Corps of Engineers, Coast Guard help present 'Kayaking 101'

ATLANTA — U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Allatoona Lake and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary are joining the Georgia chapter of the American Canoe Association and other stakeholders, to offer low-cost kayaking instruction at multiple locations across Georgia on May 18.

The event is in celebration of National Safe Boating Week, which begins the same day. Other marquee partners include Georgia River Network, Georgia Power Company, Trust for Public Lands and REI.

“We are excited to be able to bring an event of this caliber to Georgia for the benefit of all of the paddlers we see at Allatoona Lake and in other parts of the state," Ranger Rusty Simmons, chief Ranger of Park Operations at Allatoona Lake, said. “Being able to mobilize this many nationally certified ACA instructors to help beginners is a very powerful way for the community to come together to reinforce safety while we are having fun.”

In 2023, this event trained 279 students across North Carolina and Tennessee in 24 simultaneous Kayaking 101 classes led by nationally certified ACA instructor volunteers in an event that began in Tennessee in 2022. The National Safe Boating Council recognized the Kayaking 101 partnership with the 2024 IBWSS Communications Community Impact Award.

As a result of the success realized in Tennessee and North Carolina in 2023, seven states are participating in this event in 2024 with 43 simultaneous Kayaking 101 classes planned on May 18 in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Missouri and Florida.

“Our instructor volunteers are so excited to share their love of the sport with newcomers and experienced paddlers alike,” ACA Southeastern Chair and Georgia River Network employee Andrea White, said. “Just one day of training can make the difference between setting yourself up for a bad experience that ruins the sport for you versus setting yourself up for a whole lifetime of paddling fun.”

The 2024 event in Georgia marks the first time a USACE-operated lake is participating in the ACA Kayaking 101 partnership.

Participating locations for this event include:

● Allatoona Lake, Stamp Creek Ramp, 365 Wilderness Camp Road, White;

● Allatoona Lake, Kellogg Creek Day Use Area, 2077 Kellogg Creek Road, Acworth;

● Allatoona Lake, Old Highway 41 No. 2 Day Use Area, 6693 North Main St., Acworth;

● Lake Oconee, Lawrence Shoals Campground, 123 Lawrence Shoals Road, Eatonton;

● Skidaway Island, Rodney Hall Boat Ramp, 25 Diamond Causeway, Savannah.

Classes cost $15 per person, including a free kayak rental for anyone who signs up for it at registration for training that often retails for $75-$150. All instructors are Georgia volunteers who are nationally certified to give paddling and rescue training and are supported by experienced safety teams.

Each location will be limited to 15 people. A limited number of kayaks, paddles, and life jackets will be available as a free rental during registration.