FALL FLOAT ON THE FLINT

FALL FLOAT ON THE FLINT

FALL FLOAT ON THE FLINT

FALL FLOAT ON THE FLINT 2019

Paddle Georgia Fall Float on the Flint Information for registered participants

On this page find everything you need to know to participate in Fall Float on the Flint

WAIVERS…very important!!

If you have not already signed an online American Canoe Association liability waiver, it’s time to do it! It take just minutes and saves time during registration on Oct. 4 at Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat. Click on the link, sign the form and then respond to an e-mail you will receive to complete the liability waiver form process.

ADULT LIABILITY WAIVER ONLINE FORM

MINOR LIABILITY WAIVER ONLINE FORM

If you have difficulty completing your online waiver, contact Joe Cook at joe@garivers.org

 

 Text Message Alert System

To receive text message alerts from Georgia River Network staff regarding Fall Float on the Flint please text GARIVERS to 84483 on your cell phone. This system will be used to communicate important information to Fall Float on the Flint  participants in a timely manner in the event of an emergency or other situation in which information needs to be sent to all participants as quickly as possible. 

 

ON SITE REGISTRATION AT

ROCKY BEND FLINT RIVER RETREAT OCT. 4-5

Check-In Times:        

Oct. 4: 2-8 p.m. 

Oct. 5: 7-8:30 a.m.

All participants must check in at Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat during the times listed above. Upon check-in, you will receive your event packet that includes items like your Fall Float on the Flint  T-shirt, Fall Float decal and your on-river maps and descriptions.

You may choose to drop your boat at our initial launch site prior to registering at Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat. Please note that after dropping your boat at out initial launch site, you will then have your vehicle parked at Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat for the remainder of the weekend. On Monday morning, Oct. 7, prior to launching on our final day, we will shuttle vehicles to final take out site at Flint River Heights Road so that your vehicle will be waiting to load your boat and head home.  Overnight security will be provided for the boats located at our launch/take out sites.

Bus transportation is provided to and from launch/take out sites on Oct. 5, 6 and 7.

Note: Participants arriving earlier than 2 pm on Oct. 4 WILL NOT be allowed to register early.

Directions to Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat, 2909 Newton Highway, Newton, GA 39870 

GPS Coordinates: 31.301389, -84.344167

From I-75 Southbound: From Exit 99 in Cordele, go west/south toward Albany 35 miles. At intersection with U.S 82 in Albany (Clark Ave.) turn right and proceed 1.5 miles to entrance ramp to U.S. 19/Ga. 300 southbound on right. Turn right and enter U.S. 19 /Ga. 300 (Liberty Expy.) and proceed 2 miles to Ga. 133 (Moultrie Road) exit. Exit right and proceed 0.8 mile. At 0.8 mile Moultrie Road continues right and East Oakridge Dr. bears to the left. Bear left on East Oakridge Dr. and proceed 2.9 mile to Ga. 91. Turn left on Ga. 91 and proceed 20 miles to Ga. 37 in Newton. Continue straight on Ga. 91 0.9 mile to entrance to Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat on left.

From I-75 Northbound: From Exit 39 in Adel, go west on Ga. 37 21.7 miles to 2nd St. in Moultrie. Turn left on 2nd Street and proceed 0.3 mile to West Central Ave. Turn right on West Central Ave (Ga. 37) and proceed 26 miles to Camilla. In Camilla continue on Ga. 37 11 miles to Ga. 91 intersection in Baker County. Turn left on Ga. 91 and proceed 0.9 mile to entrance to Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat on left.

BOAT DROP OFF

Boat Drop-Off Times:

Oct. 4: 1-6 p.m.

Oct. 5: 7-8 a.m

All participants must drop off their boats during these times at our initial launch location, private property (pecan grove) near Baconton, Georgia.

Directions to Boat Drop from I-75 Southbound: From Exit 99 in Cordele, go west on Ga. 300 35.2 miles to U.S. 82 in Albany. Turn right on U.S. 82 and proceed 1.6 miles to highway interchange with U.S. 19. Pass beneath U.S. 19 and turn right onto entrance ramp to U.S. 19 south traveling 14.4 miles to Daniels St. in Baconton. Turn right and proceed 0.6 mile to railroad track and Old State Rte. 3. Continue straight across Old State Rte. 3 and proceed 0.9 mile to dirt Old Bainbridge Road. Across Old Bainbridge Road is a gate and dirt road leading through a pecan grove. Proceed straight on this dirt road (look for Paddle Georgia signs) 1.2 mile to river. Where road deadends at the river turn right and proceed to boat drop off area. PLEASE NOTE: Remain on the dirt road through the pecan grove. Pecans will likely still be on the ground and they need to be harvested—not crushed under vehicle tires! Also, staying on the designated road will ensure that irrigation systems are not damaged.

GPS Coordinates: 31.372512, -84.199620

Directions to Boat Drop from I-75 Northbound: From Exit 39 in Adel (Ga. 37), go west on Ga. 37 toward Moultrie 20.2 miles. In Moultrie, turn right on U.S. 319 and proceed 13.1 miles to Doerun. Turn left on East Bay St./Ga. 270 and travel 5.5 miles. At 5.5 Ga. 270 bears left. Stay straight on Greenough Road and continue 6.7 miles to Stage Coach Road. Turn right on Stage Coach Road and proceed 1.2 mile. Turn left on Delta Pine Road and proceed 3.8 miles. Turn left on Jackson Dairy Road. In 0.4 mile reach U.S. 19. Cross U.S. 19 continuing straight on to Daniels Street 0.6 mile to railroad track and Old State Rte. 3. Continue straight across Old State Rte. 3 and proceed 0.9 mile to dead end at Old Bainbridge Road. Across Old Bainbridge Road is a gate and dirt road leading through a pecan grove. Proceed straight on this dirt road (look for Paddle Georgia signs) 1.2 mile to river. Where run dead ends at the river turn right and proceed to boat drop off area. PLEASE NOTE: Remain on the dirt road through the pecan grove. Pecans will likely still be on the ground and they need to be harvested—not crushed under vehicle tires!

 

Directions to Boat Drop Off from Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat: From entrance to Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat, turn right on Ga. 91 and proceed 0.7 mile to Ga. 37. Turn right and proceed 3 miles to River Road. Turn left and proceed 7 miles to Radium Springs Road (Old State Route 3). Turn left and proceed 4.5 miles to Bowles Street. Turn left on Bowles Street and proceed 0.9 mile to dirt Old Bainbridge Road. Across Old Bainbridge Road is a gate and dirt road leading through a pecan grove. Proceed straight on this dirt road (look for Paddle Georgia signs) 1.2 mile to river. Where road deadends at the river turn right and proceed to boat drop off area. PLEASE NOTE: Remain on the dirt road through the pecan grove. Pecans will likely still be on the ground and they need to be harvested—not crushed under vehicle tires! Also, staying on the designated road will ensure that irrigation systems are not damaged.

Directions to Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat from Boat Drop Off: Return to Old State Rte. 3. Turn right and proceed 4.5 miles to River Road. Turn right and proceed 7 miles to Ga. 37. Turn right and travel 2.9 miles to Ga. 91 in Newton. Turn left on Ga. 91 and proceed 0.6 mile to entrance to Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat on left.

 

MEAL INFORMATION

Meals are included in the cost of registration. This includes three breakfast, three lunches and three locally-sourced dinners paired with beer and wine from local breweries and wineries. We encourage you to arrive Friday Oct. 4, and enjoy our kick off evening meal beginning at 6:30 p.m.. Breakfasts and sack lunches will be provided Oct. 5, 6, 7.

In an effort to reduce the amount of waste created on our journey, please bring a Reusable Plate and Utensils. Dishwashing stations will be available so that you can easily clean these items following each meal.

