Fun with Boats
"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." ~ Ratty to Mole, The Wind in the Willows
In this section we share with you some useful stuff about boats. Find out what boats you want and any must have equipment, like buoyancy aids, life jackets, paddles, spray decks, and the right clothing to keep you warm when you get wet.
After learning all about boats, the different skills required, and the mandatory capsize drills, you'll be ready for open water. The whole experience is designed to encourage friendship, trust, leadership and teamwork. It is all great wet fun.
Prepare To Get Wet
You should be confident in the water with your head above and below. If you are the kind of person who would panic when under water, think carefully before considering taking up boating as a sport or hobby.
You should also take the mandatory dip in the water when you learn how to capsize your boat, how to right it and then get back inside safely. It isn’t all plain paddling, you have to be able to get back in once you fall out, but it is easier than it looks. Anyone considering boating lessons should be able to swim at least 50 metres fully clothed.
Capsize and Rescue
When you're out boating regularly, a capsize is likely sooner or later. If you're not sure how to deal with capsizes, the results can range from fun to unsettling to quite dangerous.
With training, practice and experience, performing a rescue can become simple and routine, even when it is unexpected.
If everyone in your group has rescue training, some practice and good judgement,
the chances of having a serious incident are quite low.
First of all learn how to handle and paddle your boat, preferably as a team. Obviously, this requires some co-ordination by the team and also requires one of the team to take the lead and set the pace. Next, learn how to steer the boat.
You may also want to practice safety measures like capsizes, swimming in clothes, and how to carry your boat.
Sometimes you may want to watch a training video.
Take good notes so that you can refer back to these at a later date.
Fun Games with Friends
Paddling your way through the wilderness can be a wonderful opportunity to get some exercise, socialize with friends and explore wild places that are normally inaccessible. When you go for a quiet paddle down a lazy river, you can enjoy nature close up and go for a swim whenever you like. That is what canoeing is all about.
If you go out with a group you may want to combine kayaks with canoes and rafts for greater variety. Kayaks can escort the slower canoes or rafts which carry most of your gear. Known for their handling and seaworthiness, kayaks take many shapes depending on their desired use.
Indulge your team in some educational games.
Stand up in a canoe and learn how to keep your balance.
Of course, if you don’t get it quite right the lesson is compounded by another dip into the water.
You will find that this helps you learn to balance a lot better, quite quickly!
Is Swimming Required for Boating?
"Can I play with boats if I do not know how to swim?" This is a common question people ask before setting out on boating lessons.
Swimming isn't a fundamental pre-requisite for boating. Sure, the knowledge and ability to swim can get you out of some sticky spots, but you’re still going to be able to have fun without the fear of drowning, even if you’re a first timer with little or no swimming experience. A lifevest worn over clothes keeps non-swimmers afloat.
It is very likely that you will hit the water a few times during your boat expeditions. The best way to prepare is to know how to swim in your boating clothes. Let’s jump right in.
Expect to swim only a short distance when you fall out of the boat. Often you simply hang on to the boat. Even good swimmers get surprised by the resistance when they go into the water fully clothed. Therefore, you may want learn the basics of swimming in clothes.
Realistic swimming lessons are often mandatory before you go for your first boating lesson. You can find swimming instructors who can show you a basic float or a simple swim stroke.