Canoeing, Kayaking, Dinghy Sailing, and Windsurfing
Canoes and kayaks are the perfect vehicle for exploring wilderness areas by water, quietly observing wildlife in their natural habitats. They cause no erosion, noise or pollution, and provided that you canoe when the water levels are right, they cause no damage to fish stocks in the water. Similarly, sailing dinghys and windsurfers alllow you to quietly explore beautiful waterbodies without disturbing the environment.
To ensure that you paddle or sail responsibly, and do not disturb wildlife or damage freshwater and marine environments, the following steps should be followed.
Canoeing and enjoying the landscape
- Find out about the area before you go and take note of its sensitive areas, protected areas, wildlife species and their breeding seasons. Keep out of any areas you are requested to do so either on information you find before hand, or while on the water. These may be for your safety or for the protection of a fragile habitat or a particular species.
- Keep to designated paths and launching points where available.
- Take care not to cause disturbance or damage to habitats that you cross to access water. When accessing coastal waters be particularly careful not to damage or disturb shingle beaches (they may be nesting grounds) and sand dunes (which are fragile habitats).
- When launching your vessel, take care not to trample on or damage bank side vegetation. Also take care not to cause erosion to the physical features at the edge of the water. Float your canoe for launching, lift out when landing, and carry it to and from the water. Do not drag it, or ‘seal’ launch.
- When canoeing on rivers, avoid paddling over gravel banks in low water conditions as they may contain fish spawn.
Sailing the oceans
- Canoe/kayak and sail at a suitable distance from wildlife (eg otters, seals, dolphins, wildfowl and sea birds) as well as their nesting grounds, shelter or feeding areas, so as not to cause disturbance or stress. If you see signs that you are distressing wildlife, move away quietly. Particular care should be taken during the breeding seasons to not disturb wildlife.
- Wash all your canoeing and sailing equipment after use so as to minimise the spread of alien species or disease.
- If you see any signs of pollution, damage, or disturbance to wildlife, please inform the relevant authorities.
- Leave the environment as you find it. Take your litter home with you, and, when safe to do so, take other peoples litter home too.
- Keep noise to a minimum so as not to disturb wildlife or other users of the waterway.
Much of this information was gleaned from information provided by Canoe England. For more information, please visit their website by clicking HERE
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The Association’s main goal is not only to make a difference by raising funds to put something back into the environment, but also to inform and educate all those who use the outdoors as their playground.
Holger Bismann, EOCA President 2008-11