Paddling with Maps

paddling with bridges

When you are paddling, it is important to keep track of where you are on the water. Knowing where you are in relation to dams, other potential hazards, and the site where you are planning to take your boat out of the water is key to your safety.

One way to keep track of your position is to make a map of your paddling route and take it with you when you paddle. You can use the interactive maps on this site to do this. Click on the icon in the upper right hand corner to enlarge the map. Then zoom into the map making it as large as possible but being sure to include both your put in and take out site. Then print the map.

Once printed you can put it into a plastic sleeve or even into a large transparent plastic bag. Use the bridges to keep track of your position on the water. Some bridges will have signs on them with the street name, but the majority will not. On many water trails there will be no bridge signage at all.  However, you can count the bridges as you go under them and keep track of how that relates to your position on the map.

Know which side of the river your take out is on and keep an eye out for it after you have gone under your last bridge.  And if you are a beginning paddler or unfamiliar with the trail, you can paddle with an experienced guide and/or someone who knows the route. Also consider getting to know local routes by joining a paddling club and paddling with other club members!

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