Stand up paddleboarding is rising in popularity across the country among individuals of all ages. An inflatable SUP (iSUP) can be used on a variety of bodies of water, whether you desire easy access or a more remote location. An iSUP adventure can also range from a relaxing and serene float across the pond to a thrilling balancing act on waves. Whether you choose to take your new iSUP out on an isolated, calm lake on a sunny day or brave the rapids on a river run, we want your experience to be a safe and enjoyable one. Safety on the water is essential to enjoying your next outing.
Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
Wearing or carrying a PFD on-board is essential to paddleboard safety. When used out of designated swimming, surfing or bathing areas, Stand Up Paddleboards are considered "vessels" under the United States Coast Guard regulations. This means that individuals 13 years of age and older must have a PFD on board, and those 12 years of age and younger are required to wear a PFD at all times on the water. Not only can a PFD save your life, it can actually make it easier for you to climb back aboard after falling or jumping in the water.
This can be a simple item to carry that can make a huge difference in an emergency situation. You can use a whistle to alert motorized boats to your presence if needed or to get help from shore if you have trouble on the water.
If you plan on going out on cold water, you should consider a suit to keep you warm. Hypothermia is a serious condition that can escalate rapidly. An unplanned fall into a cold mountain lake or cold ocean water would definitely ruin your trip, so plan accordingly.
If you're going to take your iSUP down a river, you should definitely consider a bean bucket for the trip. Kayakers wear them, and their heads are much closer to the water than someone standing on a paddleboard. Falling onto hidden or exposed rocks from a standing position could cause a devastating impact. Protect your bean. Wear a helmet.
You should always be aware of the current weather conditions for your iSUP outing, but also pay attention to the forecast for the day. Weather conditions can change rapidly in some locations and getting caught in bad weather can be very dangerous. Wind, in particular, can be an unexpected threat to beginners. The wind can quickly unbalance a newbie, make it difficult to paddle, or even carry an iSUP quickly away from a dismounted paddler.
Paddle with a Partner The best way to enjoy your new iSUP is with a friend. It is also one of the best ways to stay safe on the water. Paddling buddies can double check gear before heading out, and watch out for each other while out on the water.
The sun is known to cause cancer in all states, not just California. Protect your skin. Just do it.
Know Your Limits
Overestimating your abilities might be one of the most dangerous mistakes you can make on the water. Whether it's paddling stamina, swimming abilities, or balancing skill, overestimating your abilities can create serious problems on the water. Likewise, pushing the weather forecast or daylight hours can lead to grave consequences. As with any outdoor adventure, tell someone your plans, know what to expect before you go, and be prepared.
Whether you are going out on a SUP for the first time, or the 100th time, you need to be knowledgeable about paddleboard safety. Local shop owners, tour guides, and SUP enthusiasts can also be great sources of information for safety on local aquatic destinations in your area. We hope these tips help you understand the importance of safety on the water so that you can enjoy your next SUP trip.