Fun on the Duck River: Kayak Water Safety for Families in Shelbyville

By Andrea White
Hook1 Recreational Kayaking Paddling Pro
ACA certified River Kayaking Instructor

The Duck River is one of Tennessee’s treasures. It’s the longest river entirely within the state of Tennessee, one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the eastern United States, and one of the most biologically diverse rivers in North America. Not to mention…it’s really pretty and fun to paddle!!

But recently, this beautiful waterway has seen more than its fair share of tragedy and near misses. The same serene beauty that draws us to the Duck can also be quite deceptive. The hazards of cold water, high water, low head dams and deadwood in the river are very real. For example, there was a week last May when the conditions were bad enough that the Bedford County rescue squad received 6 calls and rescued 24 kayakers…in one week! Then over July 4th, 9 year old Dreyton Sims and his brother got caught in a squirrelly eddy line at Fisherman’s Park, right in downtown Shelbyville. The younger brother was rescued by an attentive adult but Dreyton was not so lucky.

That’s why the Hook1 Outfitters Paddling Pros are stepping up to help. We love paddling our beautiful waterways and we think it is important to support the Shelbyville community as they approach the spring and summer paddling season, especially families with kids.

On April 21st we are offering a low cost, ½ day class on kayak paddling and water safety. We have joined forces with the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association (TSRA) who are sending in some top notch, ACA certified instructors who have volunteered to spend the day with us. Shelbyville Parks and Recreation are all over this, helping us secure the class location at Fisherman’s Park and augmenting the Hook1 fleet with some more kayaks, paddles and PFDs for students who don’t have their own (yet!). And the experts in water rescue from Bedford County EMS are coming, too. It’s all hands on deck, so to speak.

So if you know folks in Shelbyville, spread the word and send them this way! And if you need a kayak paddling skills or water safety class, we highly recommend checking out the summer calendar of classes TSRA is offering. We can’t wait to spend a beautiful day on the water and share our love of paddling with our neighbors in Shelbyville on their gorgeous river. A little knowledge can go a long way toward making sure you have more good days on the river than bad

See You on the River,