Canoe on Canoe Rescue

It has happened to the best of us. You’re wet, floating in a lake, your canoe is upside down, and you’re wondering what went wrong. Suddenly, you don’t care how this happened, you just want back on your boat because your paddles and gear are slowly bobbing up and down making their escape down the river – probably laughing at you.

Your first task at this point should be to determine your safety. Let your stuff go, you’ll go get it all later. If there’s no immediate need to swim to shore, get yourself back to your canoe. Whistle or call out to your dry friends in another canoe (it’s a good thing the group stayed together), and make sure everyone’s okay. Now you have two choices: You can either have the upturned canoe towed or swum back to shore, or you can try to right the canoe using a canoe on canoe rescue.

Let’s go over the steps and each person’s role to safely get you and your stuff back on the boat and on your way. We’ll assume you have two boats, the wet canoe that has been swamped with its two wet canoeists, along with the dry canoe with its two dry canoeists who are so far classy enough not to be laughing (they’ll be plenty of time for that later). If there is a third canoe, they can go and get the gear floating downstream, if it’s practical to do so while staying together as a group.

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