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Requirements for Stand-Up Paddleboards

The use of stand-up paddleboards on lakes, rivers, Puget Sound, and coastal waters beyond the ocean-surf zone is growing in popularity. The USCG classifies stand-up paddleboards as vessels.

When using a stand-up paddleboard beyond the narrow limits of a swimming, surfing, or bathing area, certain requirements apply.

Stand-up Paddleboard users must comply with recreational boating laws and rules.

Stand-up Paddleboards must have:

  • A wearable PFD (life jacket) for each person on board
  • A sound-producing device such as a whistle
  • Navigation lights when used between sunset and sunrise—this may be a flashlight or headlamp with a white light
  • VDSs when used on coastal waters

An important piece of safety equipment is the leash; it connects you to your board. Even in a light breeze, your board, if not attached to your body by a leash, will travel out of grasp in seconds.

Be sure to research what leash would be the most appropriate for the type of waterways that you’ll be in. For example, river paddlers must always wear a breakaway leash.