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A student learning intermediate canoe poling techniques on the Miramichi River, NB with Tim Humes.
Location: Miramichi River, New Brunswick. Photo Credit Tim Humes

Intermediate Canoe Poling

Discipline: Canoeing Program: Canoe Poling Stream: Skills Development

Intermediate Canoe Poling expands knowledge and skills from flatwater to moving water. The skill of river reading is to include the ability to utilize the full length of the pole in best depth conditions (shallower water) and to utilize slow water in ascending and descending a river.

Activities in this level focus on safety and comfortable poling in moving water up to class II. Naturally, this will require skill refinement, additional skill development and awareness of the environment of moving water.

While there is a great deal to learn at this level, activity should concentrate on progress, skill demonstration and an awareness of the need for future learning.

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Course Overview

Typical Course Length

8 to 14 hours of instruction.

Course Topics

Safety and Rescue
  • Paddle Canada’s PFD policy
  • Swimming a rapid
  • Using a throw bag
  • River signals: whistle/paddle/pole/hand
  • Pole pins & recovery
  • Canoe based rescues
  • Self-rescue
  • Safe canoe procedures
  • Principles of effective rescue
  • Personal preparation
General Skills
  • Principles of moving water: river topography
  • Reading the water
  • Principles of trim
  • Down river boat tilt
  • River classifications
  • River ascent and descent
  • Refining and polishing strokes from the Introduction to Canoe Poling program
  • Pole placement: canoe and the current
  • Advantages of using a pole
  • Use of the full length of the pole
  • Body rotation
  • Snubbing
  • Performed in class 1-2 waters
  • Canoe landing
  • Stopping and holding in current
  • Upstream travel smoothness
  • Downstream travel smoothness
  • Front and back ferry minimally
  • Enter and exit eddies
  • Snubbing
  • Canoe poles
  • Recommended poling locations
  • Choosing a safe poling environment
  • Expanded canoe lifts and carries
  • Knots: expanded (quick release knots)
  • Painters: selection, care, securing
  • Course advantages and limitations
  • Day trip planning
  • Poling resources
  • Additional courses
  • Basic repair kit
  • Emergency/survival/ditch kit (life jacket or hip pack)
Course Prerequisites
  • Certification
    • Introduction to Canoe Poling or prior experience with permission of the Instructor.