Punting is a Cambridge tradition and you should give it a go while you're here. The correct way to punt is to stand on the flat part of the punt (the back), holding the pole. Let the pole slide through your hands into the water until it touches the bottom, then push hard, and then pull the pole out of the river bed (it may be necessary to twist the pole slightly if it sticks in the mud). Repeat.
Steering is accomplished by sweeping the pole through the water as you bring it up, using it as a rudder. If the pole gets completely stuck, LET GO! It is far better to leave the pole behind, where you can use the oar to paddle back and retrieve it, than it is to be left on a pole in the middle of the river, causing amusement to passing students and tourists as you slowly fall into the water.
More information on how to take advantage of one of the MCR's punt schemes follows.
MCR Punting Schemes:
Scudamore's scheme (Discounted punting)
TO RESERVE and PICK UP A PUNT:
Please go to the Scudamore's booking centre by the Mill Pub. Bring your university ID and ask for the Selwyn discount. You may reserve a punt for as long as you like at an hourly rate of £8 during the week and £9 at weekends or bank holidays.