Coast Guard Issues SUP Reg's

Seriously Marius…
what do boat regs have to do with poverty or cancer or starvation? I’m focusing on SUP this summer and was dismayed when I went to the 49th street headquarters of the Watercraft division and had to buy that sticker for the board. The crazy thing is, the woman told me that most likely in September, the Ohio law will change so that SUP’s won’t require a sticker…So I purchased a 3 yr. sticker that most likely won’t be needed after 4 months…Oh well…

Just a reminder that not everything in life is worth losing sleep over.

I think he was being ironic


interesting article in stoked magazine
Interesting article in Stoked Magazine by Rob Casey, and instructor up in Washington.

Freedom vs. good sense?
This debate about safety equipment vs. freedom is really tiresome! Every sport seems to have it, but the evidence keeps piling up that safety equipment saves lives.

Try bike and motorcycle helmets, once denigrated, but now standard fare by law and good sense. Sure, you can find states that don’t require it, but what’s the real point? Is your hair floating in the wind more important than not scrambling your brains in the inevitable crash (and if you think that’s overstating it, you don’t have all that many years experience, IMHO).

PFDs save lives, period. So putting it where it won’t help is plain stupid! So is refusing to wear one. Get one that’s both comfortable as possible, but also will do the job in your waters, and cut the BS.

Most Americans dislike being told to do anything (or not to do it). It’s in our national culture. That doesn’t mean it’s sensible or safe to ignore the regs all the time.

very good point…well taken

The board is your PFD

Only if you stay attached to it
Paddle boating fatalities are rarely about people losing their lives while sitting (or in the case of SUPs standing) in their boat.

It is usually when the person becomes separated from their craft that the problems start. If people can fall out of a rec boat 20 feet from shore on a calm day, a hardly rare event on lakes around here in the summer, someone will manage to fall off a SUP.

How much a PFD helps at the point someone is in the water comes down to conditions and their ability to swim. I haven’t checked locally but overall the Coast Guard and local rescue teams have already had too busy a summer.

which is why you wear an ankle leash
except if doing swift rivers you wear a breakaway waist leash (NRS developed one last year and I believe Boardworks did as well)

Impetus was a tragedy on the Chetco River in Oregon river where a 39 y.o. mother and her daughter were SUPing a deceptively fast stretch of an otherwise broad river w. group.

Ankle leash for mother got deeply caught on a large tree partially submerged.Mother could not reach her ankle to release it, (current was the main factor) and the young girl watched her mother drown along w. onlookers on river bank.

Per article, mother was not wearing a pfd, or a knife, or a quick release leash.

Link to story along w. videos of quick release belts.

Not reliable…
I have seen lots of SUPs this season. I have seen no evidence of leashes of any kind except for the folks who also do something like wind surfing on ocean bays - ie people who already have some experience and the gear.

The WW story is tragic. Ironically though, aside from the leash not being break-away the mother and daughter were far better prepared than most of what I have seen among SUP paddlers.

Don’t change the rule…C
Change the definition. The meaning of lantern can be interpreted as “a light source, or the enclosure for a light source.” Thus, any light that stays lit (not blinks) and is NOT directional, is a lantern. Such lights are a pain for a paddle boat since they destroy your night vision, which you dearly need, so the USCG relaxes the rules for paddlers with this clause:

“A vessel under oars may exhibit the lights prescribed in this rule for sailing vessels, but if she does not, she shall have ready at hand an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light which shall be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.”

So, for paddling, a flashlight will do. I use one of my dive lights when I paddle after dark and try to avoid the shipping channels :).


Never seen one with a leash, ever
SUPs are getting pretty popular here, but to look at them, you’d never guess that an ankle leash was an option. Everyone knows they use them on surfboards, but paddle boards? It sure doesn’t look that way.

It’s not that I care about any of this as far as the regulations go, but “that’s what leashes are for” clearly isn’t an across-the-board rebuttal to a PFD rule.

are an option.

I was describing the options as it appears some on this board are not familiar w.them.

I’m OK w. letting ppl wear them or not

according to conditions and abilities.