Lunches: Provided by Main Street Cafe in Camilla, sack lunches come with your choice of sandwiches: turkey, ham, pimento cheese, peanut butter and jelly or veggie/hummusIf you did not choose your sandwich for each day when registering, please return to the registration site, sign in and choose your sandwiches. You will pick up your sack lunch AT THE CAMPSITE following breakfast each morning. Make sure you bring a waterproof bag to keep your lunch dry on the river. Lunches include chips, fruit and dessert.

Breakfasts: Breakfast will be served daily beginning at 6:30 a.m. Daily menu includes eggs, grits, sausage and/or bacon, vegan friendly meat alternatives, cereals, biscuits, fresh fruit, orange juice, milk, coffee and alternative non-dairy milk.

Dinners: Provided by The Bread House in Albany, dinners will be served daily beginning at 6:30 p.m. and will feature locally-sourced meats and vegetables.

Friday, Oct. 4: Cilantro lime roasted chicken with pico de gallo, southwestern salad–mixed greens, roasted corn and black bean salsa, avocado and chipolte ranch, brown rice, dinner rolls, buttermilk pannacotta with blueberries and granola.

Saturday, Oct. 5: Grady Ranch grass-fed beef pot roast with local carrots, parsnips, celery and potatoes, side salad, dinner rolls, Georgia pecan pie. 

Sunday, Oct. 6: Marview Farms lemon, garlic and herb slow roasted chicken, Southern slow-cooked greens (collards, turnips and kale) parmesan mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, peach cobble and vanilla ice cream.

Dinners will be paired with beer and wine from local breweries and wineries including the following:

Pretoria Fields Collective

Omaha Brewing Company

Georgia Beer Company

Five Points Berries Winery

Still Pond Winery

One complimentary beer and wine will be included with each dinner. Additional drinks may be purchased on Friday and Saturday nights…but not Sunday!

CAMPSITE INFORMATION

Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat: There’s nothing quite as nice as camping on the river. Flint River Retreat provides that…and in a beautiful setting. Shaded, grassy tent camping sites along the river are numerous as well as many shaded spots away from the river. Private rental cabins and RV sites can be reserved by calling Frances Deese at 229-343-2767. Shower facilities are extremely limited–1 mens, 1 womens and 1 co-ed…that is, men and women can take turns, ahem! The co-ed shower is an outdoor shower tent with hot water. Please take short showers and be patient. If you wish, you may bring your own camp shower. With the exception of rental cabins, there is NO indoor camping! Bring your tent! Meals will be served in “The Pavilion,” an air-conditioned dining hall that seats about 70. Overflow dining will be on picnic tables on the lawns surrounding “The Pavilion” Evening programs and announcements will be conducted from the porch of “The Pavilion.”

Nearby Amenities: Rocky Bend is located outside of Newton. In Newton there is a convenience store, grocery store and burger/hot dog shop. All are located near the intersection of Ga. 37 and Ga. 91 located 0.9 mile from entrance to Rocky Bend. Camilla, 12 miles to the east, is the nearest town with large grocery stores, drug stores and other amenities.

Alternative Lodging in Camilla: Camilla Inn Hotel & Suites-229-336-0731, Days Inn Camilla- 229-336-0330, Eagle Eyrie Bed & Breakfast-229-336-8811. 

SHUTTLE INFORMATION AND FINAL DAY SHUTTLE INSTRUCTIONS

Distance to Launch Sites/Take Out Sites:

Shuttle Distance to Initial Launch Site on Oct. 5: 16 miles

Shuttle Distance to Launch Site on Oct. 6: No shuttle! Launch Site is at take out!

Shuttle Distance to Launch Site on Oct. 7: 30 miles to Flint River Heights Road in personal vehicles; then 17 miles via bud to launch site at Norman’s Ferry.

Map of Fall Float Route with Launch/Take Out Sites:

Directions from Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat to Flint River Heights Road Parking Area/Final Take Out on Oct. 7: (please note, all vehicles will be driven from Rocky Bend to Flint River Heights Road on the morning of Oct. 7 so that your vehicles will await you when you finish your journey. A shuttle bus will retrieve you at Flint River Heights Road and return you to our launch site for Oct. 7). From the entrance to Rocky Bend Flint River Heights Road, turn left on Ga. 91 and proceed 13.3 miles to Ga. 253. Turn left and proceed 16.8 miles. Turn left on Flint River Heights Road and proceed 0.2 mile to parking area in pasture on right.

