Paddle Board Life Jacket Requirements

Life jacket specifications for paddle boarding

In recent years, stand up paddle boarding has evolved enormously. Tons of people, many for the first time, entered the sea. It is our duty to make sure you have fun on the water, but you must also be safe (and secure).

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has developed that “vessels” like kayaks are paddleboards used outside a swimming or surfing area.

When you are within a surf or swimming area, you are excluded from the following “carrying requirements.” Articles like PFD, whistle, VDS or light are not necessary.

You have to follow the following rules outside a surfing, swimming or bathing area.

Stand up paddle boarding U.S Guard Coast Guard Rules

Please notice that the USCG rules and specifications for using your paddle board outside of surfing and swimming areas are followed.

Life Jackets

  • Each paddler of 13 years or older must be certified for a USCG, Type I, Type II, Type III or the required Type V life jacket (PFD). While it doesn’t have to be worn, we certainly encourage you to wear your PFD on your SUP.
  • Any 12-year-old or younger child must wear his or her USCG lifejacket.
  • The lifejacket / PFD must be “servicable,” without tears, rips or any other degradation that reduces the lifejacket ‘s efficiency.
  • The lifejacket must be appropriately sized and fitted for the person who wears it
  • A Life Jacket of typeV can be used as long as it is USCG-approved and relevant for the operation for which you use the jacket (control our Life Jacket Guide for an overview of the various Life Jacket types). Form V life jackets can only be worn by 16 and older paddlers and must always be worn.
  • Belt-type inflatable life jackets (not attached to the vessel) shall be worn by one person to comply with USCG laws. Check the approval summary printed on the jacket for other life jackets.
  • Important: read the labels carefully on all life jackets for any special specifications that PFD may have.
  • Related: Find out the best paddle boarding life jackets.
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Other specifications for the gear

  • If warning is required or in an emergency, you must bring a whistle (or other sound generator) to alert other boaters
  • When you paddle after sunset, a Visual Distress signal (VDS) must be given to alert other boaters including flashlights, flare or other lighting devices.
  • A light for navigation after sunset if you are on the water. There is no need for a built in navigation light for SUPs, kayaks and other paddle boats, a flashlight would work for that water boats.

What do you want to know?

As a ship pilot, you must be aware of the navigation rules and obey them.
You have to inform the local reporting authority of any accident or damage on the boat: usually the USCG or other local authority over the body of water on which you boat.
Registration: You don’t have to register or show your paddle board in most countries.
The USCG has waived requirements for manufacturers to position specific HIN on SUPs Hull Identification Numbers (HIN)

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Up wrapping

You should be legal under U.S. Coast Guards if you have the above gear and experience, and comply with the above laws. Often scan for additional regulations at local and state agencies.

We know SUP is fun and a blow, but note that you are smaller than almost all other boats, so be careful. Using fun life jackets, bathing suits and lights and whistles to alert other boats. Often, alcohol was involved in several boating accidents. We recommend that you leave the group on the shore after paddling.

Have a BLAST on the lake, but remember always first protection.

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