Paddling Tips & Etiquette
Know & Follow the Rules
- Stay on navigable water trails and respect private property.
- Do not use water trails that are closed or do not permit your watercraft type.
- Indiana law requires all watercraft to carry one wearable PFD (personal flotation device) for each person on board.
Sharing Water Trails
Interactions at Access Sites
- Do not park in front of or otherwise block access sites.
- Be patient. Only one watercraft should use an access site at a time.
- Have your gear ready to go when it is your turn in order to minimize the amount of time needed at access sites.
- Be friendly and courteous to other river users.
Interacting with Boaters
- Leave proper spacing between watercrafts, and more than usual in rougher waters.
- Slower moving watercrafts should stay right, while faster moving watercrafts should pass on the left.
- To avoid collisions in open water, try to maintain a clear and consistent direction.
- In the event of two watercrafts approaching head on, each watercraft should veer right.
Interacting with Anglers
- Try to stay in the main flow when passing anglers and give them a wide berth.
- Minimize splashing and noise levels.
- Do not approach or startle anglers.
- Quietly acknowledge their presence with a wave, nod, or smile.
Be a Good Steward
- Carry in, carry out. Mesh bags tied to your watercraft are great for storing any trash you generate or find along the water trail.
- Be mindful and considerate of your noise level.
- Keep pets under control and on a leash.
- Do not disturb wildlife and their habitats.
- Respect all trail infrastructure as well as natural and cultural resources.
- Leave what you find for others to enjoy.
- Save any adult beverages for AFTER the paddle and once you’ve exited the water trail.
Water Trail Safety Tips
Visit our Water Trail Safety page for detailed safety information.