GPS Coordinates: 30.961438, -84.564050

Directions to Hoggard Mill Boat Ramp and then to Final Take Out Parking: Some participants may wish to drop their passengers at our final day launch site before proceeding to the final day take out parking. If so, here’s directions to the launch site and then to the take out site parking.

From the entrance to Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat, turn left and proceed 10.4 miles to Hoggard Mill Road. Turn left on dirt Hoggard Mill Road and proceed 3.6 miles to Lee Heard Road. Turn left and proceed 0.7 mile to boat ramp. After dropping passengers return to Hoggard Mill Road and turn left. Proceed 3.4 miles to Ga. 253. Turn left and proceed 12.2 miles to Flint River Heights Road. Note: Flint River Heights Road meets Ga. 253 twice. Do not take the first left turn to Flint River Road; take the second! Turn left and proceed 0.2 mile to gravel drive on right. Park vehicles in field along drive. **Please note the parking area is a 0.4 mile walk from the boat ramp at the river.

GPS Coordinates for Norman’s Ferry (Day 3 Launch Site): 31.159872, -84.478320

For individuals who may be having someone pick them up at the final take out here are directions from I-75:

Directions to Final Take Out Parking Area From I-75 Southbound (from Atlanta): From Exit 99 in Cordele, go west/south on Ga. 300 35 miles to Albany. At intersection of Ga. 300 and U.S. 82 continue straight on Cordele Road 0.5 mile to U.S. 82 Bus. (Oglethorpe Blvd)). Turn right and proceed 1.4 miles to interchange with Liberty Expy. (U.S. 19). Turn right on to entrance ramp to U.S. 19 south and proceed south toward Camilla. At 18.5 miles turn right on River Road and proceed 17.9 miles to Ga. 311. At Ga. 311, turn right and proceed 23.1 miles to Calhoun St. in Bainbridge. Turn right on Calhoun St. and proceed 1 mile to Ga. 253 (Newton Road) on right. Turn right and proceed 3.6 miles to Flint River Heights Road on right. Turn right and proceed 0.3 mile to dirt driveway on right (150 Flint River Heights Road). Parking will be in field. Charters buses and tractor trailer for boats will load here.

Directions to Final Take Out Parking Area From I-75 Northbound: From Exit 16 in Valdosta (U.S. 84/221), go west on U.S. 84 38 miles to Thomasville. At 38 miles exit right on to U.S. 84 Bypass and proceed 2.9 miles to intersection of U.S. 84 and U.S. 19. Turn right on U.S. 84 west toward Bainbridge and proceed 5.2 miles to intersection with Cairo Road. Bear right and proceed west on U.S. 84 toward Cairo/Bainbridge. At 32 miles reach intersection of U.S. 84 Bus./U.S. 84 in Bainbridge. Continue 1.7 miles on U.S. 84 Bus. (Shotwell St) to Broad St. (Ga. 97). Turn right on Broad St. and proceed 0.4 mile to Calhoun St. Turn left on Calhoun St. and proceed 0.7 mile to Ga. 253 (Newton Road) on right. Turn right and proceed proceed 3.6 miles to Flint River Heights Road on right. Turn right and proceed 0.3 mile to dirt driveway on right (150 Flint River Heights Road). Parking will be in field. Charters buses and tractor trailer for boats will load here.

SPECIAL EVENTS, TOURS AND MORE 

Georgia River Network and Flint Riverkeeper will offer educational tours/programs of local points of interest during the weekend.

Boat Raffle

Once again, Flint Riverkeeper will be raffling off a kayak during the weekend. Plan on purchasing your tickets at Fall Float!

Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Workshop Oct. 6

Georgia Adopt-A-Stream instructors will offer chemical water quality monitoring workshops during Fall Float on the Flint. During the training, students learn chemical water monitoring protocols and collect and test samples for water quality. Following the training, participants can complete the Adopt-A-Stream certification process in camp. By participating in this training, you’ll have the opportunity to assist in Georgia Adopt-A-Stream’s assessment of the health of the Flint River and its tributaries. When you return home, you’ll have a greater understanding of rivers and streams, and you’ll be certified to conduct routine water quality monitoring on a local waterway. Interested participants will be encouraged to assist the monitoring team by conducting additional sampling during the course of the trip. 

You can sign up to participate in the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream workshop during registration on Friday, Oct. 4.

DAILY ITINERARY 

Friday, Oct. 4

Boat Drop:                   1:00-6:00         Private Landing near Baconton

Registration:                2:00-8:00         Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat

Set- Up Camp:             3:00-8:00         Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat

Dinner:                        6:30-7:30         Kick-Off Feast provided by The Bread House 

Evening Program:        7:30-9:00         Welcome, Safety Briefing, Water Trail Update

Lights Out                    10:00

 

Saturday, Oct. 5

Registration:                7:00-8:00         Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat

Boat Drop:                   7:00-8:00         Private Landing near Baconton

Breakfast:                    6:30-7:30         Provided by Main Street Café  

Launch:                        7:00-8:30        Buses Leave for Launch Site

Take-Out:                     2:00-5:00        No shuttles! Take Out is at Campsite!

Dinner:                         6:30-7:30        Dinner provided by The Bread House

Evening Program:        7:30-8:30         Flint Riverkeeper, Campfire

Lights Out                    10:00

 

Sunday, Oct. 6

Breakfast:                    6:30-7:30         Provided by Main Street Cafe

Launch:                        7:00-8:30         Launch at Campsite!!!

Special Tour                 8:30-11:30       Jones Ecological Research Center

Take-Out:                    2:00-5:00         Take out at Norman’s Ferry Boat Ramp & Shuttle to Camp

Dinner:                        6:30-7:30         Provided by The Bread House 

Evening Program:        7:30-8:30         Live Auction, Raffle, TBD, Campfire

Lights Out                    10:00

 

Monday, Oct. 7                     

Breakfast:                    6:30-7:30         Provided by Main Street Café

Shuttle to Take Out     7:30-8:30         Participants drive cars to Take Out Parking

Launch:                        8:00-9:30         Buses shuttle participants from take out parking to launch site

Take-Out:                    2:00-5:00          Flint River Heights Road

 

PADDLE GEORGIA POLICIES, SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS, WHAT TO BRING, WHAT NOT TO BRING AND MORE!  

Paddle Georgia Policies

  1. No alcoholic beverages will be allowed on river.
  2. All participants must attend the pre-launch safety briefing. Participants must adhere to the safety guidelines presented.
  3. Participants must wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved personal floatation device at all times on the river.
  4. Participants under age 18 are the responsibility of, and must be accompanied by, a parent or guardian.
  5. Sorry, no pets allowed.
  6. All participants must sign a Medical and Emergency Contact Information sheet and a Waiver of Claims and Release of Liability form. Parents must sign for children under the age of 18. (These forms will be sent in the information packet.
  7. Person-powered watercraft only.
  8. All participants must respect private property along the river.
  9. All participants must possess basic paddling skills and be capable of self-rescue in the water.
  10. No more than 2 children under the age of 12 per adult guardian.
  11. All children must have a designated seat in the vessel in which they are traveling. (no children on decks of kayaks or as “passengers” in cockpits of solo kayaks)
  12. Georgia River Network is not responsible for any personal property that may be lost, damaged, or stolen during the trip.

Violations of these policies can result in the participant being removed from the event without refund.

Refund Policy

Registration and meal fees may be reimbursed prior to Sept. 27. Refunds will deduct a 10% processing fee.

What Should I Bring? (here’s a checklist of essential items!) First Aid Kit; Sunscreen; Necessary Medication; Water Bottles (at least 3 quart bottles for each person); At least two paddles for each boat; Flexible mindset; Tent or other shelter, sleeping bag or sleep sack and sleeping pad (if you are camping); proper footwear for river and land; rain gear; whistle for signaling emergency.

