June 8, July 13, or August 11, 2024

  • 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • Lower Chestatee River Takeout
    (across the street from the Dollar General at this address 5019 S. Chestatee Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533)
  • $100 for class only (optional boat/paddle/PFD rental available from GRN for $33)
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for all classes will open on March 1 and will close 2 days before the class.


This is a full day class to introduce you to the skills, hazards and fun to be had on class I rivers!

By the end of the day you will feel more in control of your boat, know how to paddle all day without wearing out your arm muscles, have some tips and tricks for reading the river and avoiding hazards, and be more confident about exploring class I rivers with your friends and family.

  • Basic paddle strokes and boat control
  • Introduction to river reading and hazard identification
  • Moving water skills like edging, ferrying, and peel outs
  • Legally, what’s required in a non-motorized craft
  • An introduction to gear, trip planning and prevention
  • Introduction to hazards plus some tips and tricks for boat control in dicey situations


Our amazing team of nationally certified ACA certified instructors teach Georgia River Network as volunteers to share their love of paddling with other Georgia paddlers. Because of our volunteer instructors, in 2023 Georgia River Network was recognized by the American Canoe Association as the paddling organization that trained the most beginners in the nation.

The GRN safety and training program is led by Andrea White, an ACA certified Level 2 River Kayaking instructor with an instructor endorsement as a Paddlesport Safety Facilitator. She has been named one of Paddling Magazine’s 2022 Top 20 River Heroes for her commitment to training beginners and received two awards from the American Canoe Association for her service as 2020 Outstanding ACA State Director and as a member of a team of volunteers who won 2022 ACA Volunteer of the Year. She has a passion for building a community of safety conscious paddlers who can help each other when things on the water go sideways. She currently serves in a volunteer capacity as the ACA Southeast Regional Chair and Chair of the ACA Regional Activity Council.

We are joined by a community of amazing instructors. Please thank them for sharing their excellence with you and your family on their day off!


Your class fees support Georgia River Network’s advocacy work for the Right to Float Georgia Rivers, to Save the Okenfenokee, and other intitiatives in support of the Georgia Water Coalition, the Georgia Outdoor Recreation Coalition, Georgia Water Trails and the Georgia River Guide free mobile app, and the Okefenokee Protection Alliance.

Georgia River Network is a 501(c)3 organization founded in 1998 to serve as the voice of Georgia’s rivers. GRN works to empower everyone to connect with, and advocate for economically vital and clean flowing rivers in Georgia. 


We will meet at the Lower Chestatee River Takeout, which is across the street from the Dollar General at this address 5019 S. Chestatee Street, Dahlonega, GA 30533. We will conduct on land instruction there for several hours and then run our own shuttle to drop off boats at the put in and cars at the takeout.



  • We will meet on land for approximately 2 hours before we run shuttle and then launch on the water. We will take a quick break for lunch together. Please bring your lunch and a camp chair.
  • Bring lots of water to stay hydrated all afternoon and feel free to bring snacks that fit in your life jacket.
  • Every participant will be required to wear a US Coast Guard approved Type III life jacket anytime we are within 10 feet of the water or are out on the water. There will be no exceptions.
  • DO NOT WEAR COTTON. Poly pro materials that are quick wicking are far more preferable. You will also need shoes that cover your toes, attach at the ankles and give you good traction on rocky river beds. In a pinch, old tennis shoes work well.
  • Every participant will need a kayak, paddle and life jacket. Rentals from GRN are available during registration for an additional $33.
  • You should also bring sunscreen, bug spray and a strap for your glasses.
  • Other gear that will come in handy if you have it handy: whistle for your life jacket, floatation bags/beach balls (for sit inside kayaks), bilge pump, river rescue throw rope, rain jacket (just in case), dry box or dry bag for your valuables

126 South Milledge Avenue, Suite E3, Athens, Georgia 30605 | (706) 549-4508 (phone) |