Georgia River Network Launches 2022 Beginner’s Kayak & River Safety Courses | national news

ATHENS – Georgia River Network is launching its first full season of kayak and paddler safety courses designed specifically for paddlers who love slow-moving lakes and rivers and want to learn skills to be safer and have more fun on the water. GRN began offering classes in September 2021, and all initial offerings sold out quickly.

According to a recent Waterfall Foundation press release citing the latest (2020) data from the Outdoor Foundation, a record 37.9 million participants across the United States engaged in paddle sports like kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding during the pandemic. This pandemic surge has brought about 2.5 million new paddlers to America’s waterways. However, it increased the number of accidents to 331 and the number of fatalities to a record high of 202, accounting for more than 26% of all boating fatalities that same year. Over a third of victims had less than 10 hours of experience in paddle sports; experts cited lack of safety training as a significant contributing factor.

Georgia River Network classes are led by instructors certified by the American Canoe Association, the gold standard in paddle sports education. Courses range from Intro to Kayaking and Intro to River Kayaking, which provide an introduction to lakes, Class I rivers and basic paddling techniques, to a more progressive and unique offering that GRN offers. for only the second time in the Atlanta area: Rescue for Recreational Boaters. This class, offered only once this year, gives novice paddlers a unique opportunity to experience a comprehensive approach to paddler safety and rescue that is designed for exactly the types of hazards they will encounter.

Georgia River Network board member Bill Cox, who recently retired as Superintendent of Chattahoochee River Recreation Area National Park after 40 years of service, stresses the importance of providing training in rescue to novice boaters on the Metro Hooch section of the Chattahoochee River.

“What Georgia River Network is doing here is impressive and very timely,” Cox said. “While sea kayakers and whitewater paddlers have had access to this type of safety and rescue training for a long time, beginner paddlers on Class I lakes and rivers have never had a course designed just for them. their level of paddling. These instructors bring something special to help the paddling community in our area.

Rescue for recreational boaters (lake and river, 1-day and 2-day options available)

June 4, Lake Day, Panola Mountain State Park and Lake Alexander

Optional kayak rental available

June 5, River Day, Akers Mill/West Palisades Trail on the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta

Optional PFD rental available (no boat necessary)

$85 per day or $140 for both days; https://garivers.org/paddle-georgia/rescue-for-rec-boaters/

Introduction to river kayaking (class I river)

June 12 or July 30, Lower Chestatee River

$90 per person plus optional kayak rental

https://garivers.org/paddle-georgia/river-paddling-class/

Introduction to Kayaking (Lake)

July 9, Jackson Lake to Bear Creek Marina, Mansfield

$75 per person plus optional boat rental

https://garivers.org/paddle-georgia/lake-paddling-class/

Rescue for Rec Boaters is an entry-level safety and rescue class for paddlers who plan to paddle calm water lakes and slow-moving rivers. In addition to learning how to avoid dangerous scenarios on the water, participants can expect to learn how to save themselves, how to save others, and how to be rescued by someone else.

The introductory river kayaking course will focus on basic paddling skills, tips for better boat control in the current, trip planning and prevention, and skills such as reading the river and how to identify and avoid hazards and be more confident in exploring the class. I rivers.

Introduction to Kayaking is a half-day introductory course to familiarize paddlers with the characteristics of their boat and paddling and give them more confidence in their adventures. At the end of the day, paddlers can expect to feel like their boat is less choppy, namely paddling all day without straining their arms, avoiding tennis elbow, helping themselves themselves or helping a friend capsize on a lake and other basics that will prepare them to be better paddlers or companions for their family.

“At Georgia River Network, we want to make it safe and easy for people to experience Georgia’s waterways so they can love them as much as we do,” said Rena Ann Peck, executive director of Georgia River Network. “Once people start having fun on our rivers and lakes, they realize how important it is to defend them. Teaching skills and safety courses is just one more way to get more people to the river. »

Earlier this year, Georgia River Network launched a free mobile app, the Georgia River Guide, which highlights over 30 Georgia water trails with all the key information paddlers need to plan a trip. The app brings together information about river access, outfitting and camping, and safety conditions into one convenient digital tool for people to explore Georgia’s waterways. More information on the Georgia River Guide is available at https://garivers.org/georgiariverguide/.

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