ACA Grant Project: 
Sustainable Paddlesports Education for Underserved Communities


The American Canoe Association has recently undertaken a project, funded by a grant administered by the U.S. Coast Guard, that focuses on creating sustainable paddlesports education for underserved and underrepresented communities. Led by ACA Education & Outreach Coordinator T.J. Turner, this grant project will allow the ACA to increase its current capability to conduct on-water instruction for a range of individuals and organizations across the country who would not otherwise have the opportunity for such education. 

This opportunity will enable underrepresented community members to participate in on-water skills-based courses, help to create community partnerships, and better promote a safe paddling culture in each of the specified areas of interest.ACA-Grant-Project2

The focus of this project is to provide 18 skills and assessment courses for selected states and communities as outlined by the U.S. Coast Guard. Nine of these skills and assessment courses focus on rural communities while the remaining nine focus on urban communities. The ultimate goal is to have 360 underrepresented youth and 72 adults complete skills and assessment courses with ACA Certified instructors. 

By empowering the adults in the selected communities with appropriate boating knowledge and skill, this grant project will be both replicable and sustainable in future years for those locations. This will provide a source of local education that will contribute to the decrease in both fatalities and accidents for both the current and future generation of boaters.

This grant project is also engaging stakeholders at both the local and state level. The ACA is working with appropriate state boating agencies, local outfitters, and other national boating safety organizations as applicable.

Skills Courses Offered:

Assessment Courses Offered:


  • Calm, flat water

Duration of Course

  • 2 Days
  • Day 1: Skills Course with youth and adult participants; Day 2: Adult participants have opportunity for participation in a Skills Assessment

Locations Selected for Grant FundingACA-Grant-Project1

  • Miami, Florida
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Fort Myers, Florida
  • San Diego, California
  • San Francisco, California
  • Lansing, Michigan
  • Muskegon, Michigan
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Columbia, South Carolina
  • Galveston, Texas
  • Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Bellingham, Washington
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Juneau, Alaska
  • New York City, New York 

For additional information, please contact T.J. Turner, Education and Outreach Coordinator at or via phone at 540.907.4460 ext. 103.

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