Stand Up Paddle Board Safety

Jun 04, 2018

Before entering the water:

  • Use a trusted weather forecasting system like and talk to someone about local conditions.
  • Ideal wind speeds for inflatable SUP boards should be <10 knots (or <18 kph) and blowing in an offshore direction for flat water paddling.
  • Check the tide and moon. Low tide may not be a practical time to go paddle boarding and know that strong currents occur at different times of the month, i.e. during a full moon and new moon.
  • Check that your board is inflated to the manufacturers recommendations and that you wear a life jacket suitable for your body size and weight. Consider wearing a leash.
  • Wear adequate clothing and skin protection. During the cooler months, this may mean wearing a wetsuit.
  • Carry enough food and drinking water for the duration of your trip. Consider taking a cellphone with you for an emergency.
  • Always tell someone where you're going and when you're due to return.

Out on the water:

  • If launching at a patrolled beach, you are required to by law to use the boat lane (between the yellow buoys). This is a privileged lane for boats and leisure craft only.
  • Keep a safe distance from obstacles and other people in the water. This includes submerged rocks, cliffs, swimmers, snorkelers, scuba-divers, kayakers and other paddle boarders.
  • COLREGs rules of giving way at sea state that power boats and sail boats must give way to paddle boards, but only after having evaluated who is the more manoeuvrable vessel in any given encounter. This means that if the other boat can't move, and you can, then you must give way to avoid a possible collision.
  • Finally, keep an eye on the time and be weary of changes in tide and weather conditions. It might mean turning back early.
Published In Surfing & Watersports