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Philadelphia Canoe Club


(All canoe classes are offered solo or tandem.)

PCC offers a variety of canoes classes from flat and moving water to challenging whitewater. We also offer two hour evening  clinics for paddlers to improve their skills. For further information contact Looie Voorhees at

Do you know there is a difference between flat water canoes and whitewater canoes? Flat water canoes have seats and the paddler has an option to sit or kneel. You must kneel in a whitewater canoe and sit on a foam saddle for maximum control. That may be hard to imagine but with the correct fit it's actually comfortable. Ask one of our instructors and we will be happy to show you our canoes.


CANOE-BASIC INSTRUCTION (Evening Session 5:30-7:30p.m.)

Basic canoe instruction for the beginner on flatwater to prepare you for future classes. This class will focus on entering and exiting the canoe, basic strokes to control the boat, necessary gear. You may paddle solo or tandem. For tandem, both students need to be registered.  

Canoe-Basic Instruction May 14, 2024  (5:30 pm - 7:30 pm) - Tuesday Evening    REGISTER HERE

INTRODUCTION TO CANOEING - (5 p.m. - 8 p.m.)

Location: Schuylkill River

This course will introduce the new student to the sport of canoeing. You will learn how to position yourself in a canoe, balance, strokes and boat control.  The course will cover water reading, safety, how to paddle the canoe in straight line, avoid obstacles and what to do in the event of a capsize.  Be prepared to be wet, bring a change of clothes.

July 9, 2024  Register Here


Location: Schuylkill River/NJ Pine Barrens (gentle moving water).

No experience necessary. 

This course is designed for the beginner. We will meet at Philadelphia Canoe Club Saturday morning. Saturday's class will be held on the Schuylkill River by the clubhouse. Students will learn about paddle and canoe styles, basic strokes, maneuvers such as eddy turns and ferries, self and assisted rescue and safety. Bring your lunch, water to drink, snacks and a change of clothes. Sunday's class will be held on the Wading River in the NJ Pine Barrens. You will be introduced to river features and water reading in this unique environment of pristine beauty and clean water flowing from an underground aquifer. You will learn how to maneuver your boat using strokes, ferries and eddies. Instruction is offered solo or tandem. (Note: Tandem students must attend class with their partner who must also be a student). 

Introduction to Canoeing May 18 & 19, 2024 REGISTER HERE  


Location: Schuylkill River (class 1+).

No experience necessary.

This course will cover equipment, safety, rescue, and boat control on moving water. You will learn maneuvers such as ferries and eddy turns on moving water. Please dress appropriately. No cotton clothing. Secure footwear required, no sandals, flip flops or crocs. Make sure your shoes will stay on in turbulent water. Registrants will receive more information closer to the date of class from the instructors. You may take Day 1 only.

River Canoeing (Essentials) - Level 2 - June 15 & 16, 2024   Register Here

RIVER CANOEING - Beginner Whitewater - Two-Day Class (Level 3) 

Location: Schuylkill River - Lehigh River (class 1-2 whitewater).

This course is will be taught on the Schuylkill River Saturday and Lower Lehigh River on Sunday. Students will be using whitewater canoes. The class is designed to build and improve skills on class 1-2 whitewater. Students will practice eddy turns, peel outs, and ferries. Rescue will include capsizing, re-entry, boat and paddler rescue. You will practice water reading, scouting, avoiding hazards and river running.

Please dress appropriately. No cotton clothing. Secure footwear required, no sandals, flip flops or crocs. Make sure your shoes will stay on in turbulent water. Registrants will receive more information closer to the date of class from the instructors.

River Canoeing - Beginner Whitewater (Level 3) July 6 & 7, 2024  Register Here  

WHITEWATER CANOE - Level 4 -  Four-Day Novice Training

No experience necessary:

This course is held over a period of two weekends. You may choose solo or tandem canoe. You will be introduced to proper fit and use of equipment, strokes, maneuvers, assisted and self rescue, river features, water reading, and safety while building skills to paddle class two whitewater. The first two-day weekend will begin on still water and move onto more challenging class. The second weekend will be held on the Lehigh River in the Poconos. Tent camping included for Friday and Saturday nights at Whitewater Challengers. Please note: No RV's.

