Tennessee Paddlesports Association

Growing, Protecting, Supporting Tennessee's Paddlesports Businesses

Best Practices for responsible, shared use of Tennessee Waterways

The TN Paddlesports Association supports responsible, shared use of Tennessee waters ways for paddling, fishing, and boating.  A goal of the TN Paddlesports Association is to promote practices that diminish the potential for user conflicts and help keep our natural environment clean and available to all for outdoor recreation.  These best practices are offered to help achieve that goal.

Reduce congestion at popular put-ins and take-outs

    • Unload as quickly as possible and in areas that do not block boat ramps and access by others.  Move your vehicle to an appropriate parking area as soon as possible.
    • Don’t leave kayaks and canoes on boat ramps for an extended period.  Whenever possible avoid using the ramps to put-in and take-out.  When available use areas on the sides of the boat ramps to load and unload.
    • Instruct customers to assemble in areas that are not heavily trafficked to allow vehicles to move around without blocking their egress.  Don’t stand around in front of the boat ramp.

Respect fishermen

    • When fishermen are present look for their lines in the water and avoid them by paddling away from where their line enters the water, which generally is away from the fishermen.  
    • Do not try to paddle under the line unless is too late to avoid.
    • Be aware that fly casting needs up to 30 yards of clearance in a radius around the fishermen. 
    • In general, avoid waving or trying to converse with fishermen unless they initiate contact.  They may not want to respond to a number of paddlers passing by.

Respect Private property

    • Unless you are in a National Forest or in a National or State Park, the land on either side of the river is private property.  Do not try to access this land.  Some landowner may consider setting foot on riverside property to be trespassing.
    • If you are lost or confused about where to take-out, contact your outfitter or follow the instructions provided to you during the orientation.

Pick Up Litter

    • It goes without saying that littering on waterways is inappropriate.  Never try to sink cans or other waste to discard them. 
    • Use a trash bag and carry out more than your carried in.
    • Most litter in waterways come from tributaries.  Still some who are opposed to paddling on navigable waterways may try to blame paddlers for the litter. 
    • Most outfitters conduct river cleanups annually.
    • Visit our Events Page to see the next river cleanup in your area.

Be helpful to others

    • While you are not responsible for rescues and the problems of others encountered on the water, be helpful to others whenever possible. 
    • Follow your outfitter's instructions in case of an emergency.  
    • Always be courteous to others and avoid confrontation.  

Tennessee Paddlesports Association, PO Box 66, Strawberry Plains, TN 37871   

+1 833 304 6484


TN Paddlesports Association is a non-profit corporation

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