View Full Version : Would you go canoeing if you couldn't swim?

07-18-2003, 04:31 AM
OK, this is the latest dilemma in the exciting life of Debbie Churchill! Some bright spark has decided that our Management Meeting this month will be an 'away day' to include what has been described as 'a leisurely paddle in double Canadian canoes'. Now I protested strongly as soon as it was suggested as I can't swim, but true to form, I was ridiculed and derided in no uncertain terms! (Nice bunch I work with!)

I don't want to be a party pooper for the sake of it, but it does occur to me that there is potential danger. Who's done anything like this? Do I need to be a swimmer, or will I be OK?

07-18-2003, 05:04 AM
If you are in the canoe with someone who is experienced and knows what to do if your canoe capsizes, then you should be okay (assuming you are wearing a life jacket), but if you are with another beginner it could be dangerous - so said my 13 year old son who has done this before.

A leisurely paddle doesn't sound as if you will capsize but there is <i>always</i> the slight possiblilty. (...especially if you are in a canoe with the office joker).

My thought is, how are you with water - I find many adults who cannot swim are genuinely nervous in the water - would you panic if your canoe rolled?

07-18-2003, 05:14 AM
Yes, Shirley, I am nervous of water (and everything else for that matter :( ) and that is why I can't swim. And, yes, I would panic if the thing rolled. :eek:

07-18-2003, 06:35 AM
Debbie - DON'T DO IT!

If you can't swim don't tempt fate - it's amazing how many people take pleasure in exploiting other peoples fears (spiders, wasps, enclosed spaces etc.). Tell them you're not doing it and that's all there is to it!

Best wishes


07-18-2003, 08:36 AM
I agree - I really don't think you should do this. (What does Matt say?)

07-18-2003, 08:50 AM
Would it be possible for you to go on the 'away day' and participate in everything except the canoeing?

If that is only one activity from a variety throughout the day (do you know whether there are other non-water based options?) then it wouldn't seem unreasonable to opt out for safety reasons as you can't swim.

If they get the idea that you're happy for everyone else to go canoeing without you, as long as there are other activites you can all do together, maybe opting out wouldn't look such a big deal.

07-18-2003, 10:51 AM
No, it's just canoeing. Well, apart from the pub lunch, which I can probably manage! :p (Meeting all morning in a hotel, pub lunch, then canoeing).

I haven't got a problem at all with saying I won't do it. It's just that I don't want to do that if there's no reason to. My gut feeling is that it isn't a sensible thing for a non-swimmer to do, but they're all telling me I'm being silly.

Thanks for your support.

Sue & Co.
07-18-2003, 11:00 AM

Seriously, if you can't swim and are nervous about being trapped under water don't take the risk. Even though you would undoubtedly be wearing a personal flotation device and be supervised by competent instructors it would not be advisable. Both my husband and I used to teach and examine for the RLSS, he also used to run patrols on the River Thames. Before we allowed anyone out on the river in one of our canoes they had to demonstrate in a swimming pool that they could escape from an overturned canoe - and these were all trainee lifesaers who could swim very competently! I'm sure you would be safe but I don't think it is worth taking the risk.

07-18-2003, 11:01 AM
Maybe your pub lunch could take a bit longer than everyone else's? :teeth:

07-18-2003, 11:08 AM

You are certainly not being silly - anyway alcohol and canoeing is a cocktail that does not mix at any time. Go to the pub and enjoy that part of the day - no one should do anything that they are not comfortable with.

Best wishes


07-18-2003, 11:56 AM
I say it depends. Can you touch the bottom if it tips? If not, then pass.

07-18-2003, 01:45 PM
When I tried canoing - years and years ago - I had to be able to swim 50metres or the centre wouldn't let me near their canoes.


07-19-2003, 04:51 AM
Thanks, again - what a wonderful support network. I think that's made up my mind. I might find when I get there that I'm not allowed to do it anyway.

07-19-2003, 03:35 PM
If it was me I would think 'No',but It isn't as simple as that by the sounds of it.
what did you decide?:(

07-21-2003, 07:37 AM

.....You can't swim, I think your answer is in their somewhere !

Seriously, if you can't swim ....don't even entertain the idea ( unless the water is very shallow ). Anyone who ridicules you for being wary is stupid, they should share your concerns.

Only a couple of days ago I read about a local child playing "dodge the waves " with his mates out of bravado...he couldn't swim. The poor little mite is now dead. Sorry to be so blunt, but that's what happens when you can't swim.

BTW, can I ask ...... does your company intend to insure everyone during this " bonding type " exercise??????


Mrs Dazzle
07-22-2003, 04:37 AM
Hmmm - been canoeing a few times and one of the first things the instructors like to get you to do is "roll" the canoe so that it's upside down - this (supposedly) makes sure you can get yourself out from underneath the canoe if it tips over (which they can).

Not trying to alarm, but you really need to be aware of this.

Last year my company decided on a 'cycling in the new forest team building day' (team building - what a load of nonsense). My friend had balance problems and could not - and would not - ride a bike. Several people made fun of her, but she stood her ground and brought her car along full of drinks for us all. She was the most popular person there at the end of the day.

Keep safe - on land - enjoy your pub lunch and have a good laugh at them all getting soaked:D

07-24-2003, 10:59 AM
Well, I e-mailed the canoe centre earlier in the week and they replied that it wasn't necessary to be able to swim and they would take care of me, so I went along today with an open mind. However, the babbling brook turned out to be a flippin' huge river, so I decided to give it a miss. It was an absolutely idyllic spot, though.

The pub lunch was a bit of a disaster, because the hotel we'd booked for the meeting served us a cooked breakfast at 10.30am, so no-one wanted lunch, and the canoe centre had stipulated no more than one pint before canoeing.

And so much for teambuilding - at least half the team made a feeble excuse and sloped off. At least I owned up to my fear! I've told them it's shopping, lunch and the cinema next time. I was thinking maybe Barcelona. Or Prague...

07-24-2003, 11:30 AM
Glad to hear the non-canoeing turned out okay, but the lunch sounded disappointing!

Good luck with the shopping plans ;)

07-24-2003, 04:12 PM
:eek: My friend phoned just after 6pm this evening on her way home from said canoeing escapade. She said every one of them fell out at least once (she managed 5 times) and one chap lost his glasses. She reckoned all she kept saying all afternoon, was, "Thank goodness Debbie didn't come".

:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: