Canoeing Tips

Floating is one of the most enjoyable and
popular ways
to explore Missouri’s outdoors. We’ll give you some tips on how to prepare
for a floating trip, show you where you can go,
and what to do once you’re on the water. To make the most of your floating trip,
you’ll want to be properly prepared. If possible, plan your trip for a weekday, especially in the summer when some rivers
are packed with weekend floaters. To get started you’ll need a canoe. If you don’t own one, you can rent one
from numerous outfitters in the state. They’ll provide you with paddles and a PFD,
floatation device, either cushion or life jacket; and don’t forget a trash bag. Everyone should wear life jackets; swimming skills count for nothing if
you’re hit in the head or caught under a rootwad. You want to have fun, but you also want to be safe. Most outfitters will haul you to and from the river
costs range from $15-30 a day per canoe. While floating, you’ll want to wear a swimming suit,
old pair of tennis shoes, and a hat. You’ll also want to pack some essentials including sun screen, sun glasses, water-proof container,
safety kit, rain gear, food and water. You might also want to take extra clothes,
binoculars, and camera. And if you plan to wet a line,
don’t forget your fishing gear and license. Choose a float stream within easy driving distance, especially if
you’re planning a one-day trip and you’re taking children. You’ll want to float a river that’s matched to your ability
and floating experience. If you’re a beginner, you might begin on a river
where the river
is not too deep and the current gentle. The Ozarks of southern Missouri, with its cool,
clear water
are the choice of most people from the Eleven Point, Current and Jacks Fork to the Niangua,
Gasconade and Meramec, just to name a few. Many are spring-fed and provide constant water levels
cool water during the hot summer months. Common sense plays a role
in the “Do’s and Don’ts” of canoeing: Like don’t stand up in a canoe or lean over
the edge,
avoid obstacles and going sideways down the river. The person in the front of the canoe
most of the power in paddling while the person in back uses the paddle
like a rudder to steer the canoe. In straightaways, float the smooth, glassy water
and aim for the “V” in the channel. In bends the smooth water may be too shallow;
so look for
the riffles and small waves to carry you through. Be courteous of others including anglers;
try to navigate around them without interfering. A float trip shouldn’t be a race;
you probably
do enough of that during the week. Find out river conditions before you leave home and don’t float when the river is flooded
or heavy rains are forecast. Most of all, don’t forget to enjoy the beauty around you.

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