Canoeing in High Traffic Areas | Rules of the Road

Canoeing in High Traffic Areas | Rules of the Road

This episode of Paddle TV is brought to
you by the ACA—improving the paddlesports experience for over a century.
Learn more at American canoe dot-org One of the great things about canoeing
is that on a very simple level, you can just slip on a lifejacket, grab a paddle
and start paddling around without any prior experience. But something that all
paddlers should have a good working knowledge of are the general rules of
the road when it comes to navigating our waterways, particularly in the high use
areas. The biggest problem for canoers is that we move a lot slower than motorized boat
traffic, which makes it hard to get out of the way. Canoes can also get rocked
about quite aggressively by the wake of power boats, especially if they pass by
too close. This is why it’s important to understand how other boats navigate
through the waterways so that as canoers, we can choose a course that minimizes
our time spent in the path of bigger and faster boats. This is why taking a safe
boating course is a good idea. Looking at navigation on a very basic
level, you’ll find colored buoys on almost any waterway that has regular
motorized boat traffic. The red and green buoys are there to
define the main channel and the safest path for power boats to take. To help
remember where the main channel is, use the Rule of Three R’s— red, right, returning—which simply means if you’re paddling upstream on a river, or you’re
returning from open water, you’ll want to keep the red markers on your right side
to stay in the main boating channel. Of course for canoers, this main channel is a great place to avoid. Although you can expect most boat traffic to stay to
these main channels, smaller power boats that can travel in shallower water are a
lot less predictable, and so they tend to present the biggest threat to paddlers.
And so in general, in high traffic areas it’s a good idea for paddlers to stay
close to shore and stay alert for any small power boats that may operate
outside the main channel. If you do need to cross the main channel,
it’s best to do as quickly as possible, and if you have multiple canoes, in one
group. One inevitability if you’re paddling in a high boat traffic area is
dealing with boat wake, and power boats can kick up some pretty significant
waves. The most controlled and stable way to deal with a boat’s wake is to move to
a more stable kneeling position, point your canoe directly into the waves and
wait for them to pass. I hope you found this video helpful and if you did and
are interested in learning more, please subscribe to our Paddle TV YouTube
channel and stay tuned for more tips and tricks.

One thought on “Canoeing in High Traffic Areas | Rules of the Road

  • October 19, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Luckily in our area most boaters if they see us in time, they will slow down as to not rock us too much.


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