The American Canoe Association urges all paddlers to boat responsibly to prevent accidents, minimize impacts, and avoid conflicts with residents and other users. We offer these guidelines for responsible paddling:


1. Wear a properly-fitted lifejacket while on the water. Never paddle under the influence of alcohol or unprescribed drugs.

2. Paddle with a group, not by yourself. Leave a "float plan" for your trip with a friend or family member.

3. Dress appropriately for weather and water conditions, including air and water temperature. Avoid conditions for which you are not prepared.

4. Learn about your route in advance, especially potential hazards, and avoid hazards that are beyond your skill level.

5. Carry a supply of food and water adequate for your trip length.

6. Be able to read the water and effectively steer and propel your boat. Learn how to rescue yourself and others in the event of capsize.

7. Do not stand up in your boat, and avoid weight shifts that may cause capsize. Do not carry more weight or persons than your boat is designed to safely accommodate.

8. Respect Homeland Security protection zones. Stay at least 100 yards away from all naval vessels, installations, piers, and other security zones (unless instructed to approach).


1. Obey local rules and regulations. Use only public lands and access points.

2. Respect private property. Never trespass to gain access.

3.'Be considerate of others while on the water. Give anglers a wide berth.

4. Be considerate of local residents. Never change clothes in public view.

5. Give back to the waterway. Participate in a cleanup, or volunteer for a local watershed organization.

6. Avoid introducing non-native species. Clean your equipment between trips.


1. Dispose of waste properly. Never litter. Always pack out your trash.

2. Use a portable toilet or other approved method to pack out solid human waste and paper products. Dispose of liquid waste 200 ft. from water, away from camps and trails. Consult Leave No Trace ( and local resource managers for additional guidance.

3. Travel and camp on durable surfaces whenever possible. Minimize impacts to shore when launching, portaging, and scouting.

4. Avoid building campfires, except in established fire rings, or in emergencies.

5. Respect wildlife by observing from a safe distance. Leave artifacts and natural features undisturbed.


 Submitted by Alan August