River trips usually begin with a shuttle of boats and paddlers to the put-in. Shuttles can be done one of three ways: by drivers within the group, by drivers hired from outside the group, or by the livery service providing rental boats and gear. The information below will discuss the advantages and inconveniences of each:
Self-shuttle - the most economical shuttle is one done by drivers within the group. No extra cost is involved other than the cost of gasoline to run the shuttle. The downside is that at least one car must stay at the put-in unless there are people within a group who are not paddling and who can drive the last car to the take-out. This type of shuttle is time consuming and can easily eat up 2 to 4 hours or more, depending upon the river and its access points and the availability of safe parking areas.
Hired shuttle - Local drivers can often be hired to drive personal vehicles from the put-in to the take-out. Costs for this type of shuttle can range from a few dollars to over $250 per vehicle, depending upon the river, availability of drivers and access roads to the river. This type of shuttle involves entrusting your vehicles to strangers, though Canoeman River Guide Services does have established relationships with local drivers on some rivers who can provide a trustworthy service for paddlers. This is the most costly and least desirable shuttle type, but on some rivers (parts of the Rio Grande, for instance) it may be the ONLY option available.
Livery shuttle - Canoe liveries usually offer shuttles with rented boats for a small fee of a few dollars (some Texas liveries offer free shuttles with rented boats). Most will also transport private boats and paddlers, charging a lower fee if shuttling with rented boats than if all boats shuttled are privately owned. Typical shuttle fees for private boats and paddlers will be $25 or less, but some liveries on some rivers and to some destinations on those rivers may charge more - specific details of costs will be provided by Canoeman River Guide Services for specific trips. This type of shuttle is the most convenient for most paddlers and has costs, if any, close to that of running personal shuttles within the group. Personal cars are usually locked by their owners at the take-out or the livery, if the livery is not on the river.