Changing Tides PaddleCraft offers kayak, canoe and SUP (standup paddle board) instruction and training in Connecticut and New York. We are proud that our Instructors are trained and Certified by the American Canoe Association - the benchmark for paddling Instruction in North America. Together our staff span a broad range of paddling disciplines from flat to moving water in coastal and river environments. We bring depth of experience and love of the outdoors to the art of building your paddling skills. We offer trip planning resources that support the best practices recommended by the ACA, the US Coast Guard and the National Safe Boating Council.
Trip Planning Principles: a fun trip is a safe trip. Safe trips require good planning and appropriate preparation. Click this link for the ACA's list of Top 10 Safety Tips. Here are some basic guidelines of our own for planning and preparing a safe and rewarding paddling trip:
Weather: be sure to check the weather forecast for your area before you launch and maintain weather awareness on the water. A waterproof marine radio is highly recommended for coastal paddling. Try to plan for safe put-ins along your course in case of unexpected weather.
The Weather Underground banners below gives current conditions for New Haven, CT as well as local rise and set times for the sun and moon. Click on either one to get a local long range weather forecast.
Want a quick forecast for anywhere in the world? Use the form below for forecasts anywhere you please:
Tide Tables: not knowing your tides can be an embarassment (at least). Don't get caught unprepared, use the quick tool below to find tides for Connecticut shores or use the pull-down menu to find tides anywhere in the United States
Tidal Currents: Depending on location (especially bottlenecks), tidal changes can result in rather dramatic currents. Maximum current develops between high and low tide times when the most water is moving. Tidal current predictions are derived from tide tables, but work has been invested in calculating currents primarily for locations affecting commercial shipping. Paddlers must usually find some current station that is reasonably near then observe the delay for areas of their own interest. In our region an area of key interest to paddlers is Long Island Sound and estuaries that are connected to it. Use the quick form tool below to find CT current stations and their predictions or use the pull down for data elsewhere in North America.
River Gauges: river paddlers need to check river heights and flows before they go or risk experiencing either a dangerous, boring or frustrating trip. The USGS monitors and supplies guage height data at a host of stations located on rivers across the country. height and flow data is typically updated every 1-4 hours depending on station equipment and protocol. Use the quick form tool below to find data on CT rivers or use the pull down for data across the country. This information must be combined with local knowledge developed through others or your own experience in order to understand how it relates to flow patterns on a given section of any river. American Whitewater is an organization of river paddlers which collects data submitted from local member trips which makes this correlation. Descriptions and advice for sections of many CT rivers are posted on their website for public use. If you paddle rivers we encourage you to join AW to support their work and recieve the benefits of membership. Learn more about AW in the links farther down this page.
Launch Sites: it is a fact of our society that land near the coast or along a river is usually extremely expensive. Access to good launch sites is often limited to state-owned properties although some countys and towns are friendly enough to open areas to paddlers outside their region. Our sport, a big component of which is based on freedom to go where we will on the water, is forced to access our chosen medium through a limited number of doorways. We encourage you to support organizations like ACA and AW who work to maintain and even increase our access to launching and landing sites. Meanwhile our actions and behavior on shore, and on the water can have a great impact on access for all paddlers. Good paddlers work to minimize their impact on the social and geographic environment through the principles of "Leave no Trace". Smart paddlers work to share the put-in with all users and leave the water and the shore in better shape than they found it.
Keep in mind that many sites require a local use sticker, fee sticker or proof of residency. Most launch sites have limited parking. Please park in tandem with those on your trip to take up less space. Take care to share the launch site with others. Load and unload efficiently and launch and land as quickly as possible to give equal opportunity to others. Avoid encounters with and be polite to anglers - they have a big lobby, as do power boaters who generally pay higher use fees than paddlers. View wildlife from a distance and avoid environmental impacts. Train to be safe and plan for the unexpected to limit occurence of negative incidents on the water. Train hard, be aware, take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.
The following links are a good start for locating public access put-ins in Connecticut (and elsewhere):