It is always recommended that you wear a life jacket when paddling, especially if on flat water. Below are some tips on how to survive a possible accident.
When paddling on flat water, hold the paddle straight out in front of you and your feet should be at a vertical position with the heel of your paddle touching the bottom of your feet. This will keep you a long way from turning the canoe upside down.
Many accidents occur when you have turned the canoe upside down. Should you happen to bump into a submerged obstacle, such as a submerged tree branch, the canoe will turn upside down. It is important to keep a foot in the canoe at all times, even when you want to turn it upside down to avoid turning your body into the boat. If you are wearing a life jacket, you can help minimise the danger by wearing a shield, such as a helmet.
Sided or blocked shoulders will keep the canoe stable. Try to keep your arms bent at a 90 degree angle to each other to help keep the upper body of the canoe pulled away from the surface of the water.
Sit on the side of the canoe closest to the shore, facing the incoming waves. Push with your feet, legs and arms to break the incoming water and keep the canoe from sliding.
Keep your canoe in a straight line, even when you want to go around a bend. If you veer to one side, you will tend to go down. Keep your speed limited and you can easily manage to go around the bend.
If you have a light boat, steer directly at the wind and use your back paddle to steer efficiently. If you have a large boat, turn left at the wind and port at the fish shore. steady your feet, hold your paddle with one hand on the handle and position your body to take the correct line.
The most important thing to remember while you are on the water is to keep you eye on the shore. If you see a monster, say a coho salmon, jump over the side, you can easily be assured that it is caught in the current. Keep track of your paddle so you can easily tell direction. Not only that, you need to be able to see the fish swimming and jumping over the side of your canoe.
Let someone know where you are going and how long you will be gone. The more you are out in the lake, the more disturbances you are likely to have. Then you may have to get up in the middle of the night and paddle to where you thought you parked. How many buddies in your party can assist you in pulling that canoe up and out of the water.