Setting pole

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Three punt pole shoes in varying states of wear

A setting pole is a pole, handled by a single individual, made to move watercraft by pushing the craft in the desired direction. Because it is a pushing tool, it is generally used from the stern (back) of the craft.

A setting pole is usually made of ash, or a similar resilient wood, and is capped on one or both ends with metal to withstand the repeated pushing against the bottom and rocks, and to help the end of the pole sink to the bottom more quickly. It can range in length from eight feet (2.5 metres), to over fifteen feet (4.5 metres).

The best known form of setting pole is the single-ended punt pole used in Oxford and Cambridge. A setting pole may also be used in river canoeing for navigating portions of river where the water is too shallow for a paddle to create thrust, or where the desired direction of travel is opposite a current moving fast enough to make paddling inefficient and the water is shallow enough to make poling possible.

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