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  canoe self rescue
  Posted by: pblanc on Apr-04-10 10:26 AM (EST)

People should realize that for normal mortals, self rescue from a capsize in a canoe on a lake or river means swimming the boat to shore, or at least into a good eddy in mid river, from which the boat can be emptied and reentered.

There are videos and books describing unassisted reentry of a capsized canoe in deep water and a lot of folks figure that they could do that if necessary. It is much more difficult than it appears.

Even with floatation, if you are successful in reentering a canoe this way, you will now have hundreds of pounds of water in it, and it will be unwieldy, to say the least.

In a canoe when no help is available, a capsize during a long open traverse over cold water when not wearing a dry suit will likely mean death. I lived in Minnesota for ten years. Typically, every year one or more people drowned within 20 ft of shore. The immediate debilitation resulting from hypothermia just can't be believed until experienced.

I think it would be difficult for a nonswimmer to get a flooded boat to the shore, PFD or no PFD.

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