If it is your first time carrying a canoe, it is a good idea to have someone assist you in lifting the canoe so that you can practice the proper technique and avoid injuring yourself. Carrying a canoe by yourself is surprisingly easy. The hard part is lifting the canoe and getting it into position. With practice, the process becomes easy. It is always helpful to have someone assist you in lifting your canoe into position, but it is good to know how to lift your canoe without any assistance.
Wear tennis shoes or hiking boots that fit you well when carrying a canoe. Shoes that fit poorly can cause you to trip and injure yourself or damage the canoe–or both.
Before lifting your canoe, remove all equipment and water from the canoe. It is not only easier to lift an empty canoe, the weight of equipment in the canoe can put stress on the structure and can potentially cause damage to the canoe.
When lifting the canoe, it is important to use proper body posture. Bend your knees and lift with your legs to help prevent injuries.
Start with the canoe laying on the ground right side up.
Stand beside and at the center of the canoe.
Bend over and grab the gunwale nearest to you and lift the canoe onto its side so that the canoe is facing away from you. Rest the canoe against your legs.
Once the canoe is placed on your shoulders, it is easy to carry. Properly positioned, the canoe should not feel overly heavy. Always keep a hold of the gunwales with your hands to keep the canoe balanced.
When carrying a canoe, always walk slowly and observantly. Watch the ground in front of you to avoid tripping. Be aware of your surroundings. With a canoe on top of you, you have to be careful not to hit others when you are walking or turning. If you are with another person, it is a good idea to have them guide you along the way.