The Paddlers’ Code

The Paddlers’ Code

The Paddlers’ Code has been created to help guide paddlers into best practice and give easy guidelines to follow when out on the water. The code follows three basic principles: respect, protect, and enjoy. Inspired by the Countryside Code, The Paddlers’ Code looks to give clear and concise direction for all new and existing paddlers.  So here are a few bits of easy guidance from The Paddlers’ Code you can follow whenever you’re on the water.


  1. Park in appropriate and sensible places. Avoid obstructing paths, roads, and driveways. 
  2. Use marked pathways to gain access to the water. 
  3. Give other users ample space to avoid disturbing them.
  4. Be friendly to other users and say hello. 


  1. Be aware of the nature around you, taking care not to disturb it. 
  2. Avoid dragging your kayak, canoe, or paddle board along the river bank.
  3. Always check, clean, and dry. This helps reduce the spread of invasive non-native species. 


  1. Be prepared by carrying and wearing the appropriate safety kit.
  2. Plan your adventure, taking the weather into account.
  3. Don’t get sick paddling. So, if the water looks or smells bad, avoid it and report it to the Environment Agency
  4. Ensure you have appropriate waterway licences. Paddle UK membership gives you a licence for over 4500km of waterways. 

three girls in a canoe enjoying themselves

There is plenty more to code, so make sure you head to the website and check it out. Remember, where they are not strict enforceable rules, they are set out to help the enjoyment of all water users. So follow them as much as you can, and help spread the word about the Paddlers’ Code.