Swimming and Canoeing

Canoeing is one of the UK’s most popular water sports. But if you can’t swim you could be left on the riverbank.

A canoe is a type of boat that ranges in size from being small enough for one person to sit or kneel inside to fitting up to several people sitting down.

It is sometimes called a kayak and different styles of craft are used to race on flatwater (slow-moving water such as a river), white water and in the sea. A paddle is used to propel the canoe, or Kayak along a river, lake or in the sea.

Olympic Sport Canoeing has two disciplines: slalom and sprint.

In slalom, competitors race both up and downstream on river rapids, navigating their canoe between poles. In sprint, a straight, laned course on flatwater is raced.

Swimming level needed

Most clubs and centres require you to be able to swim 50m in light clothing in case you capsize and need to be able to reach the bank or your canoe.

This is the same as swimming two lengths of your local pool with your clothes on! Could you do that?

  • Use our Pool Finder to track down swimming lessons at your local pool to build your strength up.

When you can do it have a go at canoeing at your local canoeing or sailing club. It’s a great family activity to try on holiday too!

New ICAN badges and certificates for young learners