A canoe with a blue spray skirt on top pulled up on shore with the ocean and rocks.
Location: Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador. Photo credit: Richard Alexander

Introduction to Coastal Canoeing

Discipline: Canoeing Program: Coastal Canoeing Stream: Skills Development

The Introduction to Coastal Canoeing course is designed to provide a solid foundation of knowledge and skill for safe and efficient tandem coastal canoeing along a calm shoreline with calm winds of less than 8 knots.


Students will develop solid tandem canoe handling skills and well as canoe rescues in the context of coastal canoeing.

The introduction of tidal prediction, marine forecasting and navigation with nautical charts also occurs at this level.

This course can be taught on large bodies of freshwater locations like The Great Lakes, Great Slave Lake and Lake Winnipeg.

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Course Overview

Typical Course Length

7 hours of instruction.

Course Topics

Safety and Rescue
  • Review of Introduction to Lake Canoe Tandem skills
  • Environment hazards including water, wind, waves and weather
  • Tides
  • Hypothermia & hyperthermia (being prepared)
  • Personal preparation (clothing, water, snacks, medication, etc.)
  • Transport Canada regulations and requirements
  • Safe canoe procedures
  • Signals and communication
  • Canoe over canoe rescue
General paddling skills
  • Enter and exit a canoe: dock or easy shoreline
  • Paddling in cadence
  • Rafting up
Paddling Strokes
  • Refine introduction to lake tandem skills and strokes
  • Bow draw
  • Basic bracing
  • J stroke
  • Stern draw and pry
Manoeuvres
  • Refine introduction to lake tandem skills
  • Navigating shoreline using piloting techniques: checkpoints, handrails and natural catching features
  • Forward straight-line paddling
  • Pivot turns in tight locations
  • Large to small arc turns (under power)
  • Paddling in cadence
  • Left and right turns under power
Knowledge
  • Basic understanding of nautical charts
  • Accessing/interpreting land and marine forecasting
  • Introduction to high and low water times
  • Equipment for half-day tour
  • Paddling within your ability
  • Paddlesmart
  • Leave no trace principles
  • Historical or local coastal paddling events
  • Where to go from here (paddle courses and resources)
Course Prerequisites
  • Introduction to Tandem Lake Canoeing or prior experience with permission of the course instructor.
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