Here’s a checklist of suggested optional items: Labels with your name for your boat, luggage, and other personal belongings; Ground Cloth; Reusable Plate/Utensils (wash stations provided); Clothing for weekend; Waterproof Stuff Sacks for Camp Gear; Waterproof stuff sack or case for lunch and other on river items (like dry clothing); Clothes/Swimsuit; Money to tip the caterers; Insect Repellent; Towel/Wash Cloth; Soap, Toothpaste, Toiletries; Flashlight/Head Lamp; Book; Camera; Watertight cases for Boat; Fishing Gear/License; Duct Tape; Sponge; Bailer; Snacks for river and camp; Hat or Cap (don’t forget to get your Paddle Georgia hats!); Bug netting; Extra Length of Rope; Ear Plugs (Some of our paddlers snore!); Sleep Shades (Lights out at 10 p.m.); Laptop & Electronic Communication Devices (optional); Water Guns/Cannon (optional and encouraged!);  Lightweight long sleeved pants or shirts for bug protection in the evening; Layered non-cotton clothing.

16 Things You Should Bring on the Water Each Day 

  1. At least two paddles for each boat.
  2. PFD—every Paddle Georgia participant must wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device at all times while on the river (no ifs, ands, buts or “gee, it’s really hot!” – this policy is STRICTLY enforced)
  3. Every canoe should have two lines, a bow line and a stern line 8-10 feet each in length secured in such a way that they are readily accessible, but cannot come loose accidentally. Loose rope increases the risk of entanglement in the event of capsize. Kayaks should have grab loops at both bow and stern.
  4. An extra throw rope in case of emergencies should be stored safely in each boat.
  5. Attach a whistle to your life vest or body to signal for help in case of emergency.
  6. A Knife
  7. Waterproof matches or other fire source in waterproof covering.
  8. First Aid Kit—while boats will be on the river with basic first aid supplies, each vessel should bring a first aid kit stored inside a waterproof bag or container.
  9. A repair kit—each vessel should be able to make their own repairs (duct tape, sealant, waterproof tape and other materials are recommended)
  10. Rain Gear—Be prepared to get wet and potentially cold. Every participant should have access to a lightweight rain jacket and rain pants in a waterproof bag or container.
  11. Change of Clothes—Be prepared to take an unexpected swim. Every participant should have access to a dry change of clothes kept in a waterproof bag or container.
  12. Appropriate footwear that will protect your feet from unseen underwater hazards and permit you to walk comfortably on land when launching and taking out and in the event that you must exit the Paddle Georgia course.
  13. Sunscreen—Sunburn might be the trip’s biggest hazard.
  14. Water Bottle or Three —At least three quarts per person per day is recommended. Bring sufficient water for the day’s paddle for everyone in your boat. Also consider bringing electrolyte packs or powdered sports drink mix to add to your water to avoid dehydration. Drinking water is not available along the Paddle Georgia route and no drink is provided w/ sack lunches. Many paddlers will fill one bottle with water and another with sports drinks (provided each morning for you to fill your own bottles).
  15. Food—There is no access to food along the Paddle Georgia route. Sack lunches are provided to participants. No drink is included with the lunch.
  16. Dry Bag or Ziploc—Bring a waterproof bag to protect items you don’t want to get wet, including your lunch.

Paddle Georgia Safety Procedures

Paddle Georgia participants should be aware that this canoe trip is not a commercially-guided trip. While Georgia River Network and Paddle Georgia staff will be available on the river during each day’s paddle and participants with medical and/or First Aid training will be identified, we cannot personally ensure the safety of all participants. Unlike a commercial trip in which paid guides direct you through each bend of the river, Paddle Georgia is designed to be your adventure, and as such, you are responsible for your own safety. All participants are assuming risks (some of which are outlined below) while participating in Paddle Georgia.

