State paddlesport laws?

We nicely beat up the question of whether the proposed Massachusetts law is a good idea or not. But I still wanna know if any states currently have any such regulations of paddlesports or paddlesports instruction – by law or administrative rule.

If you know either way, please respond for your state. (Does silence mean “no”?) Here’s an answer for my state.

Massachusetts – no regulation of paddling instruction (yet!), but all canoeists and kayakers are required by law to wear a Coast Guard approved PFD from September 15 to May 15.


Profit Centers
It is sad that people that sell paddleboats and equipment are trying to get a new profit center by pushing for mandatory instruction. It is a sad country where a person can’t get into a little plastic boat and paddle around without being harrassed by government and innumerable people with their hands out wanting money. I understand boundless greed but a person should have some freedom. If government would take care of things like law enforcement and health care I would be happy. Fixing potholes in the roads would be great. But a bunch of regulations telling the average Joe that he is too stupid to paddle a 50# plastic boat around his pond without proper instruction is too much. Paddling is not rocket science. If someone is stupid enough to try to paddle across lake superior in march I doubt that instruction will help. Basic survival instinct and a little intelligence will keep most people out of trouble most of the time. No one ever had to tell me that heading out on cold water on a cold day is risky. This falls into the realm of common sense.

I wasn’t aware that was taking place
"people that sell paddleboats and equipment are trying to get a new profit center by pushing for mandatory instruction."

I don’t know every paddle sport instructor, but the ones that I do know are not pushing for mandatory instruction.

It seems silly that people even consider this as happening. If a law like that ever exists it will then be super easy for other sports to be regulated the same way. I doubt, highly, that there will be wide spread ‘mandatory instruction’ laws. But who knows…?

Before you see states requiring anything
along the lines of “mandatory training” for paddlers, you’d probably see it for powerboaters - and that hasn’t happened yet in any kind of across-the-board fashion. Joe Schmucatelli (or his 16-year-old kid) can still jump in a ski boat and tear around the local lake without a shred of boating safety knowledge. They do it here in WA so often that the lakes look like mall parking lots at Chrismastime.

Not a dig on powerboaters, per se, but just a comparison. I think you’d see regulation for powerboats, PWC’s, heck - even bicycles. Why would someone pull paddling out of thin air and make “it” the target of regulation before everything else?

A little advice in the process
of selling a boat goes a long way,but mandatory?

I was paddlig my canoe yesterday and got hit by a powerboater. He was a neighbor. He was going slow and there were no major consequences save for me geting hit in a canoe by a powerboat.

We have laws…lets enforce them One of our laws is to watch where you are going.

Indiana Paddling Laws
There are no laws in Indiana regarding licensing of instructors. Indiana regulations mirror federal regulations regarding PFD use. There is no requirement to wear a PFD only to have one for each person in the watercraft. There is a provision in Indiana Regulation exempting the requirement of a throwable life saving device on watercraft over 16’ in length if it is human powered. This means I don’t have to carry a life ring on my 18’ sea kayak.

To briefly answer your question, outside of the so-called local ordinance in Breman regarding flags on kayaks(which is not enforced and may not be legal) Maine only requires boaters, kayakers and canoes included, to carry a PFD for every person in the boat–they are not required to wear one.

As far as instruction goes, pure “instructors” are not regulated. Guides are a different matter–we have to take two exams, a written and an oral, to get a guides license. And since most if not all “instructors” are also guides, most are licensed by the state. And although not required, all the guides I know have taken a Guiding Course, usually at least 5 days if not more, involving navigation, rescue techniques, paddle strokes etc, both in a swimming pool and on open ocean water.

One final caveat, the Maine legislature has twice tried to pass a law requiring all kayaks and canoes to be registered. The current law only requires registration of small craft if they are motorized. The rationale is to cover the S&R expenses for the Marine Patrol and Warden Service in saving our lives. The real reason is a money grab by a state that is hard up for cash. Both tries were unsuccessful.

Requires a PFD on board for every occupant. If that PFD is of the inflatable variety, it must be worn at all times. Currently, no instruction is required - but there is a push from the Governor to pass a law requiring registration of paddlecraft (it’s a money thing).

nativeVTer - “Why would someone pull paddling out of thin air and make “it” the target of regulation before everything else?”

In some cases, it could be a matter of taking the path of least resistance by those who love to regulate. For instance…many years ago, Oregon had two referendums on the same ballot. One was a helmet law for motorcycles and the other was a seatbelt law for cars. Motorcycles being the minority, the helmet law passed and the seatbelt law didn’t. The legislature then passed the seatbelt law the next year with relative ease, using the helmet law as leverage.

you would be suprised
at how stupid people get when it comes to dumb stunts while paddling or peddling a bicyle or walking across a street in heavy traffic or even going to the zoo(remember the young man in San Francisco who was mauled by a tiger who jumped out of its pit after the idiot in question kept teasing it?)–that said I don’t think instruction should be mandatory–our wardens and police have lots of more important things to do than chase after idiots whose actions are only putting themselves in danger, no body else.

Maine has the same issue—helmets and seatbelts–but a different result—seatbelts are mandatory for everybody—helmets are not mandatory(accept for those who have only been riding a year or less)–the difference is that every time a mandatory helmet law is discussed, every biker in the state of Maine rides to the state capital in Augusta wearing his colors and leather gear on a large Harley(or some other fire breathing two wheeler) the result is the legislature is intimidated by them. Motorists on the other hand dont’raise a peep.

In South Carolina,
every boat needs a PFD, whistle and paddle. I don’t think kayaks need an anchor but other motor boats do.

With the information age and plenty of qualified instructors there is no need for more government fees and taxes.

Usually the government will find a small group of people like hotels to levy a local fee or tax.

PA, instruction-no; PFD-yes, with not on
If you are ever wondering about the VALUE of qualified instruction, watch this short vid.

" but all canoeists and kayakers are required by law to wear a Coast Guard approved PFD from September 15 to May 15."

I guess from May 16 - Sept 14, the waters are drown-proof?

Related to coaching
NYS, for a paddleboat coach you have to hold the card indicating you passed the Red Cross two day responding to emergencies course(w/CPR) or its equivalent, a basic boating safety course (one that covers rescues) and children’s CPR as well if working at a camp.

Nothing about paddle skills per se though, at least as of when I checked over this last winter.

Wyoming has no
regulations outside of a proper PFD in possession, not required to be worn.

Cold water

– Last Updated: Jul-14-08 5:55 PM EST –

"guess from May 16 - Sept 14, the waters are drown-proof?"

No, it's just that going for a swim in colder waters is more risky.

It's an interesting compromise. It has no impact on the majority of people (who only paddle in warmer water.

I knew that…
…just being facetious.

On the internet…
On the internet, no one can tell you are a dog (or being facetious).

(It is still an interesting compromise.)

In South Carolina,
PFD, whistle and paddle is only for the ocean areas. Maybe just PFD in lakes and stuff.

We never had “life jackets” when we went tubing or canoing when we were kids.

In Cold Water a PFD Helps
The PFD keeps the body floating so that it is easy to find. Seriously in very cold water you become helpless in a few minutes and dead in a short time. I think that MA requires a wetsuit. Personally during the winter here in the south I either wear a wetsuit of stay close to shore. In water less than 55 degrees it is stupid to be where you can’t get out of the water in a couple of minutes. This is assuming a warm sunny day. With cold air and overcast a wetsuit is needed.