Callling all 'boat' people! Can someone explain the differences please between kayaks and canoes? DCs (12 yr old DTs) want to start boating and are worried about the kind of craft where you're effectively 'stuck' inside and need to flip under the water to get it upright again if you capsize.
On the other hand, am I right to think that these (are these kayaks?) easier to use? Are canoes bigger and more unwieldy but easier to get out of if you capsize?
Also, is it safest to look for lakes for this or rivers or sea? If river - can you just set off in your own boat or do you always need a license/special permission?
Finally, what's the most appropriate and best type of lifejacket/buoyancy aid?
We have a three person Canadian (open) canoe which we take on canals, lakes and rivers. To legally canoe on British waterways you will need a license, however you can't just canoe on any water course as many are privately owned.
We all use sit on top kayaks. I would be terrified being stuck under the water. We use ours on the sea and river. Leave the plugs in for the river and out for the sea. We bought ours from a company called Mamboola, Google them.
Sit on tops are fabulous. We played with one on holiday with our kids 22mo and almost 4. They loved it - especially the small one.
Canoes are brilliant for avoiding getting stuck but if you find a club they should teach cockpit drill (for getting out of a closed cockpit kayak) on dry land first of all so your dts could see how it feels and how easy it actually is.
In fact the club I used to coach with for a long time refused to have any boats with small cockpits to ensure that fear of getting stuck wasn't an issue.
Also, some kayaks have bigger cockpits than others. i paddle boats with small cockpits (easier to roll) but I also race and racing boats have h-u-u-g-e cockpits where there is no chance of getting stuck. Infact you have no chance really of staying in if you lean too far over! (Not withstanding that a lot of racing boats are like lolly sticks so when you start, staying in one is actually quite hard!)
If you're in the UK and you buy a boat it's worth joining the British Canoe Union because that will give you the license to paddle on canals and those rivers (like the Norfolk Broads and the Rivers Severn & Thames) where there is a right to paddle. It also comes with insurance etc.
Look for a club near you on the bcu site. I started kayaking at 13 in a local club, it's much better to learn properly than to just wing it as you can really damage yourself if you don't know what you are doing! Also, if you capsize a kayak with the deck on, you just pull off the deck, but if you learn through a club they will teach them how to do that before letting them do it.
My mum runs a club on the coast of Essex, there is an open day coming up at alton waters in Suffolk on the 18th run by her club for people to have a go at both disciplines of if you are anywhere near there, I'll be there to, hopefully coaching if my chest gets better before then