The Paddler’s Code

Paddlers’ Code to help people enjoy our waterways responsibly.

The Paddlers’ Code is an exciting new guide for canoeists, kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders. 

The Code has been developed with Natural England and reflects their work with the Countryside Code.

It has also been written in partnership with paddlers and a wide range of stakeholders who it is hoped will adopt the code themselves.

Like the Countryside Code, the Paddlers’ Code shows how paddlers can best protect wildlife and spot pollution with other pieces of advice.

The code includes advice for paddlers to keep group sizes small and discreet, avoid damaging fences and walls when lifting crafts over them and generally being respectful to those you meet along the water.

To protect nature, paddlers are asked to avoid dragging boats on river banks and to avoid gravel beds, which can be important spawning grounds for fish.

Also, the guide reminds paddlers to check, clean and dry their kit after each trip. This is key to helping stop the spread of invasive, non-native species.

The code also includes safety advice, including wearing a buoyancy aid and having the appropriate leash for the environment if paddling SUP.

Ellie Woodward, the National Trust’s Paddlesport Consultant:

“We’re really excited for the launch of the Paddlers’ Code as it will help our teams communicate some extremely helpful advice with visitors at National Trust places. 

“We’re also pleased to be part of a collective to share the code widely through various channels to raise awareness of respecting, enjoying and protecting our inland and coastal waterways, something we strive for with our conservation work. 

“We hope the code will benefit all water users and ultimately the environment we love paddling in.”

Miranda Krestovnikoff, President of the RSPB:

“As a keen paddler and lover of wildlife, I welcome the introduction of the Paddlers’ Code.

“It will help to inspire people to explore our beautiful waterways but to do so responsibly and with consideration to others and the wildlife and help raise awareness of the beauty and fragility of some of our natural rivers, canals and coasts.”

The code can be found at its new website


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