Paddlecraft have probably been used on the Chesapeake since the earliest inhabitants discovered the region. Although many centuries have passed, modern craft can trace their roots back to ancient designs.
Although the distinction between classes is not always sharply defined, paddlecraft can be divided into three general categories; kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddleboards. Each family of paddlecraft has its own array of variations.
Paddlecraft are found in virtually every part of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed from small tributaries to the estuary’s mainstem.
Canoes are used primarily in rivers, creeks, and sheltered coves. Canoes are especially popular with campers and other paddlers that need to carry loads.
Kayaks are popular throughout the Chesapeake Bay. Some paddlers prefer touring kayaks, which offer speed. Other choose wide-bodied kayaks for fishing or other activities. Specialized kayaks are used in whitewater areas of the watershed.
Stand up paddleboards are most recent paddlecraft to gain popularity in the estuary. With their light weight and ease of use, paddleboards are popular for short excursions or personal tours.