Posted by: Celia on Apr-16-12 5:40 PM (EST)
People get into canoes assuming it is thoughtless because kids go out in junker canoes on lakes all the time and seem to stay upright. And for the skinny, young kids it often is thoughtless.
But at adult height and weight, and on aging hips, knees and ankles, you usually need to learn the balance for a canoe. You just can't get into it and be inattentive to where your weight is and how you are moving around in the boat. You have to learn how to handle this.
There are a lot of people for whom this is not intuitive, including some kids. In my younger days I sometimes had to let some cousin go out in a tandem canoe with me. I quickly learned to wear a bathing suit so I was already set up to take a swim. I was usually let free of my passenger after they'd put us into the lake twice.
This is why rec kayaks are so popular - the paddler is sitting down, hence automatically at a low center of gravity, and you don't (usually) walk around in the things. So they tend to be much easier to manage in terms of balance.
But it is worth it to be able to stay up in a canoe - they can be fun boats and are often more available to borrow than a kayak because they aren't as paddler size-specific.