The best paddlers have dumped the most times; it can happen to anyone. Here’s what to do if you wind up with the open side of your canoe down.
- Be sure to keep your survival kit on you at all times. It could save your life if you lose your canoe along with your entire outfit.
- Keep a throw bag stuffed with at least 50 feet of rope under a bungee at both the bow and stern. Clip the end of the throw bag rope to your canoe’s tow handle.
- If you plan to paddle numerous rapids, lash inflatable airbags inside your bow and stern. They’ll allow a swamped canoe to float much higher in the water after a dumping, making it easier to get to shore and less likely to wrap around a boulder.
- Should you dump your canoe, grab the throw bag and quickly swim to shore. Once on shore, immediately wrap the rope around a tree or boulder.
- If you run out of rope before you make it to shore, swim hard toward an eddy and repetitively yank the rope to point one end of the canoe towards the shore. This will help ferry your canoe to safety.