FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
1. Our monthly meetings are held the first Tuesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. at the Fairhope Yacht Club. Anybody and everybody is welcome to attend. There is no charge. The typical meeting lasts less than two hours. We start with a review of the previous month’s paddles, continue with plans for and announcements of paddles for the next month, and end with a presentation. Presentations may include slide shows of past paddling trips by club members, member reviews of paddling gear, and safety and skills presentations.
2. If you e-mail a request to firstname.lastname@example.org, Julie will put you on the club’s e-mail list. You will receive a monthly newsletter, which includes a calendar of events, and e-mail notices of “flash paddles” i.e., club paddles that are planned and announced on short notice. If your ISP does not deliver club e-mails (due to ISP “spam filters” or whatever), that’s between you and your ISP – there is nothing we can do about it.
3. We regularly post “want ads” for individuals seeking and selling used boats. E-mail a description of the boat desired or for sale (type, make, model, length, weight, age, condition, accessories included, etc.) to Julie at email@example.com and she will post your “want ad” to the website and e-mail it to the club membership in the next regular club e-mailing. We get a lot of inquiries about where to buy a used boat – the answer is that if we know about a used boat for sale, we post it on the website. If it’s not posted, we don’t know about it.
4. Apart from “want ads” from individuals, we don’t advertise. We mention a few businesses in these FAQs because those businesses actively support our club, are owned by and employ club members, and/or are the only local sources we know about for particular paddling products. The banner ads at the top of the club’s web pages are generated by our free web host, “blogger.”
5. People frequently ask “where is a good place to paddle?” The answer is “just about anywhere.” The best single source of print information about put-ins and paddling trips in this area is this club’s separate website for paddle reports, www.paddlereport.blogspot.com. The best way to get acquainted with local paddling destinations is to come paddling with us. Keith Map Service in Mobile is the most comprehensive source of maps and charts, but Fairhope Boat Co. and Pensacola Kayak and Sail also carry some maps and charts.
6. Another FAQ is “where can I buy or rent a boat?” Sunshine Canoes in Mobile and Tensaw Eco Tours on the Causeway rent kayaks and canoes. Fairhope Boat Company and Pensacola Kayak and Sail sell and rent boats.
7. We are a group of people who enjoy paddling and sharing our experiences with others. We are not a formal organization. There are no dues, no application forms, no membership lists. All you have to do to "join" our "club" is show up at a paddle, come to a meeting, or just decide you're a member.
8. We have over 200 people on our e-mail list and receive dozens of inquiries from newbies and journalists via e-mail each month about our club, where to paddle, where to buy a boat, etc., so please be patient with us if we can’t respond in detail to every e-mail we get. But if whatever you need to know is not in these FAQs, please feel free to e-mail Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional questions you may have. If Julie doesn’t know the answer to your question, she will try to find somebody who does.
9. Our intention is for safety to always be the first priority. It is up to each individual to decide for him/herself whether the paddling conditions for each event are within their enjoyment and skill range. Each person is responsible for their own decision about whether to participate in each event. The leader of any given paddle can tell you about the expected paddling conditions, duration, level of difficulty, etc. However, always remember that the weather and other conditions can, and quite often do, change both quickly and dramatically. (In other words, paddle at your own risk.)
10. You should always contact the trip leader for any paddling trip to let them know if you plan to join the paddle and to get directions to the meeting place and/or put-in. If they don’t know you are coming, trip leaders cannot contact you with changes in plans or cancellations, and you may find yourself waiting alone in a parking lot while the rest of us are off having fun somewhere else.
11. What should you bring? You should bring a PFD and drinking water on every paddle. You should also bring whatever you think you’ll need in the way of snacks or meals, if anything. If we will be on the water after dark, you are required by law to bring a single, white light. (But don’t turn it on unless you need it for safety and/or the trip leader tells you to. White lights ruin night vision.) We also appreciate paddlers who choose to carry a trash bag to collect litter along the way. They make it nicer for everyone.
Contact list and links:
If you would like to subscribe to the club e-mail list, or if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this website, please e-mail Julie at email@example.com.
Click here to go to the website of the West Florida Canoe Club.
Click here for maps of the Bartram Canoe Trail.
Click here for maps from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Click here to go to the MBCAKC’s archive of “trip reports” on past paddles. This website ranges from the informative to the poetic, and sometimes includes links to maps. You are encouraged to submit trip reports of whatever genre, as well as your favorite links.
Reminder: Permit for Boiling Creek
A current permit is required to paddle Boiling Creek in Eglin Air Force Base. The permits are good from 1 October to 30 September. They cost $5.00. (You get a map with the permit that is worth more than the fee.)
Request the Recreational Permit, which is the one for paddling. You can get the permit from one of the gates or by mail. Permits may be obtained from the Jackson Guard Office (Natural Resources Branch), located at Highway 85 North, Niceville FL 32578 (850) 882-4164. The mailing address is:
Eglin Natural Resources Branch
107 Highway 85 North
Niceville, FL 32578
For each permit requested, send a photocopy of either a driver’s license or other identification card (e.g., passport) which contains a photograph, your full name, current address (including zip code), current phone number, and date of birth. Specify the type of permit (recreational) desired.
As an alternative to a photo-i.d., you can send last year’s permit, if you have one.
Be prepared to wait three weeks for delivery (although recent turn-arounds have been only a few days). Payments can be by personal check, money order, or cashiers check made payable to DFAS-LI Eglin AFB. Cash is not accepted.