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Choosing a Seat in a Canoe

Fred Ergot, age 10, of Mitchell, Oregon, asks:

At camp, we have two-person canoes. Is it better to get the front seat or the back seat?

Try to get the back seat. It is much easier for the person in back to splash the person in front with the paddle, than the other way around. In case you cannot get the back seat, bring a rain poncho.

If you are in the back, and you want to get the person in front wet and make it look accidental, notice that when you switch the paddle from side to side, drops of water fly off the end. With a little practice, you can aim these so that the front paddler gets it on the back of the neck, which is the most annoying spot. Switch sides often.

A little practice will teach you the optimal angle and swing speed.

If you are interested in Science (as I hope you are!) please note that the path of the water droplets is governed by Newton’s equation of motion, forming a parabola. As you dampen your canoe-mate, notice the lovely arc of the water droplets.

Do not stand up in the boat. This makes it too easy for others to tip you into the water. Accidentally, of course.


1 thought on “Choosing a Seat in a Canoe”

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