated so that you can book and pay for your paddling online. Until then, reach us by phone, or by email at enquiries@chesterkayakhire.co.uk, where there will always be a prompt and friendly reply. See you on the river soon!

Tel: 01244 422007

What should I do if my canoe capsizes?

For many amateur canoeists, one of the biggest concerns they have is what to do if they end up turning upside-down in their canoe.

The biggest reassurance is that the paddler is not strapped into the canoe, meaning that in the event of capsizing, the canoeist should fall out of the vessel and should not find themselves trapped.

There are many ways that capsizing can be combatted, but a canoeist must take into consideration their proximity to land and other canoes.

When close to land

If you are somewhere close to dry land, then it is advisable that you swim to safety, especially if you are in moving water, such as a river or the sea. Here, it is best that you hold on to the canoe rather than attempting to remedy the situation. If this is the best option for you, it will help if you tuck the paddle under the seats, so that they stay with the boat and leave your hands free to get to safety.

Whilst in moving water, this could be more challenging, so it is advisable to work with the current where possible, even if that means floating downstream to a less vigorous part of the water. Once you have reached the shore, you can they flip the canoe and make sure the water has poured out before deciding to head back out.

When too far from shore

Sometimes, you might find yourself too far from land to be able to safely swim back. This means that you are going to have to try to flip the canoe whilst still in the water. This is a very difficult task to do as it requires a lot of strength and aquatic ability. Most amateur canoeists will be instructed not to do this due to the difficult nature of the task, which can be very dangerous to complete alone. This method is only advised if there is someone with a lot of experience present, or if there are multiple people in the same canoe.

Again, tuck the paddle under the seat so that you do not lose it. Get under the canoe so that you are in the air pocket, then get a grip of the gunwales and flip the boat over. From here, you can climb back in and paddle back to shore to get the remaining water out of the vessel.

When next to another vessel

If your canoe capsizes in the presence of another boat, they can assist in the rescue. This will help the canoe return to its upright position whilst dumping the water out, as well as provide assistance for passengers to climb back aboard. This is a common method used with canoe hire services, as multiple vessels are out in the water at once.

Capsizing is not something that should be panicked over and, as long as you remain calm and choose the safest option to resolving this problem, it will simply be an experience to talk about later.