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Environment & Good Practice

Paddling has a benign impact on the environment. However, it is important for all paddlers to be aware of their responsibilities in helping ensure the environment is protected.

Paddlers' Code

Following the huge growth in paddlesports and with millions of people taking to the water every year, British Canoeing developed the Paddlers’ Code to share guidance on how to enjoy our beautiful waterways responsibly.

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.

Help and advice

We’re here to raise awareness of the importance of our native species and their habitats in our water environment. 

We are also actively involved in efforts to improve water quality in our waters, benefiting the natural ecosystem and paddlers alike. 

Find out how you can get involved in environmental projects as part of our Clear Access Clear Waters campaign.

To get more information on how you can enjoy and protect the environment, take a look at the downloads below, or get in touch with us.

Protecting our waterways

If you represent an organisation helping to preserve and enhance England’s water environment, habitats or heritage please contact us

British Canoeing may be able to help you promote your projects and campaigns to the paddling community.

Find out more about the Paddlers' Code >>