Ready to hit the water? Here are some safety tips and guidelines to help you prepare.

Stewardship

The South Carolina Revolutionary Rivers Trail asks visitors to follow the National Leave No Trace Code of Outdoor Ethics that promotes the responsible use and enjoyment of the outdoors:

  • Plan ahead and prepare.
  • Obey all rules and regulations.
  • Respect private property and wildlife.
  • Dispose of wastewater properly.
  • Leave what you find.
  • Minimize campfire impacts.
  • Be considerate of others.

Planning

  • Review the South Carolina Revolutionary Rivers Trail map.
  • Plan where your trip will take you, where to get out, whether you will need to shuttle, and emergency routes.
  • Allow enough time to complete your trip within daylight hours.
  • Check river conditions and water levels. A flooded river can be dangerous and should be avoided. A low river may expose logs and require carrying your boat, making your trip longer and more difficult. Check the mile 50 water level link. Note that water level may decrease by as much as 2’ for the final eight miles of the trail which needs a minimum of 2’ depth for navigability.
  • Check weather conditions before your trip. Check the weather before you leave. When the weather is cooler, wear quick drying clothes and take layers. Avoid wearing cotton. Do not go if the weather is beyond the ability of the least experienced person in your group.
  • A guide is recommended downstream from Venters Landing.
  • FORevR platform campsites may be reserved for overnight use.
  • Please be mindful that many of the landings along the SC Revolutionary Rivers Trail are available to the public because private landowners have provided access. Please be respectful to the land and our river.

Safety

  • Avoid paddling alone.
  • Always be aware of weather conditions. In the event of inclement weather that includes the risk of lightning, paddle to shore, secure your boat and find cover under a dense stand of small trees. Avoid open areas, especially open areas with solitary trees, and avoid gathering in large groups.
  • Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.
  • South Carolina state law requires each boat carry a flashlight and a noise making device attached to life jacket.
  • Always let someone know what time you expect to get on and off the river, along with your route.
  • Note river mile markers as you are paddling in case of an emergency. Florence County EMS operates water rescue boats to assist you.
  • Keep in mind cell phone service is intermittent.
  • If paddling in a group, assign a lead and sweep boat manned by experienced paddlers.
  • Never paddle farther from shore than you are prepared to swim.
  • Bring a spare paddle or pole, and in an emergency, always stay with your boat.
  • A first-aid kit, plenty of drinking water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and bug repellent are among other recommended trip essentials.
  • Be aware of wildlife and river hazards such as fallen trees and large vessels.
  • Strainers are places where water can pass but you cannot, such as submerged trees and bridge pilings. If your boat is caught on a strainer, do not lean away from the obstacle, as this may cause water to fill your boat. Stay in your boat and carefully shift your weight as you push off with your paddle.
  • In the event of capsizing, stay with your boat and swim it to shore or shallow water where you can dump the water and right your vessel. It floats even when filled with water and can support you if you become tired. Make sure your belongings are secured to your boat to keep from losing them. Other boats should be around to assist in recovering any belongings and help you right your boat.
  • Avoid paddling under low hanging branches as there is a possibility of a wasp nest. Should a wasp attack occur, it is best to submerge your body in water.
  • There are several species of venomous snakes in South Carolina, so be observant when making stops along the river. Do not disturb branches where the snakes may be sunning themselves. If you encounter any snakes, simply leave them alone. Should you have the misfortune of being bitten, remain calm and get medical assistance as quickly as possible. Bites from these venomous snakes are rarely fatal, given proper medical attention.
  • Keep pets near to you while on the water or camping.