Safety Tips for Stand-Up Paddleboarders

Stand-Up Paddleboarders pic

Stand-Up Paddleboarders
Image: rei.com

Edwin Hammond Meredith is a Florida Keys chef with a long-standing interest in stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). Taking advantage of the Keys’ abundant recreational offerings, Edwin Hammond Meredith has participated in long-distance water crossings with other SUP enthusiasts, and he completed one memorable 44-mile crossing from Key Largo to Flamingo, Florida.

With life jacket requirements in place in many states, the US Coast Guard considers paddleboards as vessels, and holds them to the rules that govern boats. Large sail and motor vessels have right of way over SUP boards, and one basic aspect of maintaining safety is staying clear of oncoming traffic. Visibility can be an issue; bright clothing is recommended, along with a whistle that allows you to issue a high-pitched alert if necessary.

Beyond these considerations, carry a light when paddling at night, and always wear a leg leash. While the latter may seem superfluous in calm waters, it helps ensure that you do not get separated from the board should you lose balance and fall into the water. It also helps to ensure ready access to the buoyant board in case of waves and strong winds.