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While for the most part this area provides for safe paddling for all skill levels, everyone should make sure to pay attention to hazards and always use appropriate gear. This guide provides warnings for areas with high boat traffic and areas that are exposed during low tides. The waterways near bridges often have high traffic and may have strong currents. Paddling in a group is always safest!

St. Johns River tide information is available here. Tide information can help you plan your route as well as know when you can safely enter and leave the water. In addition to checking the tides, paddlers should check the weather, but also prepare for Florida’s sudden thunderstorms. Do not underestimate the danger of lightning. Current weather information may be found here.

As a general note while on the St. Johns River, paddling close and parallel to the banks is safest, as many power boats travel in the middle of the river, often at high speeds.

What you will need to bring with you:

  • Personal floatation device
  • Whistle
  • Water
  • Sunscreen
  • Hard-soled footwear

Suggested items to bring with you:

  • Insect repellent
  • Hat
  • Long-sleeved shirt
  • Flashlight

While you are planning for your own safety, take a minute to plan for the environment’s safety as well.  Paddlers as a group are very environmentally conscious. Bring drinks and snacks in reusable containers. Dispose of all garbage appropriately, especially fishing line and plastic bags which can entrap wildlife. Do not approach wildlife. Leave what you find (unless it is garbage).

Pollution Warnings:

We encourage everyone to explore Jacksonville’s waterways. As always, however, paddlers should exercise all necessary precautions.  In addition to using proper safety equipment, pollution levels and algal outbreaks in the water should be monitored and considered before embarking on a paddling excursion. Some useful sources of information on area water quality include local news, Department of Environmental Protection and Environmental Protection Agency websites, the Duval County Health Department, and the Environmental Quality Division of the City of Jacksonville.

Safety Links: