How to Paddle a 2-person Canoe

How to Paddle a 2-person Canoe
Paddling a two-person canoe efficiently requires focused teamwork. Novice canoeists often become frustrated as they struggle to keep their craft moving forward in a straight line. But mixing a little knowledge with a measure of patience and some practice will lead to far more productive--and enjoyable--results.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Things You’ll Need:
  • Two-person canoe Two paddles Two life jackets
  • Two-person canoe
  • Two paddles
  • Two life jackets
Step 1
Prepare for your trip by loading gear into the canoe and putting on life jackets.
Step 2
Carefully get into the canoe. The front paddler should hold on to the bow as the other paddler steps into the rear seat while grasping each side the canoe. Once seated, the rear paddler can use an oar to stabilize the canoe while the front paddler enters and takes a seat.
Step 3
Paddle at the same time as your companion but on the opposite side of the canoe to maintain a straight course. Both paddlers should change sides occasionally to keep one arm from getting too tired.
Step 4
Remember that the rear paddler is in charge of steering. This person can use either a forward or reverse C-shaped paddle motion to turn the canoe to the left or right.
Step 5
Look out for rocks, logs and other approaching obstacles while paddling if you are seated at the front of the canoe.
Step 6
Use a backward paddling motion to slow or stop the canoe.

Tips & Warnings

Make sure the gear and passengers in the canoe are properly balanced to lessen the risk of capsizing.
First-time canoeists should avoid waterways with fast currents, narrow channels or numerous obstacles until they perfect their paddling skills.


Article Written By Kirk Brown

Kirk Brown is an award-winning freelance writer with two decades of diverse media experience. A former newspaper reporter and editor, he also was managing editor of an acclaimed scuba diving magazine. Brown has written scripts for more than 50 half-hour TV programs focusing on technology and health topics.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.