Policy Partnerships - ACA

Policy & Stewardship

Policy Partnerships

Paddlers make great friends.

Paddling offers many benefits, and there are a multitude of reasons we choose to participate in the activity we love. The ACA proudly supports the Outdoor Alliance as a founding member of this vital voice for human-powered outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes: surfers, mountain bikers, climbers, skiers, snowboarders, and paddlers, coming together through our shared collective interests.

Our partnership with the Outdoor Alliance and other organizations allows us to extend our voice by promoting recreation and conservation policies that benefit paddlers, advocating for public lands funding so we can maintain and access the places we love to paddle, and supporting efforts to safeguard the public process.

Outdoor Alliance

We are a founding member of the Outdoor Alliance, the only organization in the U.S. that unites the voices of outdoor enthusiasts to conserve public land and ensure those lands are managed in a way that embraces the human-powered experience.

OA is a nonprofit coalition of national advocacy organizations that includes American Whitewater, American Canoe Association, Access Fund, International Mountain Bicycling Association, Winter Wildlands Alliance, the Mountaineers, the American Alpine Club, the Mazamas, the Colorado Mountain Club, and the Surfrider Foundation.


Since 2002, the ACA has partnered with L.L.Bean to sponsor the Club Fostered Stewardship Program, which was refocused in 2021 as the Club Fostered Community Grant Program. This program provides grants to local and regional paddling clubs and organization that implement projects on local waterways.

In partnership with L.L. Bean, the CFC Grant program’s role is to support paddling opportunities and access for the BIPOC community through the framework of existing paddling clubs, non-profits, and volunteer groups. By leveraging the existing clubs and projects that are already in place, this project will not need to “reinvent the wheel.” CFC funding is used to amplify diversity and inclusion efforts of existing groups/projects, rather than developing brand new programs from scratch. The new paddlers engaged by the CFC DEI efforts will have a community group or club to call “home,” which will result in lasting relationships and a long-term interest in experiencing and exploring the paddling world.


American Whitewater

American Whitewater’s mission is to protect and restore America’s whitewater rivers and to enhance opportunities to enjoy them safely.

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Choose Clean Water Coalition

Since 2010 the Choose Clean Water Coalition has been harnessing the collective power of more than 250 groups to advocate for clean rivers and streams in all communities in the Chesapeake Bay region.

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National Association of State Boating Law Administrators

NASBLA is a national nonprofit that works to develop public policy for recreational boating safety.

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National Boating Safety Advisory Council

The National Boating Safety Advisory Council and its working groups provide guidance to the US Department of Homeland Safety on matters relating to boating safety.

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Outdoors Alliance for Kids

Outdoors Alliance for Kids is a national strategic partnership of organizations from diverse sectors with a common interest in connecting children, youth, and families with the outdoors.

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Life Jacket Association

The Life Jacket Association is an industry association dedicated to increasing lifejacket wear in all appropriate activities: through education, product innovation, standards development, and enhancing communication between members and stakeholders.

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U.S. Coast Guard

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division (CG-BSX-2) is dedicated to reducing loss of life, injuries, and property damage that occurs on U.S. Waterways by improving the knowledge, skills, and abilities of recreational boaters.

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U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary has initiated a paddlecraft safety program called Auxiliary Paddlecraft, or AUXPAD. The program has three major points:

  • The need to have and wear a proper life jacket;
  • The need to be prepared and have proper safety equipment; and
  • The need for general awareness about all aspects of paddling safety, including situational awareness and the need to practice skills.

AUXPAD includes traditional dockside Auxiliary boating safety activities such as public education, public affairs, literature drops, and vessel safety exams.  One new element is that the Auxiliary will go on-the-water in kayaks to deliver safety messages to novice and occasional paddlers.

Participants in this on-the-water program are required to have passed the ACA L-1 and L-2 coastal kayaking skill assessments.  Auxiliarists designated as AUXPAD Qualifiers, that is, supervisors, will be required to hold current ACA L-1 and L-2 kayak Instructor certifications.

ACA Instructors and Trainers may be contacted directly by Auxiliarists or by the active duty Coast Guard to arrange training opportunities.

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