River Rescue

Canoe Rescue 
River canoeing is a wet sport! Sometimes very wet, like when you find yourself bobbing down a rapid beside your capsized canoe. More hazardous situations can occur too, although rarely if precautions are followed.

The RCABC River Rescue Program is designed by canoeists for canoeists to develop skills to handle difficult situations. Too often paddlers rely on the most experienced rescuer in the group and don't get an opportunity to develop their own skills. The River Rescue Program encourages all river canoesits to be skilled participants and rescue leaders.

Ocean Canoeing

Paddling the Shoreline DeCourcey Isl 
Canoeing on the ocean has a rich history in BC, starting with First Nations use of dugout canoes and the more recent use of modern tripping canoes. Both sheltered and open, exposed waters can be navigated by canoe if people have appropriate skills. Amazingly, people have circumnavigated Vancouver Island and even longer, more exposed journeys in canoes. Most people stick to the common trips such as the Broken Islands, Gulf Islands, Sechelt Inlet. With over 25,000 km of coastline, BC is the place to start exploring the ocean environment!

Big Canoes

Selection of Big Boats 
Big canoes (voyaguer or dugout style) are integral to the history of Canada. They range from 22 to 40 feet and can carry up to 18 people! They can be used on lakes, ocean and can even run rapids on rivers. For many centuries Big Canoes were Canada's buses and freighters using our extensive waterways as highways. They were originally designed by aboriginals out of birch bark with wooden frame or dugout logs for carrying large loads and moving larger numbers of people.
Today they are a great vehicle to get larger groups of paddlers out on the water and experiencing nature. Big canoes are stable, fast, manoeuvrable and versatile.

C1 (Closed Canoe)

Nice C1 Surf at Bromley Rock 
Closed canoes, or C-1s are fun and dynamic playboats or river running canoes which at first glance look like a whitewater kayak. The hull is similar or exactly the same as a kayak but that's where the similarity ends. In a C1, the canoeist kneels in custom outfitting with a higher center of gravity. The second difference of course is the use of a single bladed canoe paddle and the large variety of strokes used, many based on traditional canoeing strokes.


Pry Brace Demonstration Lyle 
River canoeing is not only about tripping or exploring. Whitewater canoes have evolved to become a fun and challenging way to play on whitewater:

  • Running challenging rapids
  • Surfing waves
  • Hole surfing and  spinning
  • Eskimo rolls
  • Reverse paddling and surfing
  • and more...!

Canoe Poling

Poling Along Williams Creek 
Before paddles were created, canoes were probably propelled and manoeuvred by poling, and the art of poling is still alive today. Poling is a remarkably versatile way to canoe on lakes, river and even whitewater. Standing in the canoe gives you dexterity and an excellent view, plus it adds to your comfort if you want to change positions. The long wooden pole gives the canoeist opportunity to manoeuvre the canoe with strokes off the bottom of the waterway or on the surface when needed, similar to using a paddle. Poling is an ideal way to explore shallow waterways and to move a canoe upstream on shallow rivers. BC is lucky to have a number of canoe poling instructors in various regions of the province.

Stand Up Paddling - SUP

SUP Lessons 60
The sport of Stand Up Paddling has entered the realm of canoe paddling with a huge flourish.  There are maore and more SUP paddlers joining this sport, yes the sport has taken off.  It isn't difficult to see why.  First of all, it is a really fun way to get out on the water and get a good work out.  Paddle Boards are flying of shelves from companies who are traditional canoe sales and from more unlikely sources such as Costco, Canadian Tire and other big box stores.

In response to this RCABC has created the SUP paddle program.  It consists of two skills levels, an instructor level and an Instructor Trainer.  It is a complete course that reviews all the skills necessary to instruct the program for beginner to expert.

Canoe Tripping

Perfect Camping Place 
For many, going on wilderness trips is the ultimate way to enjoy canoeing. It could be a weekend family getaway, or a remote, multi-week river expedition. The canoe is unparalleled in its ability to handle the variety of challenges that tripping demands such as large carrying capacity, versatility in numbers of canoeists, excellent manoeuvreability, running rapids, open water crossings, ease of rescue and more.

Lake Water

Classic Style Lakewater
The RCABC Lakewater Program covers fundamental canoeing skills and is the foundation for all other types of canoeing. Whether your goal is:

  • going on your first canoe camping trip
  • leading kids and youth in outdoor pursuits
  • canoe instruction or guiding
  • to build the skills to go on a wilderness whitewater expedition....

the Lakewater program is the place to start.

Advanced tandem and solo skills are also included in the Lakewater Program providing challenge even for experienced canoeists.


Moving Water

Moving Water Skill Development 
Canoeing on rivers is a fun and challenging sport. Skilled paddlers in an appropriately outfitted canoe can take on surprisingly difficult whitewater. River canoeing can be quite diverse, ranging from gentle floats to intense solo playboating in short modern canoes to multi-day trips carrying 300lbs of gear on remote whitewater rivers. There are RCABC programs for all of these styles of river canoeing.

Also see RCABC's River Rescue Program and Advanced Moving Water Program.

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