Canoeing Checklist

Preparation

  • Get lessons on how to canoe before hand; they're really invaluable.
  • There are plenty of these to join, and they are great sources for tons of information.
  • There is only one way to get this, and that is practice, practice, practice!
  • There are plenty of instructors out there, but make sure that they are certified, and First Aid certified, too.
  • Investing in a canoe can mean some money at first — but the long-term payoff is worth it.

Gear

  • You will need at least two pairs; one to use, and the other as a back-up pair.
  • This is obvious, so make sure you pick one that you like, and will use.
  • When on the water, you must always have at least two life jackets or personal flotation devices on board a boat. No discussion on this one.

Accessories

  • While two sets of paddles are usually enough, some canoeists want a third set.
  • These are useful to pull yourself into the dock, or pull someone out of the water, if needed.
  • Use the knife for a number of different things, including cutting the rope or trimming repair patches.
  • Do not go anywhere without this, and keep it fully stocked.
  • Ensure that it works, and if something happens, use it to get others' attention while out on the water.
  • On the odd chance that your canoe is damaged, have a kit with the necessary items to fix it.
  • For those who are navigationally challenged, have a GPS handy to ensure arrival at the correct spot, using the right route.
  • For those areas where GPS doesn't function, use this to guide you in the right direction.
  • Combine this with the compass or GPS to get you to your final destination.
  • This would be something that maps and anything digital could be put into, in order to prevent damage.

Things to Take

  • Don't forget these! You'll use them for many different things, including drying your wet head.
  • Use these for carrying wet clothes, shoes and more.
  • Clean and dry, these will be needed to store things in while in the canoe, and while going back and forth to the canoeing site.
  • Water reflects the sun, and sun can burn, so bring some sunscreen with you!
  • Pick a hat you like, and that will provide some decent protection from the sun so that you're not squinting all the time, and you have a bit of shade.
  • These are a great thing to help cut down on eye strain, so wear them, and relax!
  • Have some sort of bottled drinks with you, just in case you need them; water would be great.
  • If you're only going for a day, pack a small simple meal or two. Otherwise, pack a bit more.
  • You will certainly want to take some pictures of the scenery; just make sure you have a good dry container to keep the camera in.

Safety Tips

  • Pay attention to it, and if it starts to go bad, get out of the water.
  • Drink liquids that won't dry you out — water is best.
  • Have a set itinerary so that someone is expecting you at a specific time.
  • If you're canoeing in a group, trying to guide each other in a pack helps. You can use radios to stay in contact, too.
  • If you should happen to break up as a group, agree to meet in a specific spot, then do so.
  • Who is going to do what if that itinerary isn't met, who's getting called, and when should be planned in advance.

For the outdoor enthusiast, canoeing is a popular pastime. And while it's impossible to stay dry during a canoeing trip, it is entirely possible to stay safe. Proper planning and some thoughts towards safety make this easy to do. First and foremost, know the ins and outs of how to canoe. If you don't, take the time to learn. Choose a body of water that you will be able to navigate easily. Bring people with you who are well-skilled if you are not, and learn from them. Practice as often as you can, and use the best equipment you can find. Most of all, enjoy yourself.