in: Outdoor/Survival, Skills, Visual Guides

• Last updated: June 1, 2021

How to Right a Capsized Canoe

How to right a capsized canoe illustration step by step diagram.

Canoes aren’t likely to tip over, at least when used by calm people in calm water. If you’re not overloading your boat with too much gear, or paddling toward whitewater to satisfy your hunger for adrenaline, then you can trust in your canoe to deliver you safely to and from shore.

It’s actually near the shore that you’re most likely to flip your boat — when entering or exiting the boat and significantly shifting the balance of weight. If you do flip the boat near land, simply drag it in and deal with it in shallow water, where solid footing will give you a leg up on getting your boat upright and clear of water. But, accidents can and do happen in deeper water. If you find yourself on the wrong side of your canoe, and you can’t get the boat back to shore, here’s how to turn things around whether you’re with a friend or paddling alone.

The shake out (1-person)

1: Roll the canoe over so that it’s right-side up; it will be full of water.

2: Position yourself at the middle of the canoe and grip the edges of the boat with both hands.

3: Pull and push the canoe to make it rock back and forth, causing water to slosh out.

4: Re-enter the canoe by gripping the far side to pull yourself up once the canoe is nearly empty of water.

The Capistrano flip (2-person)

1: Get underneath the canoe with your paddling partner and tuck your paddles under the thwarts.

2: While treading water raise one side of the canoe above the water level to break the suction.

3: With your partner, shove up hard and fast on the raised side of the canoe to flip it over.

4: Position yourselves on opposing sides and ends of the canoe before climbing back in simultaneously to keep the weight balanced.

Like this illustrated guide? Then you’re going to love our book The Illustrated Art of Manliness! Pick up a copy on Amazon.

Illustrated by Ted Slampyak

Related Posts