I don’t wear mine most of the time.

wasn’t meant to be

– Last Updated: Aug-03-13 2:03 PM EST –

an "an across the board rebuttal to pfds"

it's an option.

wearing an ankle leash is a an option and NOT required by regs. It does come out of the surf tradition.

wearing a waist leash is not an option and NOT required by regs. The waist leash does NOT come out of the surf tradition and came about because SUPs started being used on rivers.

Wearing a pfd while on a paddleboard is an option, NOT required by regs. Having one *on the board* is required whenever outside the surf zone in USCG patrolled waters.

A person can wear all three if they wish. Or any two of them, or none. I support their choice to do so. If they are in USCG waters it would seem wise to carry one on their board.

The nannies can have at it for the rest of it.


p.s. just from casual observation and actually doing the sport, more than half the ppl out this way are on paddleboards with ankle leashes. Very few wear waist leashes. About 50/50 as to wearing pfds. Experiences will differ by region.


– Last Updated: Aug-04-13 11:11 AM EST –

I really just put this up to be informative, figuring I was not the only one who may have missed that the CG issued reg's about this. I suppose I should have figured it'd include responses about personal freedom and state interference.

Some of it is interesting play - for example the comments about the lighting reg's needing an update based on better stuff being available is something about which I hadn't thought. And I had not realized before that SUP's were often capable of carrying gear, because I have never seen one in use myself that was so equipped. Were I to know someone who wanted to get more serious about SUP's, I now have a little more info I could share.

I personally agree with any and all complaints about having to pay money to register a non-powered craft, or at least I did until some of the invasive species issues got so bad. Seeing the increased cost that is unavoidable in some areas now to add in things like washing and inspection stations... if I have to choose between paying a few bucks to support that or having our water bodies impaired I'd rather pay the fee. The problem is that we don't necessarily get to choose that way.

But I often wonder how many people who complain about PFD's convert any of their time or effort to reducing the likelihood that a given paddler will be less likely to need to thing. That is, get people into the water, even if informally, and run them through on-water rescues. Or spend time with newbies on how to handle waves, or find swimming lessons for the ones that are now showing up in a shiny new kayak saying they can't swim (have encountered a couple of them in the last few years) etc. I wonder how many people who can get really irate about this kind of thing comment of rule-making procedures, often published somewhere that is easy to find if you want to track a particular area.

There is the broader view, voiced by Marius with which I completely agree, that compared to things which cause harm to people things like PFD rules are not a big deal. But after that is the question of what someone does in the face of something they don't like.

I complain about plenty of stuff that I don't then act on. There is only so much time in the day. But we have found that paddling is a place where you can often take personal action. One friend who is certed charges minimal fees to work with a local paddling meetup group on rescues. For a couple of summers several years ago we helped another friend who was running free Thursday night sessions. When that ended, my husband and a couple of folks started smaller but open-ended evening sessions on a different local pond until this season. The only coordination required for the smaller sessions has been a weekly email to people who said they were interested, and one person I did have to meet to drive he and his boat there.

We were not exactly full up on people with certs, but the folks who came to get help were operating at such a basic level that anyone who had decent training at all could help them. Over a few years we got a ton of people safer on the water than they had been before.

If someone capsizes on a warm day and can swim to shore without getting run over by a power boat (a real problem on places like Lake George in the summer), not wearing a PFD, obviously the PFD is optional. And if you look at current rules, it is not a year round requirement in kayaks and canoes.

But if I recall the stats correctly, the majority of folks who die after falling out of a paddle boat are not wearing PFD's. More often than not they either tried swimming to shore because they didn't know how to do an on-water self-rescue, or that they were not a particularly strong swimmer. Excluding moving water - that is a whole different story.

So yes - this comes down mostly to personal preparation. But there are simple things that an individual do to leave people more personally prepared.

Some work
and some don’t. helmet regulations work better for motorcycle helmets than they do for bicycles. Despite modifications, most helmet standards for bicyclists are easily surpassed in the most common type of accidents (cars, incidents where the head collision exceeds 15 mph). Since most helmets fail catastrophically in accidents that exceed their design, there is virtually no damage mitigation.

Sadly, there are those who make a profit by getting some (not all) safety laws passed. Thus one cannot assume that approved laws do anything more than make certain manufacturers happy. Fortunately, the coast guard has control of the waterways and their mandates and regulations are generally better thought out and much better written than anything created by lobbyists and pushed through congress.