How to stay safe paddleboarding
Paddleboarding is an increasingly popular recreational activity across New Zealand, but how do you stay safe whilst out on the water?
Below are some safety guidelines from New Zealand Standup Paddling Inc. NZSUP inc organises the national race championships and teams for international events, oversees SUP schools and instruction, and campaigns on behalf of all paddleboarders in New Zealand on matters of safety, legislation and all other aspects of negotiation and liaison with other governing bodies. To read more and stay up to date with changes in rules and recommendations please check their website http://www.nzsup.org/.
Safety Guidelines for Paddleboarding
- ALWAYS WEAR A LEASH - CHOOSE THE CORRECT TYPE FOR THE CONDITIONS
- WEAR A BUOYANCY AID
- KNOW THE CONDITIONS, NOW AND FORECAST
- TAKE TWO WATERPROOF WAYS TO CALL FOR HELP
- TELL SOMEONE ONSHORE YOUR PLANS
SUP Safely Code
- Always wear a leash.
- In strong currents (rivers, harbour mouths etc), only use a leash with a quick-release system that can be operated from above the waist, NEVER attached to your ankle or calf.
- In surf only use a straight ankle/calf leash. In weedy conditions use a coiled leash.
2. Buoyancy aids
- A Personal Flotation Device (PFD) will greatly increase your survival time in the water should you become separated from your board.
- Beltpack PFDs are an excellent low-profile option for experienced stand-up paddlers.
- Know the weather, wind strength and direction (now and forecast), tide height and flow, and water temperature.
- Is your ability, equipment and clothing right for the conditions?
- Carry two forms of communication.
- A phone in a waterproof case if you have signal, or a hand-held VHF (emergency channel 16) or a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), and a waterproof whistle.
5. Tell someone
- Even if you’re paddling with others (always safest!), make sure someone onshore knows that you’re on the water, where you’re going and how long you will be. Tell them when you get back too!
- The Coastguard App ‘Log A Trip’ function is a great resource for this.