More people than ever now own a canoe or kayak, thanks in part to affordable new designs. The safest are the ‘sit-on-tops’ made of hard plastic, which are unsinkable and self-draining. If you capsize, just get back on and keep going. The easiest to transport are the inflatables, with various thicknesses of skin. Make sure you buy one with multiple chambers and don’t use inflatables if you plan to venture far from the shore.
Everyone has the right to canoe on tidal waters, so if you are a beginner head for the sheltered estuaries and creeks common along the southern coast of the South West. If you time your trip carefully you can head upstream with the flow and return with the ebb. Be aware that the estuary mouth, where the river meets the sea, can be subject to swell and breaking waves. If you plan to canoe on non-tidal, inland waters, check out access arrangements and always be respectful to fishermen.