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Old 01-20-2012, 01:59 AM
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Default Stamd Up Paddle Craft (SUP) Lifejacket Use

Stand Up Paddle Craft Lifejacket Use

Hawai'ian Beach Boys originally used paddle boards with paddles in the surf long before the internet praised the physical conditioning merits of stand up paddling. Laird Hamilton exposed the activity to this generation, and quickly a new 'old' sport re-emerged with watermen designing production models and paddles, presenting seminars, demonstrations and training classes. This activity is passionately embraced globally in a very short exposure time.

The SUP activity is known as 'stand up paddle - surfing'. With the tremendous popularity of the sport worldwide, it is being enjoyed on rivers, open water and lakes and is gaining a passionate following of enthusiasts, it is no longer 'surf specific'. With the inclusion of new sports and technology, comes safety and education concerns which arise primarily within the conceptual communities.

There are also government rules and regulations that apply to boating or water related activities. When a 'paddle' is inserted, the activity requires the use of a USCG approved type specific lifejacket in California waters, wether inland or coastal. Commonly referred to as a PFD (personal flotation device). The types required would be dependent upon climate, water conditions and include additional layers of regulations not limited to local, state or federal regulations.

As more waterways users are enjoying their activity and pursuits, competitions and clubs hosting programs and educational formats, along with other recreational activities, and congestion, access and safety become a greater concern for all involved. Education and safety programs will assist these communities during their growth and expansion.

Paddle Craft-Cal Boating

Canoes, kayaks, and small inflatable rafts are popular means of recreation for thousands of Californians. Paddle craft are usually lighter and more open than larger vessels, and therefore easier to capsize in rough waters. Paddlers should realize the vulnerability of their craft, assess their own boating experience, and determine the level of difficulty the waterway presents. Effective trip planning and paddling skills as described in this pamphlet will help promote safe and enjoyable recreation.

Your craft does not need to be registered unless it is motorized. (You can register your craft at any branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles. On motorized inflatable vessels or on vessels so configured that the registration number on the hull or superstructure would not be clearly visible or adhere, the number must be painted on or attached to backing plates.)

Required and Recommended Safety Devices

All canoes and kayaks as well as inflatable rafts must carry a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (life jacket) for each person aboard. Common sense demands that everyone wear a life jacket whenever afloat.

New or unfamiliar equipment should first be tested in calm water. The craft should be controlled by strong and adequate-size paddles or oars, and spares should be readily available in case one is lost or broken. Additional recommended equipment includes protective foot gear, such as tennis shoes, bailing device, river maps, flashlight, compass, first-aid kit, boat-repair materials, knife, and a 50- to 100-foot throw rope. A helmet should be worn in swift rapids.

California Department of Boating and Waterways link:


Online Reference Material:





Written by Shawn Alladio
Kanalu K38-K38 Water Safety

2017- RWCA All rights Reserved Information submitted not to be used for training.
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Old 01-20-2012, 02:00 AM
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US Coast Guard considers SUP/paddleboards vessels
SUPer Neal Gent may need a license and life vest : photo John Carter

SUP News
US Coast Guard considers SUPs & paddleboards vessels
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 3 October, 2008 : - - All applicalbe laws and regulations will apply to the use of a 'stand up paddleboard & paddleboard' that pertain to vessels under the U.S.C.G, such as wearing the appropriate USCG approved type of lifejacket persuant to the waterway being operated under, and not limited to other regulations. The Chief of Boating Safety for the U.S.C.G. has officially recognized a paddleboard as a vessel.

These laws will apply to enforcement of the boating safety regulations for paddleboard specific use. The USCG considers a "paddleboard" to be a vessel upon research and the criteria used and guidance provided in previous legal opinions regarding whether or not it is specified as a vessel under 1 U.S.C.&3.

Based upon the information available, the USCG determined when beyond the narrow limits of swimming, surfing or bathing area, the device known as a "paddleboard" is a vessel under 46 U.S.C.&2101, and therefore subject to applicable regulations administered by the US Coast Guard and its Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety, unless specifically exempted.


(1) Whether the watercraft is "practically capable" of carrying persons or property beyond the narrow limits of a swimming, surfing or bathing area:
A paddleboard is "practically capable' of and intended to be used as a watersport activity beyond the narrow limits of a swimming, surfing, or bathing area. It combines traits of surfing and canoeing. In Paddleboarding, a person stands on a large board which is stable enough to support a person while they paddle the device using a paddle in a manner similar to operating a canoe.

Paddleboard manufacturers depict this activity as multi-use, ranging from use as a 'paddling' activity on inland waterways to a form of 'surfing' in the ocean. For novice and the less thrill-seeking, using the craft to simply enjoy time on the water is becoming more popular.

(2) Whether the useful operating range of the device is limited by the physical endurance of its operator:

The operator of a paddleboard manually propels the craft through the use of a paddle. To a large extend the operating range is limited to the physical endurance of the operator, although because of its stability, the paddleboard could easily drift with the wind and water current. This potential physical endurance limitation is similar to that impacting sailboarding, canoeing, kayaking and other boating activities requiring high levels of physical capability.

(3) Whether the device presents a substantial hazard to navigation or safety not already present:

Paddleboard maneuvered across a waterway to locations where other larger and faster craft travel present a substantial hazard to navigation or safety not already present. Paddleboards are not as powerful or maneuverable as larger craft and they are not as visible. The paddleboard user faces a similar hazard as other users of sailboards and canoeists/kayakers.

There are paddleboarding competitions in coastal areas and organized paddleboard excursions on inland waterways. Paddleboard 'trails' have also been established, including one on the Deschutes River in Oregon that is 60 miles long.

(4) Whether the normal objectives sought to be accomplished by the regulation of a device as a 'vessel' are present:

As a potential hazard to navigation or safety, regulation of paddleboards as vessels would meet the normal objectives sought to be accomplished by the National Recreational Boating Safety Program.

(5) Whether the operator and/or cargo would no longer be safe in the water if the device became disabled.

Paddleboards would provide a minimal level of safety to operators if they became disabled. Thus, the operator may no longer be safe in the water if the operator of the device became fatigued or disabled, or if the device itself became disabled.

Conclusion. 1 U.S.C.&3 states that "The word 'vessel' includes every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water." Given the answers to the questions above and the definition of the word "Vessel" in the US Code, when utilized beyond the narrow limits of a swimming, surfing, or bathing area, a paddleboard is a vessel subject to regulations administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.
2017- RWCA All rights Reserved Information submitted not to be used for training.
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k38 rescue, lifejacket use, stand up paddlecraft, sup safety

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