River Etiquette & Ethics

What and what not to do on the river

While considerable effort has been made to provide accurate information, we take no responsibility for any errors or omissions. There is some risk involved in water activities, and ultimate responsibility for safety lies solely with the individual participant. Educate yourself, and make decisions that avoid unnecessary risk.

  • Respect Private Property: Most land above the ordinary high water mark (usually the top cut in the river bank) is private property and should be avoided altogether unless you have received permission from the landowner.  At lower water levels, camping may be available on shoreline and sandbars located  below the high water mark. 
  • Discharge of Trash: It is illegal to dump garbage and plastics into state waters.  Take out everything you bring in plus any other trash you see that you can safely retrieve. 
  • Human Waste: In South Carolina, it is not mandatory to carry out all human waste, but it is good practice to do so.  There are many products on the many sanitary pack-out products on the market today that a quick internet search will turn up.  If you choose not to carry out, please use cat holes (6-8” deep hole at least 70 paces away from water source) and bury your solid waste on dry ground away from the river.  Please Leave No Trace of your time spent on this river. 
  • Fires: Use fires only when needed, using equipment and methods that work best for you.  Help keep sandbars clean by burning all wood to ash.  Trash should never be burned.  When the fire is finished, please bury or rake all the ashes into the river and scatter an unused firewood so the sandbar looks natural and scenic.  If possible, carry and use a fire pan and camp cooking stove. 
  • Ramp Manners: Please use boat ramps only for loading and unloading your boats from the car or trailer.  Once your boat is off the trailer, please move it away from the ramp and out of the way of others.  Pack or unpack your boat to the side of the launch area so others may trailer their boats.
  • Dishwater: Food bits left on the sand are magnets for ants and biting insects, so please make sure you strain out food particles and put them with your trash.  Then scatter the remaining dishwater well away from your camp.

  • River Encounters: Common sense and polite communication are the keys to successful interaction with other river users.   Remember that human-powered crafts have the right-of-way and motor boats should slow to no wake as they pass.  Give anchored fishing boats a wide berth as you pass them.  Avoiding confrontational behavior will ensure a peaceful experience for all. 
  • Respect Cultural and Archaeological Sites: The Edisto is steeped in historical value.  Along the river, you may see evidence of past communities, historic structures, bridge pilings, and abandoned buildings and roads.  Please do not disturb them.  It is illegal to remove, deface or destroy archaeological sites in South Carolina.  A Hobby License is required for anyone wishing to conduct temporary, intermittent, recreational, small scale, non-commercial search and recovery of submerged property.   It is a state-wide license.  Recovery of submerged property must be by hand and must not involve mechanical devices or excavation, Hobby Licensees are never permitted to dig or move sediment to expose material.
  • Wildlife: The Edisto River is blessed with an abundance of wildlife the quite paddler will encounter.  Please do not feed or disturb wildlife.  Chasing, harassing or disturbing wildlife is unlawful in South Carolina. 
  • Group Outings: We recommend limiting group size to two to ten people or two to five boats.  Landings, camp sites, and resting spots tend to be small in size.  Limiting group size also helps to mitigate environmental impacts such as cat holes, compaction, vegetation destruction, and noise pollution that your group will have on the resource. 
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