Skill Level Required: Fall Float on the Flint is suitable for novice paddlers. Paddlers should have a basic understanding of paddle strokes, should be able to control their vessels in moving water and be capable of self-rescue in moving or deep water. If you are new to paddling, we highly recommend that you take a canoe/kayak paddling course prior to the trip. There are no major shoals or rapids on this section of the Flint. There are a few locations where there are small shoals and the water moves more rapidly. It is a Class I flatwater paddle.

For a reminder of basic paddling safety practices, watch this American Canoe Association Video.

Weather: Average High Temperature: 80 F; Average Low Temperature: 55 F. Average April Rainfall: 2.6 inches

Hazards:                              

Strainers—Strainers are branches, trees, vegetation or other partially or totally submerged obstacles in the river’s current often found along the river’s edge. These hazards allow only water to pass through freely. The current will pull anything else down, plastering it into place, similar to the action of a kitchen colander. It is best to approach submerged trees or logs along the river bank from the downstream side to avoid having the current pin your boat against the obstacle or flipped by the force of the water. You should also avoid grabbing on to low hanging branches of partially submerged vegetation as this action can often cause your boat to capsize. To avoid a multi-boat pile up, leave enough room between boats to allow each boat to safely navigate around these obstacles.

Weather—Strong thunderstorms and high winds are not uncommon. In the event of inclement weather that includes the risk of lightning, paddle to shore, secure your boat and find cover under a dense stand of small trees. Avoid open areas, especially open areas with solitary trees, and avoid gathering in large groups. By dispersing yourselves over a large area, you reduce the risk of lightning striking numerous individuals at one time. Squatting, with your feet on a personal flotation device or seat cushion, is a good idea when in the midst of a thunderstorm (while on solid ground—not in your boat!).

Sun and Heat—Hats and appropriate sun screen are recommended. If you get too hot, the river comes with built in air conditioning – get in and cool off. You should carry at least three quarts of water each day to avoid dehydration. Sports drinks with electrolytes are also recommended. The first two days are usually the most difficult as we acclimate from spending lots of time in air-conditioned buildings to spending all day in 80-90-degree heat. Prepare by drinking lots of fluids in the days leading up to the trip.

Water Temperature—The combination of cold water and a cold afternoon thunderstorm raises the risk of dangerous changes in body temperature. Be prepared with rain gear and layered clothing that stays warm even when wet (avoid cotton).

Water Quality – Due to a variety of conditions, water quality can vary throughout the entire Flint River and organisms that cause illness may be present. Swimming and submersion in the water increase the risk of contracting water-borne illnesses. Ingesting river water should be avoided and cuts and sores should be kept out of the water and treated if exposed.

Trash—Unfortunately, the Flint River collects refuse from surrounding communities. Proper footwear and exercising caution can prevent unnecessary injuries. Participants should wear sandals or shoes that provide adequate protection from broken bottles, rusted appliance parts and tin cans and anything else you might find at your local landfill.

Venomous Snakes—The Flint River and the land surrounding it are potential habitats for three venomous snakes—rattlesnakes, water moccasins and coral snakes. If you encounter any snakes, simply leave them alone. Should you have the misfortune of being bitten, remain calm and get medical assistance as quickly as possible. Bites from these venomous snakes are rarely fatal, given proper medical attention. At any given moment on this trip you will not be more than a few hours from a hospital.

Terra Firma—On its journey through the Coastal Plain, the river winds past varied terrain. Please step carefully when paying visits to land. The Flint River is flanked by much limestone. This rock is heavily pocked and can often have very sharp edges. Wear protective footwear at all times! 

Your Fellow Paddlers—This is a journey involving many individuals with varying degrees of skill level. Space yourselves so that you do not interfere with one another when maneuvering around obstacles. Pileups on the river can be just as dangerous as those that occur on interstate highways.