Whitewater Canoe Novice Training - May 31, June 1 & 2, 8 & 9, 2024   Register Here


These clinics will focus on improving strokes and maneuvers. You may use either a whitewater or flat water. Tandem students need to bring a partner who is also registered for the class. You may bring your own canoe. Some canoeing experience necessary. Take one, take all. Improve your skills, have fun!

Clinic # 1: - May 29, 2024 (2-Hours)

Forward, Backward & Cross Forward Strokes, Braces Register Here

This clinic will focus on improving your forward, backward and cross forward stroke. The forward stroke is hardest to learn and is a lifelong learning process. There are two kinds of "J" strokes, "Traditional J" for cruising and "River J" for whitewater. Paddling backward is necessary for slowing down, stopping and back ferry boat control in twisty moving water or whitewater. Intro to bracing.

You may use either a whitewater or flat water canoe. Tandem students must provide their own partner who is a registered student in the course.

Clinic # 2: July 2, 2024 (2-Hours)

Prys and Draws, Side Slips, Heeling & Braces Register Here

Prys and draws are essential for good boat control and necessary for paddling straight, turning and side slipping. You will learn where to place you paddle and when to use these strokes for maximum control. We will also learn heeling,  high and low braces, a handy skill to learn to keep from capsizing. 

You may use either a whitewater or flat water canoe. Tandem students need to bring a partner. 

Clinic # 3: June 12, 2024 (2-Hours)

Front & Back Ferries, Intro to Eddy Turns Register Here

(Includes paddling backward using a reverse "J" stroke).

Ferrying is used to easily and quickly move from one side of the river to the other while avoiding obstacles (rocks, trees, other boaters or from being swept downstream). You can ferry facing downstream (back ferry) or facing upstream (front ferry). Back ferries are especially important in canoes because you don't need to turn the boat against the upstream current, just angle the boat a bit and paddle backward to avoid a problem.  Knowing a good back stroke is essential for back ferries. We will practice paddling backward using a reverse "J".

You may use either a whitewater or flat water canoe. Tandem students need to bring a partner.

Clinic # 4: June 19, 2024 (2-Hours)

Eddy Turns, Peel Outs, Water Reading, Scouting, Portaging Register Here

PrerequisiteSome whitewater experience necessary, class will be conducted in whitewater canoes. (Solo or Tandem).

Note: Class will begin at 5 p.m. Please arrive early if possible.

This class will be held on the Schuylkill River at Flatrock in class 1-2 whitewater.The goal of this class is to learn to good river judgement to navigate moving and whitewater safely and efficiently.  You will practice improving your ferries, peel outs, water reading, scouting and portaging. Most rivers have flat sections and whitewater sections. You will learn when to stop, scout and safely navigate or portage a section you do not wish to run. 

Clinic # 5:  June 26, 2024 (2-Hours)

Basic Rescue Techniques   Register Here

(Capsizing, Boat Rescue & Re-Entry, Throw Bags)

Class will be held on the Schuylkill River at the club.  The clinic will cover basic rescue techniques that every canoeist should know for personal and group safety. You will learn how to rescue a capsized canoe and assist paddlers with their re-entry into the boat using the heel hook.  You will also learn to use throw bags.(Bring your throw bag if you have one). 

Be prepared to get wet, you will be in the water. Protect your feet, especially your toes, wear secure footwear. Closed water shoes or sneakers a must, no sandals, flip flops or crocs.

Clinic # 6: July 17, 2024  (2-Hours)   Register Here 

Try a Whitewater Canoe

(Conducted on easy flat water).

Note: Kneeling required to fit into the canoe.

Interested in whitewater canoes? Never sat in one or need a little practice with boat control? This class provides an opportunity to learn about whitewater canoes, how they are used, fit yourself into one and learn the basic strokes to paddle the canoe. The class will cover the parts of the boat and the type of equipment used in whitewater. You will learn why they are different from flat water canoes. 

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                              "Philadelphia Canoe Club" is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. 4900 Ridge Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19128   

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