Alabama Paddle Board, Canoe, & Kayak Safety Guide
As a steward of Alabama’s vast network of rivers, streams, and creeks, the ASRT has a duty to promote the safety of those who paddle its waters. Alabama’s water systems are incredibly diverse, offering numerous opportunities for adventure but also numerous challenges. Preparing properly for your adventure is crucial—and that’s what this guide is all about.
Here you’ll find information about water safety, our Trail Angels who can assist paddlers, dams and portages throughout the blueway, and a list of ASRT-approved campsites. To get started, download our Speaking Paddler glossary, full of all the acronyms and common paddling lingo that newbies need to survive!
Water Safety 101
ASRT cares about your safety on the water, and that’s why we want to share some valuable information from the American Canoe Association (ACA). As a trusted resource for paddling enthusiasts, the ACA offers a wealth of knowledge to help you have a fun and safe experience. Check out their Education Resource Library here for infographics, placards, and brochures that cover various paddling topics. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddler, these resources will enhance your understanding of best practices and safety measures, allowing you to continue learning and become a well-informed paddler. Remember to wear your life jacket, pack the essentials, and plan for safety. Let’s make unforgettable memories on Alabama’s beautiful waterways!
Plan Ahead with Additional Resources
Proper planning and adherence to safety measures will allow you to explore Alabama’s scenic waterways while prioritizing your well-being. Always wear your life jacket, follow these guidelines, and be well-prepared for your paddling adventures. Happy paddling! Additional information on paddling and paddling safety can be found in the myriad of resources and articles through the following organizations:
Dams and Portages
Portaging is an essential practice for paddlers in Alabama to safely navigate obstacles such as dams or challenging rapids. Portaging involves carrying or transporting a canoe or kayak overland to bypass hazardous sections of a river or lake. Paddlers should be prepared to lift their vessel out of the water, carry it on their shoulders or use a wheeled cart, and then return to the water at a safe location beyond the obstacle. ASRT works with Alabama Power, Georgia Power, and the U. S. Army Corp to ensure that there are portage trails across the state.
It’s also crucial for paddling tourists in Alabama to be aware of dams, particularly low-head dams that can create dangerous conditions. The Alabama Canoeing Association (ACA) provides a Low Head Dam Safety Brochure that outlines how to recognize low-head dams and understand the risks they pose. The brochure educates paddlers about the necessary precautions to take and helps them make informed decisions for a safe experience along Alabama Scenic River Trail.
Know where you can rest and recharge before you go! With the help of a network of dedicated paddlers, the ASRT has gathered a list of official campsites, offering everything from full-service lodging to a simple place to stop and eat lunch. Whatever your trip requires, find a campsite suited to your needs with this updated list, complete with each site’s location, amenities, rules, and other pertinent information.