Water Trail Etiquette
There are three basic tenets of water trail etiquette including:
- BE COURTEOUS
Be considerate of other river users. They have come out to enjoy the waterway and weather the same as you have. Let’s ensure everyone has fun!
- RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTY
People choose to live by the river for numerous reasons, whatever their reason it is important to respect them and their property by admiring it and moving on.
- BE RESPECTFUL OF OTHERS
The rivers have become the “New Main Street” in NE Indiana. Be respectful of others as you would to your neighbor on your town’s Main Street.
Below is a list of basic courtesies that should be followed to ensure all river users have a safe and enjoyable time.
- If using a motorized boat, minimize the wake it creates. A large wake causes riverbank erosion and can tip a paddler, especially if they are a novice paddler. It is always a best practice to turn your bow (front of boat) into the wake to minimize the potential to tip.
- Just as on a street or highway, stay to your right in the river when traveling upstream or downstream.
- Reduce speed when approaching other boats or paddlers ahead of you. People in motorized boats hold a higher responsibility to be mindful of paddlers.
- When a faster watercraft is behind you, move to the right to allow it to pass you.
- When approaching bridges, look for the bridge name sign. It will be placed on the bridge where the river is the deepest. Paddlers should allow motorized boats to use the deepest section of the river when passing under the bridge.
- Ensure your music or behavior is at a level not to disturb other people on the river or along the riverbank.
- If you have your dog with you in your boat, keep him/her in the watercraft until you reach the shore and always keep the dog on a leash. Always pick up after your dog.
- Have your gear prepared prior to approaching the bank so you can get in and take out quickly. If you are unprepared, you will delay others from their river adventure.
- Only use public boat launches or docks designated for the purpose of putting in or taking out of the waterway. Never use private property unless the property owner has given you their permission. Unless there is a sign stating the property is publicly owned, assume it is not and do not exit you boat onto the bank.
- Change your clothes discretely.
- Park your vehicle in designated areas and do not block driveways, entrances, or other cars.
- Be aware of your surroundings and others and keep a respectful distance from those fishing and their fishing lines for everyone’s safety.
- Leave no trace…that includes dog waste, garbage, fishing line, etc.
- Stay in your boat, do not get out on private property, respect others, have fun!!