Navigation conditions for canoeing and kayaking

Organising a multi-day canoeing holiday with family or friends requires some advance planning. The first thing to do is to contact your rental company according to your choice of river. As the regulations are not the same on the different rivers, your rental company will be able to give you good advice and answer any questions you may have.

From what age should children be taken on a canoe trip?

The minimum age to take your children on a canoe trip is 6 years old, with a few exceptions such asARDECHE which recommends 7 years old orAVEYRON which accepts children from 5 years old. However, it is important that the child knows how to swim.

We also advise you to choose trips adapted to the age of the children (level of difficulty and distance/time).

Do you have to be able to swim to go canoeing?

Canoeing requires the ability to swim 25m and to put your head under water (submerge), whether for a simple trip or a multi-day tour.

Some tips for safe sailing

In France, the regulations allow you to ride on all rivers, but there are rules to follow in order to navigate safely.

Here are some tips for your canoe trip:

  • Wear the (compulsory) waistcoat provided by your rental company throughout your tour,
  • wear closed shoes,
  • be in good physical condition,
  • find out about the route taken,
  • Find out about weather conditions and water levels,
  • Sailing in pairs or groups.

Levels of difficulty of rivers

Each river that is suitable for canoeing has a level of difficulty that allows the beginner to navigate.

The rating is class I with some class II passages. And for the more athletic rivers the rating is class I-II with class III passages.

Water levels and seasons

Canoeing is possible from spring to autumn. It is possible to navigate in all weather conditions, although it is more pleasant in good weather!

The water level of the rivers varies according to the season, with a greater flow in spring and autumn than in summer. For safety reasons, navigation may be prohibited under certain conditions, e.g. during floods.

Once again, don't hesitate to ask your canoe rental company before you leave for your trip...

Be eco-responsible:

Canoeing is a clean way to travel.
You will encounter exceptional flora and fauna which require a responsible attitude to combine the pleasure of discovery with respect for nature.

Discover the eco-gestures to adopt during your canoeing trip:

  • Choose a water bottle that can be easily stowed on your boat
  • Limit your food packaging
  • Keep your rubbish with you until you find a rubbish bin and waste separation bins
  • Find out about the regulations applied in the natural areas you pass through and respect them
  • Be respectful of the fauna and flora (protected species)

About the author: David Van Cronenburg (Loire)

I arrived on the banks of the Loire in 2004 and was captivated by its fauna, flora and lights. I therefore naturally decided to create Loire Kayak in 2009 on the banks of the royal river! We have logically developed a 2 to 8 day tour, on the most beautiful part of the Loire between Cavereau and Saumur, that is to say 149km of canoeing, in order to allow everyone to visit in a different way, to take the time to live at the rhythm of the Loire and to discover its cultural and gastronomic heritage!