Training

The Ancient Mariners are strongly committed to training. We believe that training will help members enjoy safe paddling.

We offer training on land and in the water. Dry-land training begins in January at the W.G. Johnson Centre and covers such topics as safety on the river, elementary first aid, packing a dry pack, carrying the canoe, loading the trailer and reading the river. All members are encouraged to attend these sessions.

All new members must participate in land and water training:
• in the W.G. Johnson pool in January and February, with canoes
• on a local pond in early spring
• informal mentoring on the rivers, from week to week throughout the summer

By the end of ten hours of small group and personal instruction we want beginning members to be able to:
• safely enter and leave the canoe without ending up in the water
• paddle a straight course, using either a bow power stroke or a stern J stroke
• if in the bow, use draw and cross-bow draw strokes to turn the canoe to one side or the  other
• if in the stern, use a sweep to move to the right or the left
• move the bow to one side or the other by using a pry or running draw
• with your partner, paddle backwards in a straight line
• use a combination of basic strokes that allow stern and bow paddlers to accomplish a variety of  manoeuvres according to current, river conditions and travel strategy

The excellent waters we paddle in the Grand River watershed vary both with geography and seasonal conditions. They present a variety of opportunities and challenges for paddlers. Accordingly, we also offer intermediate training with an experienced training committee and expert instruction. Here the goal is to increase the level of skills and judgment for enjoyable and safe paddling. 

In the intermediate training members will learn to:
• read the river to recognize such features as ledges, hydraulics, rock gardens,
  channels, submerged rocks, eddies, sweepers and strainers
• enter and leave an eddy; use high and low braces to stabilize the canoe; perform   forward and back ferries
• appreciate the nature of the current and use it to deal safely with the obstacles, dangers, and
  opportunities that flowing water presents

Our training credo is simple - training works when our members are continuously learning something new or improved, whether paddling strokes, canoeing skills, working as partners, or reading the river. 

You can always teach an old paddler new tricks!