Theory‎ > ‎

Canoe Trip


Determine that all equipment is safe for use.

A fully stocked first aid kit must be readily accessible.

A working communication device (e.g., cell phone) must be available for all activities/locations.

Comply with the Minimum Safety Equipment Requirements in Transport Canada’s Safe Boating Guide.

Correct fitting and Transport Canada- approved P.F.D./lifejackets, with whistle attached, must be worn and properly secured at all times when on the water.

Two paddles per canoe, with some spare paddles taken along in case of broken or lost paddles.

Paddles and canoes checked for cracks, splinters and leaks.

Repair kit.

Appropriate canoe tripping packs.

The group must have a water purification method.

The group must have a means of heating water, suitable for timely use in case of emergency and/or fire bans (i.e., must not rely solely on campfires).

Waterproof matches and/or matches in a waterproof container.

Appropriate maps. A GPS to be used as a back-up only.

Canoeing Skills

Skills must be taught in proper progression.

Activities must be based on skills taught.

Students must be instructed on the appropriate loading of the canoe, and trimming of the canoe once loaded.

As a prerequisite for open water canoeing the student must demonstrate basic competence to a trip leader in:

  • lifts, carries and portaging
  • launching a canoe
  • proper entry/exit from canoe
  • self-rescues into dry and/or swamped canoes
  • canoe over canoe rescue procedures;
  • positioning of paddlers and gear
  • synchronized strokes
  • paddling forward in a straight line
  • sideslip
  • pivot 360 degrees in both directions
  • circles in both direction radius 10 meters
  • stop
  • landings (shore and dock)
  • forward and reverse stroke
  • j-stroke, stern draw and stern pry strokes
  • sweep stroke
  • draw and pry strokes

Students must be instructed on how to handle wind and wave conditions.

Students Communications

Prior to the trip, students must be familiar with:

  • suitable clothing (e.g., recommend layering principle, avoid cotton)
  • canoeing equipment and repairs
  • camping skills and safety (e.g., fire building and safety, setting up tarps in an emergency, proper storage of food in camp, water treatment options, use of cooking devices and camp cooking)
  • environmental concerns (e.g., wildlife, weather, low impact camping, poison ivy/oak)
  • use of a compass
  • map reading
  • the trip itinerary, by reviewing the map, including emergency evacuation points

Swim Test

Prior to canoe tripping, students must successfully complete the following swim test in its entirety:

  • rolling entry (backwards or forward) into deep water at 2.75m (9’) minimum depth
  • tread water for 1 minute
  • swim 50m (164’) continuously any stroke

The components of the swim test must be completed in sequence and without any aids or stops.



-  Water Bottle -  Paddle*

-  Sun Hat -  Lifejacket*

-  Hiking Boots or Running Shoes -  Rain gear

-  Long Sleeve Shirt -  Bug Spray

-  T-Shirt -  Sun Screen

-  Long Pants -  Bug hat / Jacket*

-  Swim Shorts -  Warm Hoodie or Sweater

*will be provided if necessary