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May 07, 2014

Paddle Sports Are Hot on America’s Waterways

From all accounts we’re seeing, paddle sports—especially kayaking—are surging in popularity.  In 2012, more than 19 million people went paddling on American waterways.

“I have never seen a trend explode like the one we are experiencing now. Kayaks, paddle boards and canoes have become more popular than ever before, and with good reason,” wrote Capt. Tim Cutting, a professional fisherman and guide, in the April issue of Coastal Angler Magazine.

The appeal of paddle sports crosses all sorts of lines: age, gender, place (inland and coastal waters), and recreational motivation (adventure, fitness, exploration, nature photography, fishing).  Some of the reasons for the love of paddling include low cost, easy learning curve, hassle-free access to thousands of waterways everywhere, and the desire to get close to nature.

Parks and recreational authorities are responding to the paddle sports boom by making life easier for users of non-motorized watercraft.  Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife, for example, has developed 60 Texas Paddling Trails—22 of which have been added since fall in 2012. The trails provide “well-mapped, accessible day trips in a variety of settings and for all levels of paddling experience.”

 

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Georgetown, SC appeals to paddlers with park renovations

Many parks are upgrading and expanding their boat launch facilities to accommodate the special needs of kayaks and canoes.

A dedicated kayak and canoe launch pad was one component of a large project GatorDock just completed for the city of Georgetown, South Carolina.  East Bay Park’s run-down boat ramp had fallen into disrepair due to rotting wood, limiting access to Winyah Bay and the Sampit River.

The new Gator-built kayak and canoe facility has rollers, rails, and two lanes for fast, tip-proof launch and retrieval.  GatorDock’s role in the Georgetown renovations also included aluminum floating docks, piers, and gangways.

GatorDock leads our industry in developing innovative launch systems for non-motorized boats. Our Easy Launch kayak and canoe system, for example, cradles the watercraft in a recessed dock section, and grab bars make passenger entry and exit much easier.

If your organization is embarking on a waterfront project, GatorDock can ensure it’s built for a lifetime of service.  Check out drawings, specifications, CAD files, and past project examples.

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