-- Last Updated: Apr-04-10 11:42 AM EST --
A few random comments - first off I don't get what the ladies part has to do with anything. Paddling alone is a matter of assessing your paddling, the conditions and your rescue/recovery skills correctly. That's not gender related.
If gong down a river means white water, we usually see groups going down together. My husband and I have never done WW with less than four.
I usually paddle with my husband or a local crowd. But I picked up a canoe last fall, and much/most of my time trying to get the strokes down was then and will probably remain alone.
But - to echo what others above have said - I am a quite competent if not pretty swimmer, especially with a PFD on. And one of the things I will be working on as soon as the water tops 50 degrees on will be figuring out how to equip the canoe and train myself to be able to self-rescue in it.
Even with the above, there are trips I have refrained from taking because the situation was one where it really required a certain number of paddlers to be safe should something unexpected occur, and we didn't have that minimum. This has happened on the ocean, and even with the people who are there all having solid rescue skills and being dressed for immersion and all that good stuff, the count just didn't meet a safe minimum.
These were trips where the minimum count was four.
Custom Greenland Paddles
The Moose Rack
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