PADDLE GEORGIA 2023 FALL FLOAT ON THE FLINT
PADDLE GEORGIA 2023 FALL FLOAT ON THE FLINT
PADDLE GEORGIA 2023 FALL FLOAT ON THE FLINT
FALL FLOAT ON THE FLINT Oct. 6-8, 2023
Paddle Georgia Fall Float on the Flint is a two-day, 36-mile canoe/kayak adventure with camping at Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat, catered meals, education programs and more!
The trip is highlighted by the lower Flint River’s shoal-filled stretches, its unique limestone bluffs and its beautiful blue hole springs. Wildlife is abundant as are the chances for discovering ancient fossils.
It is among the favorite reaches of river in the state among Georgia River Network staff members…that’s why we keep coming back year after year to this special place.
Dates: Oct. 6-8, 2023
Registration Fees: Registration fees are still to be determined but should range from $225-$375. Fees include campsite, six catered meals, educational programs, maps/guides, shuttle services and event t-shirt or other swag of your choice! Registration will open in Spring 2023!
The Flint river in South Georgia is fed by massive underground aquifers and runs clear and cool. While other South Georgia rivers offer up a plethora of sandbars and lazy bends, the Flint flows between limestone bluffs, over shoals and between picturesque islands. Along the way, crystal clear spring pools bubble up to feed the river. Off river, we will have the opportunity to learn more about the river and the region through tours of area attractions and nightly activities at campsites that include entertainment, games and programs highlighting the river’s cultural and natural heritage.
Paddle Georgia Fall Float on the Flint 2023 Itinerary on the Flint River
Oct. 6: Camp, Initial Gathering and Kick Off Feast
Oct. 7: Ichawaynochoway Waltz – Flint River Retreat to Norman’s Ferry Landing– 18 miles
Oct. 8: Blue Hole Bop – Norman’s Ferry Landing to Flint River Heights Rd. – 18 miles
Oct. 6: Camp, Initial Gathering and Kick Off Feast Before we ever get on the river, we gather for an evening of food, fun and fellowship on the banks of the river at our campsite, Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat. Dinner for the evening will be provided by Main Street Cafe in Camilla with beer products from Paddle Georgia sponsors Molson-Coors and Terrapin Beer Co.
Oct. 7: Ichawaynochoway Waltz
This beautiful 18-mile paddle is a testament to the unique nature of the Flint. In this stretch you will see just one tributary enter the river—the stunningly beautiful and memorably named Ichawaynochoway Creek. Here the river derives its flow from hidden springs that feed its clear water. Otters frolic in the shoals; bald eagles patrol the skies. Add to that the wreckage of a steamboat and you have the makings of a watery waltz you won’t soon forget. Dinner for the evening will be provided by Main Street Cafe in Camilla with beer products from Paddle Georgia sponsors Molson-Coors and Terrapin Beer Co.
Oct. 8: Blue Hole Bop
This 18-mile run is home to perhaps the most memorable blue holes on our course—including a billowing pool of crystal clear water nestled in the Baker County bank of the river known as Bovine Spring. Here the river races due south to the Decatur County line, flowing deeper and wider as it pushes further into the Coastal Plain. The journey ends on the backwaters of Lake Seminole formed by Jim Woodruff Dam at the Florida state line some 30 miles downstream.
Information for Registered Participants
In the information below, please find all you will need to know to arrive at and fully participate in Fall Float on the Flint!
To participate, you must complete signing an online American Canoe Association liability waiver. When you register, you will be prompted to do this in your registration confirmation e-mail. BUT, you can also click the link below to complete this process. Once you have signed and submitted the waiver, you will receive an e-mail. You must respond to that e-mail to complete the waiver filing process. Didn’t get an e-mail? Check your spam e-mail folder!
If you have difficulty completing your online waiver, contact Joe Cook at email@example.com
All participants are encouraged to participate in Georgia River Network’s Paddle-A-Thon! In 2023, the Paddle-A-Thon celebrates Georgia River Network’s 25th anniversary and challenges supporters to explore Georgia’s rivers and raise funds to protect those rivers. Thousands of dollars in prizes–from gift certificates to merchandise–from our many Paddle Georgia sponsors will be awarded to participants in numerous categories: most miles paddled, most funds raised, most trash removed and more! Look for more details and links to our Paddle-A-Thon website soon!
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. 6-7
Oct. 6: 2-8 p.m.
