PE 1508  Flatwater Canoeing


Instructor:  Tom Beery

Fall 2003, 1 credit                                              

MW: 12-1:50  pm,  Sept 3- October 22

Office hours:  By app=t

235 Engineering



?The movement of a canoe is like a reed in the wind.  Silence is part of it, and the sounds of lapping water, bird songs, and wind in the trees.  It is part of the medium through which it floats, the sky, the water, the shores.@  (Sig Olson, (1956)., The Singing Wilderness. p 77)




The goal of this course is to teach you the basics of flatwater canoeing skills.  This includes an effort to impress upon you the pleasures of paddling a boat under your own power and direction.







One of the best texts is Bill Mason=s book listed below. However, this text is no longer in print.  In lieu of purchasing the Bill Mason text, the text is located in the reserve reading section of the Library.  The bookstore provides the Slim Ray text; you are required to read the assigned sections out of these texts. Other readings will be made available on the course website.  


Mason, Bill (1984).  The path of the paddle 2nd edition. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.


Ray, Slim (1992).  The canoe handbook, Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books.


Note: Do your readings prior to and in correspondence with the weekly class subjects.





Sept. 3:           Introduction; Hypothermia; Clothing; Canoe types


Readings       Website:  Canoe charts, Princeton Outdoor Action Hypothermia Guide, Bill Mason canoe guide, All About Canoes—canoe types


Sept 8:            MEET AT POOL - ready to swim at 12pm


                        Canoe terminology & design; Safety—swim test; Canoe stability; Canoe rescues—self rescue


                        Readings       Ray:  Chapters 2 & 9

                                                Website:  Canoe charts, canoe rescue diagrams


Sept 10:         MEET AT POOL - ready to swim at 12pm


                        Safety—Canoe T rescue; Strokes—braces




                        Lifts (1 & 2 person); Canoe teamwork; Strokes—forward, draw, sweep 


                        Readings       Website:  Flatwater (The Complete Wilderness Paddler)


Sept. 17:        Strokes—pry, J, reverse stokes (back and sweep)


Readings       Ray:  Chap. 3 & 4


Sept. 22:        Strokes—C, duffek, cross strokes (cross draw & cross duffek), sculling draw


Sept. 24:        Practice strokes on the harbor


Sept 29:         Hearding Island Expedition!


Oct. 1:             Solo paddling workshop; Loading a canoe for wilderness travel


Oct. 6:             Moving water—How to read moving water, rapid classification, river fundamentals, Bill Mason Film

                        Canoe navigation


Readings       Ray:  Chap. 5

                        Website:  Canoe navigation


Oct. 8:             Skills review


October 13:    Skills review


October 15:    Practical Exam


October 20:    Review


October 22:    Final Written Exam




Practical progress = 70 points                                A = 92%

Practical exam = 100 points                                    B = 82%

Written exam = 50 points                                         C = 72%


Attendance is mandatory.  Because this course is condensed, missing even one class is equivalent to missing an entire week of material. 




It is essential for your learning and enjoyment of this course that you come to class prepared for the weather.  We will be going outside regardless of the conditions.  Therefore, you must be properly dressed.  Also, please be ready to go at the class site at 12 pm so that we can move right into our lesson for the day. Please anticipate traffic (both automobile and boat) in getting to the Aquatic Center.  It is imperative that you are timely in being ready to begin class at 12pm!


A man is part of his canoe and therefore part of all it knows.  The instant he dips a paddle, he flows as it flows, the canoe yielding to his slightest touch, responsive to his every whim and thought.  The paddle is an extension of his arm, as his arm is part of his body.  ...there, too, is a sense of harmony and oneness with the earth.  But to the canoeman there is nothing that compares with the joy he knows when a paddle is in his hand. (Sig Olson, (1956)., The Singing Wilderness. pp. 77-78)