Safety Classes

Basic Safety Information

All participants in Chota Canoe Club trips do so as common adventurers. The club or its individual members may coordinate paddling trips but no one is considered leader of a trip. All participants take the responsibility for making their own decisions including, but not limited to, whether to participate on any particular water body or section, what equipment they use, the routes they may choose to paddle, whether their skill levels and abilities are appropriate for the activity or whether climate and water conditions are appropriate for their participation. In applying for membership to the Chota Canoe Club (Chota), I acknowledge that paddling, like many sports, has inherent dangers which can be minimized through education and experience, but cannot be totally eliminated I hereby, for myself, my heirs, executers, and administrators waive any and all rights and claims for damage I may have against Chota, its officers and representatives for injuries suffered by me in Chota activities.

Safety Information at American Whitewater


Annual Chota Canoe & Kayak School

Get the registration form here!

The Chota Canoe Club’s Annual Canoe & Kayak School is a great way to get started in paddling and to advance your skills if you are already boating. This year we are offering the following courses:

  • Beginner and Advanced Beginner instruction in whitewater kayak and canoe; on the Hiwassee River (Class 1-2)
  • Intermediate instruction for kayak and canoe; Intermediate instruction is on the Ocoee River (Class 2-3)
  • Kayak touring classes; instruction will start on Parksville Lake, with Day 2 TBD

Membership Form
Trip Release Form
Whitewater Canoe Class Overview
Whitewater Kayak Class Overview
Touring Kayak Class Overview



Whitewater Pete Feist
865.599.4251  Email Pete

Touring Jim Martin
865.548.4200  Email Jim

What to Expect

Your $100 Registration fee covers

  • Instruction
  • Chota Canoe Club Membership
  • Two nights camping at Adventures Unlimited
  • Catered meal on Saturday evening
  • T-shirt


For non participants camping is $6 /night and Saturday meal is $10. Cabins also available from Adventures Unlimited. Go to Adventures Unlimited for directions.
Equipment rentals are available at River Sports Outfitters and Uncle Lem’s Outfitters

Friday June 13

5:00 pm -7:00 pm Check in at our base camp at Adventures Unlimited Campground on US 64 near the Ocoee River
8:00 pm General Meeting / Orientation followed by Student & Instructor Meetings
8:30 pm Gear Check Out and Outfitting

Saturday June 14

8:00 am – 9:00 am Students & Instructors Meet to Begin Classes (Daily Schedule will be determined by Instructor)
7:00 pm Catered Dinner (bring a chair)
8:00 pm Auction and Bonfire

Sunday June 15

8:00am – 9:00 am Students & Instructors Meet to Begin Classes (Daily Schedule will be determined by Instructor



Swift Water Rescue Class

Registration Form

Join us for the annual CHOTA Swift Water Rescue Clinic. The two day course will be based out of Gee Creek Campground with training taking place on the Hiawassee and Ocoee Rivers. The clinic is open to CHOTA members and non-members and for all skill levels. No prior experience is necessary or required for the course. All instruction will be shore based. The skill level to paddle the Hiwassee or the Ocoee is not required.The clinic is intended for whitewater paddlers and will follow the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1670 Standard for Water Rescue. Both the “Awareness” and “Operations” segments of this standard will be covered in the clinic. Optional NFPA SWR certification will be available for those desiring certification at the Operations level. Course completion cards will be available for all students.

A skills test is required for Operations certification and will require between two to three hours of addition course work on Sunday afternoon/evening. Russ Miller from Wilderness Safety Consultants will be the lead instructor for the clinic. Information regarding his experience and credentials can be found on his web site. Please feel free to contact Russ if you have any questions concerning course content or additional courses and certifications.

Cost of the clinic is $35 with an additional $15 fee for those wanting the Operations level certification. Camping in the overflow area at Gee Creek is included. Please note that certification is under the NFPA standard. This is not an ACA SWR certification course.

Where: Hiwassee State Scenic Rivers “Gee Creek”Campground overflow area.
Friday night
8:00pm Informal check-in / meet and greet will take place at the campground

Saturday morning
8:45am  Students may still check in
9:00am  Training will start

What to Bring: Throw rope, warm river clothes (you’ll be in the water a lot and will get cold if not dressed properly. A wetsuit or drysuit will make you happy), life jacket / safety vest if you have one, paddle, whistle, and helmet. Bring rope for prussics (A 4 or 5 foot piece of kernmantel rope with a diameter of 6-8 mm works great) and locking carabineers if you have them. Pickup trips after the clinic are possible, so bring your boat.

To sign up for this clinic, please contact Randy Bigbee, Email Randy

Student Fees: $35.00 for attendance, with an additional $15.00 for SWR certification. Please forward your payment to reserve your place in the class. 

In addition, Mr. Miller requires a liability waiver for this class to be taught that will need to be signed when you show up for class on Saturday morning.

Make checks made out to: CHOTA

℅ Randy Bigbee
5532 Woodburn Drive
Knoxville, TN 37919

To prepare for the course go to Animated Knots and learn to tie these Knots:
1. Waterknot (or the double fisherman’s if you’re feeling ambitious)
2. Figure 8
3. Figure 8 follow thru
4. Bowline
5. Prusik
6. Munter Mule (thru step 6 only)
You might want to familiarize yourself with the Z-drag we will also be covering.

As for reading, we recommend Slim Ray’s River Rescue: A Manual for Whitewater Safety 4th addition. There is lots of good information here. Don’t worry about the more complicated lifts and rope systems as they are beyond the scope of the course.