How to Row a Canoe

How to Row a Canoe
Canoeing is a great recreational sport and may be enjoyed by people of different ages. Whether on a lake, pond, stream, or river, canoeing provides the opportunity for exercise, fresh air, and spectacular scenery. Canoes are propelled by paddles that are rowed by the passenger in the canoe. Using a basic forward and back motion, the paddler propels the canoe through the water.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Select a canoe paddle of the appropriate size. The paddle should reach to or near the shoulder when standing along side the upright paddle. The grip should feel comfortable and fit the size of the hand.
Step 2
Take a position in the canoe that may either be sitting or kneeling. The position should be centered in the canoe. When canoeing alone, the position should be near the stern or back. If two or more will be in the canoe the weight should be evenly distributed.
Step 3
Hold the paddle by grasping the handle on top. If paddling on the right, grasp the handle with the left hand and with the right hand hold the paddle a foot or so above the blade of the paddle. Reverse the technique for paddling to the left.
Step 4
Reach forward and place the paddle into the water. The blade of the paddle should be positioned so that it is positioned at 90-degree angle from the canoe.
Step 5
Pull the blade smoothly through the water and finish by turning the blade horizontal to the canoe and lift from the water. Repeat the motion on the opposite side to make the canoe track or travel in a straight direction.

Tips & Warnings

Make sure to wear a properly fitting and approved personal floatation device or PFD.
Use caution when participating on any activities on or near the water. Make sure all participants are familiar with basic water safety.

Article Written By Tara Dooley

Tara Dooley has written for various websites since 2008. She has worked as an accountant, after-school director and retail manager in various locations. Dooley holds a Bachelor of Science in business management and finance.

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