Coast Guard Issues SUP Reg's

(Same as for paddle boats)

The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has determined that SUP boards operated outside a surfing, swimming or bathing area are “vessels” under USCG regulations. The following refers to what that means for you when you’re outside those areas.

Life Jackets:

Each paddler 13 years of age or older must have a USCG-approved Type I, II, III, or appropriate Type V (see below) life jacket. It doesn’t have to be worn, although that’s certainly the wisest plan, and one which we strongly recommend.

A child 12-years old or younger must wear their USCG-approved life jacket.

The jacket must be in “serviceable condition,” without rips, tears or deterioration that will diminish its performance.

The jacket must be of an appropriate size and fit for the wearer.

A Type V jacket can be used as long as it’s USCG-approved and applicable for the activity.

Belt pouch-type inflatable PFDs, such as the ones we carry, must be worn on the person to meet the life jacket regulation. For other types of inflatable PFDs, check the approval description printed on the unit for restrictions.

Other Required Gear:

A whistle or other sound producing device must be carried to warn other boaters.

If you’re on the water after sunset, you need to have a flashlight, or similar lighting device, to warn other boaters.

What You Need to Do:

As the operator of a vessel, you need to follow the Navigation Rules.

You are also required to report any boating accident or injury to the local reporting authority, either the USCG or other agency that has been delegated that authority.

its just a fad
No worries.


Horse drawn carriage

This is going to be awesome to see…so many strapping attachment points on most SUP’s (not)

Kayak wins again.

Head down to the Florida beaches
there are more SUP’s then kayakers.

Jack L

They can be added and are added
You just haven’t taken a look at all the SUP’s

Many carry coolers and other gear, and now there are lots of them carrying their camping gear

jack L

USCG regs
this has been discussed for well on two years on the various SUP boards. The little traveled SUP board here is not a good indicator of that.

For the last two seasons I’ve put the pfd (Type III, a simple cheap one w. a low profile) in the bungees of my Boardworks Raven. It is now on my “vessel”. I can put it on if I wish, I never have wished.

If someone gives me grief I have a small laminated copy of the Coast Guard regs.

I am not gonna wear a pfd on what is essentially a surfboard, in the surf or not (usually I just take a relaxing tour on flat water, waves 1 foot or less) I suppose that is controversial to some but not to me given the history and origins of boards.

If a person needs or wants a pfd on their body to SUP they are welcome to wear one and I support their decision to do so.

I agree w. carrying a whistle and a small light source. It’s not hard to wear either.

It is easy to install bungees and attachment points on most hard shell SUPs. There are even kits out there.

SUP’ers also have the option to wear belt style inflatable pfds that do pass USCG muster.

Funny that they can make new rules…
… for paddle boards but they can’t update the rules that by default are already applied to paddlers. For example, the nighttime lighting rules which us paddlers must follow are stated to apply specifically to “a vessel under oars”, and refer to the required lighting device as a “lantern”. That rule was written long before the Coast Guard cared one bit about canoes on inland waters, long before there were kayaks in general use, and long before portable lights with batteries had become available. Even now, most states copy that rule word for word. You’d think they could update things a bit.

Shoot, s’pect won’t be long 'fore…
…ayza carry’n Huck, Jim, a Duke 'n Dauphin, hogshead ur’n two of tabaccy, mayb’ev’n a passel of ‘em reskeed riverboat waifs thrown o’erboard by sum bible-thumpin’ min’ster (or diving for their lives to avoid the smitten advances of FatElmo).

Whyyyy, one fine day ya might’n lik out on ‘em waves to espy a duz’n seens likes theez’n har:

Now, juz who’n beez mindin’ the paddle?

You know, it just might not be that far-fetched to one day see out on those shore breaks as the new “fun” craft in self-propulsion…sweepboats!

need driven
I suspect the USCG quickly came up w. their regs for paddleboards due to sudden burst in popularity (the codgerly deprecation by some on this board notwithstanding) and the inevitable questions that follow.

I suppose it’s the case that into a vacuum poor rules will infill. I do support the USCG in most respects. I don’t think this was well thought out. A board is not a vessel. If it is then ppl floating on rafts are on vessels, too. Where are their pfd regulations.

Boardies are laughing. No one makes them wear pfds.

Why aren’t tubers required to wear them - LMAO

What about belly boards?

next thing you know swimmers - plain old ppl in plain old swimsuits - will need to wear them. That’s when I check out of paying even minimal attention or obeisance. The nanny state will have won.

SUPs are only classified as vessels when not in surf, or swim area. They are only classified as vessels when propelled with paddles - were you to paddle one with your hands, the classification would go away.

Since belly surfers spend most of their time in the surf zone, they don’t count.

. .

– Last Updated: Jul-30-13 1:18 PM EST –

Sometimes i do use my hands to paddle. I park the paddle under me as I paddle in a prone position. Sometimes I use the paddle to propel me. So take the pfd on and off depending on my body positions? or where I am, in surf or not? Not gonna happen. I'll leave it off and leave it on my "vessel", which meets requirements.

Belly boarders are in rivers as well as in surf. They use hand paddles. So now do we anticipate USCG regs for them too. The USCG patrols for example the St. Clair and St. Lawrence Rivers, St. Mary's and Detroit Rivers.

This gets very silly, very fast.

Go after smugglers and environmental polluters (Big Oil) when you can harass an SUP ?

You should learn more before…
commenting. There are many SUPs with multiple attachments points.

Not to mention if load bearing is the measure of “winning” for a paddlecraft the canoe wins not the kayak.

You just have to have it. Reading before you complain, saves alot of complaining.

Ryan L.

I do have it.
On my “vessel”. And I’m fine w.that. the bungees are for that. I carry a Seals kayak deck bag in the front most days so the jacket goes over that.

The occ. local authority bugs me to wear it. No big deal. I handle that, too.So far no jail time :wink:

my personal situation aside, this set of regulations deserved more care and consultation w. the SUP community. Perhaps the USCG could have observed more SUP’ing instead of sitting in a room writing laws about it.

indignance contained
Seems pretty benign to me.

oh man
I don’t mind those PFD regs for kayakers, or having to pay for kayak registration in OH, but the requirement to put that 3x6 sticker on my boat makes ME MAAAAAAD!

Oh, yeah, the PFD/registration/gear requirements are the REAL problem, not the other, insignificant, issues such as poverty, starvation, or cancer!

I was just thinking of how many canoeists and kayakers I see on the water, with PFDs on deck or no PFDs whatsoever, and all the times I’ve seen park rangers or the CG confront them. Which would be zero times…

Local rangers
for a nearby Denver Water Res. have a check point on weekends to make sure that every boat (paddle only allowed) has appropriate numbers of PFD and name info written inside boat. Judging only by the looks of some of the paddlers, whose inexperience shows, its a good idea. This lake is about 350’ deep at the dam and I don’t imagine they are anxious to do a lot of recoveries. Actually the whole lake is pretty deep being that they dammed a very steep canyon. I bet it was beautiful before they filled it with water. There had to have been some good waterfalls given the elevation difference between inlet and tail water.

I’m in the always wear the PFD camp. Murphy’s law is very active around me.

depends on where you paddle
On the sections of the Potomac from Great Falls down to DC, I’ve seen multiple instances of Park Rangers stopping/citing people with various types of watercraft for failure to wear the required safety equipment, including SUPers.

I’ve also had the experience of the CG showing up in the middle of an ACA instructor cert event to check our equipment. You couldn’t have asked for a better practical demonstration of the point that, yes, even kayakers sometimes get called on this stuff.