The action of paddling keeps you warm above the waist and the canoe and spray cover keep you warm below the waist, so that heavy clothing is rarely necessary when canoeing, whatever the time of year. For normal purposes all that is necessary is a shirt and shorts and a pair of light rubber or string-soled shoes or sandals.

Carry warmer clothing in a waterproof bag to put on when you go ashore.

For windy weather a hooded ‘Anorak’ is useful (Fig 41).

For wet weather wear a sou’wester and an oilskin or plastic jacket (and trousers for going ashore). If you wear gum boots when you are ashore TAKE THEM OFF before getting into your canoe.

That’s from Know the Game: Boating: rowing, canoeing, punting published by Educational Productions Limited of East Ardsley, Wakefield, Yorkshire in 1960.

Its cover has a drawing of three chaps: one is canoeing, clad as recommended in shorts and shirt; one is punting; the third is sculling, and he has a passenger, a young lady wearing a (below the knee) frock who is steering the boat using the rudder lines. Apart from the cover, none of the book’s 86 illustrations shows a female.

O tempora, O mores! Buoyancy aids, helmets and fluorescent clothing are now required, as shown in the pics on the Shannon Blueways site. [Incidentally, if there’s a link to that site from the Waterways Ireland site, I was unable to find it.] I’m all in favour of safety, but I wonder whether the amount of extraneous kit and clobber needed to go boating nowadays is a deterrent to potential newcomers.



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