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Build in Trail Safety

Keep safety the most important factor in trail development!

Target the appropriate user group. For an open-water or coastal paddling trail, your trail to experienced sea kayakers with open water experience and rescue skills; don't invite paddlers in canoes! There are plenty of sheltered lakes and rivers for canoeists to enjoy. Steer them to enjoy these other safe options. Promoting a waterway trail to the wrong user group or not adequately outlining inherent dangers can be disastrous.

If the proposed paddling trail shares a busy waterway such as the ICW or other heavily-used channel there are special safety concerns for paddlers and possible regulation issues. Be sure to provide clear safety warnings in your guides and maps about crossing busy boating channels and following navigation rules. Proposed paddling trail signage requirements may be different in these areas and concerns should be discussed beforehand with FWC Boating and Waterways at 850-488-5600 or email

Stress the importance of paddlers wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs) or life jackets. When taking photos for promotional material or during events with the media, assure that models are displaying all necessary safety gear and wearing a PFD.