Oct. 7: 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 Paddle Georgia 2023 t-shirt or other swag of your choice, Paddle Georgia 2023 decal and your on-river maps and descriptions. You’ll also be directed to our initial boat launch located at Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat where you can drop your boat.
If you are feeling sick, have tested positive for COVID or been exposed to someone with COVID, please stay home. Let us know and we will provide a full refund of your registration fees.
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.
Meals are included in the cost of registration. This includes two breakfast, two lunches and two dinners paired with Molsom-Coors and Terrapin Beer Co. products. We encourage you to arrive Friday Oct. 6, and enjoy our kick off evening meal beginning at 6:30 p.m.. Breakfasts and sack lunches will be provided Oct. 7 and Oct. 8.
If you wish to bring your own dishes and eating utensils, a dishwashing station will be provided. We encourage you to do this to help reduce waste associated with serving the meals.
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/hummus. 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 Main Street Cafe in Camilla, dinners will be served daily beginning at 6:30 p.m..
Friday, Oct. 7: Fried chicken, butter beans, hashbrown casserole, layered salad, rolls, peach cobbler, teas
Saturday, Oct. 8: Fried fish and chicken strips, Cole slaw, cheese grits, hushpuppies, lemon pie, teas
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 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, programs and announcements will be conducted indoors.
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. 7: Launch is located at the campsite! No shuttles!
Shuttle Distance from Oct. 7 Take Out Site at Norman’s Ferry to Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat: 15 miles
Shuttle Distance to Launch Site on Oct. 8: 30 miles to Flint River Heights Road in personal vehicles; then 17 miles via bus 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. 10: (please note, all vehicles will be driven from Rocky Bend to Flint River Heights Road on the morning of Oct. 10 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. 10 at Norman’s Ferry. 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 Norman’s Ferry 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 2 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 will offer educational tours/programs of local points of interest during the weekend.
Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Workshop
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. 6.
Registration: 2:00-8:00 Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat (boat drop here also!)
Set- Up Camp: 3:00-8:00 Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat
Dinner: 6:30-7:30 Kick-Off Feast provided by Main Street Cafe
Evening Program: 7:30-9:00 Welcome, Safety Briefing, Educational Program
Lights Out 10:00
Saturday, Oct. 7
Registration: 7:00-8:00 Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat
Breakfast: 6:30-7:30 Provided by Main Street Café
Launch 7:45-8:30 Rocky Bend Flint River Retreat
Special Tour 9:00-11:30 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 Dinner provided by Main Street Cafe
Evening Program: 7:30-8:30 Announcements and Educational Program
Lights Out 10:00
Sunday, Oct. 8
Breakfast: 6:30-7:30 Provided by Main Street Cafe
Shuttle to Take Out 7:30-8:30 Participants drive cars to Take Out Parking
Launch: 8:30-9:30 Bus 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
- No alcoholic beverages will be allowed on river.
- All participants must attend the pre-launch safety briefing. Participants must adhere to the safety guidelines presented.
- Participants must wear a properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard approved personal floatation device at all times on the river.
- Participants under age 18 are the responsibility of, and must be accompanied by, a parent or guardian.
- Sorry, no pets allowed.
- 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.
- Person-powered watercraft only.
- All participants must respect private property along the river.
- All participants must possess basic paddling skills and be capable of self-rescue in the water.
- No more than 2 children under the age of 12 per adult guardian.
- 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)
- 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.
Registration and meal fees may be reimbursed prior to Sept. 30. Refunds will deduct a 10% processing fee. Full refunds for COVID-19-related cancellations will be provided through the date of the event.
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
- At least two paddles for each boat.
- 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)
- 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.
- An extra throw rope in case of emergencies should be stored safely in each boat.
- Attach a whistle to your life vest or body to signal for help in case of emergency.
- A Knife
- Waterproof matches or other fire source in waterproof covering.
- 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.
- A repair kit—each vessel should be able to make their own repairs (duct tape, sealant, waterproof tape and other materials are recommended)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sunscreen—Sunburn might be the trip’s biggest hazard.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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: 79 F; Average Low Temperature: 58 F. Average October Rainfall: 2.3 inches
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:
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 2023
Fall Float on the Flint is
a project of
Georgia River Network
126 South Milledge Avenue, Suite E3, Athens, Georgia 30605 | (706) 549-4508 (phone) | firstname.lastname@example.org