Georgia River Network Provides Beginner River Safety Courses | national news
ATHENS – After the initial offerings sold out almost immediately, Georgia River Network added additional introductory kayaking and water safety courses to its September calendar of events to help train new paddlers who find their way to them. rivers of Georgia to escape the pandemic. One of the courses offered, Rescue for Rec Boaters, may be the first time that a comprehensive safety and rescue course has been offered to Class I lake and river paddlers in this region.
The recent increase in participation in paddle sports has also resulted in an increase in accidents and fatalities. Georgia River Network wants to help paddlers enjoy the state’s waterways safer and for many years to come.
Georgia River Network board member Bill Cox, who retired as park superintendent of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area after 40 years of federal service, stressed the importance of providing lifesaving training for novice boaters on the Metro Hooch section of the Chattahoochee River.
“Georgia River Network’s new class offerings are impressive and very timely,” Cox said. “While sea kayakers and whitewater paddlers have had access to this type of safety and lifesaving training for a long time, novice paddlers on Class I lakes and rivers have rarely had a class designed specifically for their level. paddling. I am excited to see this new offering in our region as I know it will greatly benefit our growing paddling community. “
Initiation to river kayaking (class I river), September 18 and 19
Lower Chestatee River, $ 75 per person plus optional kayak rental
♦ Rescue for boaters (lake and river options, one day and two days available)
♦ September 25, lake day, disembarkation of the ferry from Galt to Lake Allatoona
♦ $ 75 per person plus optional kayak rental
♦ September 26, River Day, Akers Mill / West Palisades Trail on the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta
♦ $ 75 per person plus optional PFD rental (no boat required)
♦ For the two days, the cost is $ 125 per person. https://garivers.org/paddle-georgia/rescue-for-rec-boaters/
The Introductory River Kayaking course will focus on basic paddling skills, boat control, trip planning and prevention, as well as skills such as how to get back into your boat if you capsize in the middle of a boat. ‘a lake, how to read the river and how to identify and avoid dangers.
Rescue for Rec Boaters is an entry-level safety and rescue course for paddlers planning to paddle flat water lakes and low-flow rivers. In addition to learning how to avoid dangerous scenarios on the water, participants can expect to learn how to save themselves, how to rescue others, and how to be rescued by someone else.
“As this pandemic continues, it is more important than ever that we have safe opportunities to connect with each other on the outside,” said Rena Peck, executive director of Georgia River Network. “We’re so lucky that Georgia has a longer paddling season than a lot of places. We want to help people explore these wonderful resources safely and love them as much as we do. “
In July, the U.S. Coast Guard released boating statistics for 2020, and it was no surprise that boating activity increased significantly in 2020, which also led to an increase in accidents and deaths. All types of navigation combined, fatalities increased by 25.1% and accidents increased by 26.3% compared to 2019.
Paddle steamers consistently account for around a quarter of boating-related deaths. In 2019 and 2020, the data remained stable at 24% of all deaths represented by canoeing, kayaking, paddleboards and inflatable boats. According to the USCG, the number of paddle steamer fatalities nationwide has risen from 149 in 2019 to 182 in 2020, an increase of 22.1%.
A more detailed analysis of paddling trends can be found in reports from American Whitewater, a national nonprofit that tracks accidents and fatalities related to river paddling. The underlying cause of the increase in the number of paddler deaths nationwide is attributed to the increase in activity among poorly and untrained paddlers with accidents on easier waterways. According to American Whitewater, in 2020 there were more incidents for paddlers on flat and Class I rivers than on Class III, IV, and V rivers combined.
“The pandemic has sparked an explosion of interest in paddle sports,” said Joe Cook, Georgia River Network’s Paddle Georgia coordinator. “Kayaking, in particular, has really taken off. Now we want to help people paddle safely, whether they join our trips or lead theirs. “
Georgia River Network traditionally hosts more than 300 people during an annual week-long river adventure known as Paddle Georgia which is held every June, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the group has hosted a series of 15 small-group river adventures this year that highlighted all 14 major river basins in Georgia.
To bring these courses to life, Georgia River Network enlists Andrea White, an American Canoe Association-certified Level 2 river kayaking instructor who is considered the benchmark for paddle sports programming in the United States. United. Georgia River Network Board Member Francheska Hebden, ACA Certified Level 5 Whitewater Lifesaving Instructor and Level 4 Whitewater Kayak Instructor Trainer, will be the lead instructor.
“Nationally, we are seeing a dramatic increase in participation in paddle sports without a commensurate increase in safety training and education,” said White, currently as state director of. ACA Tennessee on a voluntary basis. “Georgia has a particularly long paddling season and we want to help people get the most out of it. A few skills and a little prevention can go a long way in giving you more control of the boat and making your paddling more enjoyable for years to come.
Founded in 1998, Georgia River Network is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization that is the voice of Georgia’s rivers and strives to empower everyone to enjoy, connect with, and defend rivers economically. vital and clean.