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American Canoe Association (ACA) Classes for 2015 (IDNR Canoe and Kayak Schools)
Sign up soon as these classes will fill up fast. Please note the date changes.
2015 Paddling Schools Schedule.doc 2015 Paddling Schools Schedule.pdf
For a list of ACA paddling classes Iowa Whitewater Coalition is hosting, go to IWC Paddling Classes.
Seatasea Watersports (Cedar Rapids)
CrawDaddy Outdoors (Waverly)
It's all about safety and following the laws. Your enjoyment on the water will increase when you follow these safety steps and understand the regulations.
Iowa DNR wants you to be safe on the water. A good first toward knowing what you need to know on the water in paddlecraft is the American Canoe Associations " SmartStart" brochure. To order paper copies for your group, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Any time you go out on the water, wear your PFD! See safety tips at the bottom of this page.
On-Line Paddle Safety Boating Course
Check out this free resource and improve your safety knowledge when it comes to paddling. This course is NASBLA (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators) approved. All new paddlers should take this free course and it is a great review for the experienced. Register for a free account and get started today! Free Paddling Course
Be safe, and be prepared. Accidents, sometimes deadly, occur at low-head dams every year. Check this recently updated map of dams on major rivers in Iowa for the segment of river you plan to use.
See our DNR River Programs Drowning Machine brochure that explains why dams are deadly and tips that will help you avoid these hazards on Iowa's rivers.
Safety and Responsible Paddling Tips
The American Canoe Association and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources urges all paddlers to boat responsibly to prevent accidents, minimize impacts, and avoid conflicts with residents and other river users. We offer these guidelines for responsible paddling.
Leave No Trace Ethics
Laws and Regulations
Meandered, Non-Meandered, and Navigable Rivers
These terms can be confusing, but are important in understanding what the rules are for where you can be and where you can't:
A Meandered river is one in which adjacent land owners own the land above the high water mark. Land below the high water mark is public, giving citizens the right to explore sandbars at leisure without worry of trespassing. Land above that level is usually private, and should not be utilized by people navigating streams except when portaging around an obstruction.
View a map of meandered rivers and legal boundaries of meandered rivers to learn more.
A non-meandered river, on the other hand, is one in which private landowners own all the land adjacent to and underneath the water-including the bottom, sandbars, and banks. Most river miles in Iowa are designated as non-meandered. A 1996 attorney general opinion, however, permits activities incidental to navigation on non-meandered rivers, such as, fishing, swimming, and wading when the river is considered navigable. This law also allows for trash clean-ups and the need to portage obstructions in the rivers.
A navigable river is defined by state law as one "which can support a vessel capable of carrying one or more persons during a total of a six-month period in one out of every ten years." Most rivers and larger creeks in Iowa, including non-meandered rivers, are considered navigable. State law expressly allows boating traffic down to one-person vessel such as kayaks on navigable streams.
SUP is the fastest growing sport in the paddling community not only across the country, but especially right here in land-locked areas like Iowa. It's fun, healthy as a total body work-out and offers a unique perspective whe it comes to being on the water. You can surf river waves, run whitewater, try SUP yoga, fish or just take your board out on the lake for a relaxing paddle. want to connect kids to nature and the outdoors? They will have a blast on a SUP. There are rules you will need to obey when on a SUP:
Stand up paddleboards are subject to the following requirements:
The required navigation lights must be displayed between sunset and sunrise and whenever the weather reduces visibility.
Manually Powered Vessels When Underway (Manually powered vessels are boats that are paddled, poled, or rowed)
If less than 23.0 feet long, these vessels should exhibit a white light visible for 360° around the horizon and visible from a distance of at least one mile away if operating on natural lakes, Corps of Engineers impoundments, border rivers, or impoundments on inland rivers. If this light is partially obscured due to the nature of the vessel, an additional white light must be on hand to be shown in sufficient time to prevent a collision. This secondary light could be a head-lamp or even a flashlight.
General Boater Education
Visit the boater education page to read through the handbook and learn about all laws and regulations.