Paddle Georgia “Buddy System”

We will rely on the “Buddy System” to ensure that all participants arrive safely at the day’s take-out point. Before each day’s paddle, identify your “buddy boat or boats.” This will be the boat or group of boats with whom you will paddle for the day. The group is responsible for ensuring that if someone needs help on the river that someone is nearby to provide help and that no one is left behind. Do not lose sight of your buddy boat or members of your buddy boat group. Participants who have not identified a buddy boat for the day’s paddle will not be permitted to launch from the day’s put-in point. A sweep boat will bring up the rear of the day’s paddle to further ensure that no one is left behind

For tips on kayak safety, watch this American Canoe Association instructional video:

Other Considerations

What do I do if I capsize? On slow moving water, stay with your boat and swim it to shore or shallow water where you can dump the water and right your vessel. It floats even when full with water and can support you if you become tired. Make sure your belongings are secured to your boat to keep from losing them in the event of a capsize. Your fellow buddy boaters can assist in recovering any belongings and help you right your boat.In fast-moving water or rapids, get away and upstream from your boat until you reach slower moving water. Float on your back, feet downstream.  Don’t try to stand in fast-moving water.  Rocks or other objects can trap your feet and the force of the water can hold you under. Moving canoes filled with water can pin or crush paddlers against rocks or trees.

In the event of inclement weather…As noted above, thunderstorms are not uncommon, however, usually these afternoon-variety showers do not last long. If you are on the river during a storm event, take appropriate cover as described above, wait out the storm and continue your journey when it appears safe. Protective facilities along the river for large groups are not available.

We will make every effort to ensure that each day’s paddle is completed in full. However, if all-day dangerous weather is predicted, Fall Float on the Flint will be cancelled for the day. Boats will be shuttled to the day’s next put-in point. Rain alone does not constitute dangerous weather. All participants are expected to paddle rain or shine, or they may make their own arrangements for moving themselves and their boats to the next put-in and campsite. Exceptions may be made for families paddling with small children.

Swimming…Swimming is permitted with PFDs, but of course, swim at your own risk. Water quality on this journey varies due to point and non-point source pollution. Water quality is generally at its least healthy immediately following rain events—this is especially true downstream of urban areas.

Private Property…As you will see, the Flint takes you through many a neighbor’s backyard. Private property must be respected. It is illegal to trespass onto someone’s property, and it is an offense that is prosecutable by law. You may not enter someone’s property unless you have first received permission. At least one rest stop, with portable toilet facilities and/or restrooms will be available at the approximate midway point of each day’s paddle, therefore it is imperative that you make use of bathroom facilities when they are available. If nature calls, please use a camp trowel and cover all human waste appropriately or carry a sealable plastic bag to remove your waste with you.

Communication in the Event of Emergency…There will be cellular phones on the river at all times (one with the lead boat, one with the sweep boat and others in between). In the event of an emergency, attempt to signal or locate a boat with a cellular phone. If cellular service is available, the participants in these boats can communicate with land-based emergency personnel and on-the-water motorized boats where available.

Universal River Signals…Participants are expected to use universal river signals to communicate with other boats. They are as follows:

  • Stop: Potential Danger Ahead—Form a horizontal bar with your paddle and outstretched arms above your head. Those seeing this signal should pass it back to others in the party. Participants should wait for the “all clear signal” before proceeding.
  • All Clear—Form a vertical bar with your paddle, raising your arm and paddle above your head. The paddle blade should be turned flat for maximum visibility. This means the trip can proceed. To signal direction or preferred course through an obstacle, lower the all clear to a 45 degree angle toward the side of the river with the preferred route.
  • Help/Emergency—Wave paddle over your head and give three long blasts on your whistle. Whistles are best carried attached to your life vest. This means other paddlers should assist the signaler as quickly as possible.
  • I’m OK—Holding your elbow out to the side, repeatedly pat the top of your head with your hand. This signals that you are not hurt and do not need assistance.

 

 

 

Paddle Georgia
Spring on the Satilla is

a project of
Georgia River Network

in partnership with
Flint Riverkeeper

Georgia River Network

126 South Milledge Avenue, Suite E3, Athens, Georgia 30605 | (706) 549-4508 (phone) | (706) 549-7791 (fax) | info@garivers.org