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PDF Laws for Paddle Boards (SUP)

PDF Laws Paddle Boards (SUP)

SUP Paddle & PFD

PDF laws for paddle boards now require all users to have and for some wear a personal flotation device at all times.  The United States Coast Guard now officially classifies stand up paddle boards (SUP) as vessels.  This means, SUP users must comply with navigation rules , carriage requirements for PFDs, sou

nd producing device, navigation lights and accident reporting.  And in Colorado state boating laws require all paddle sports users under the age of thirteen must wear an approved PFD at all times.  This guide will explain choosing the correct one, how to fit this the right way and the different styles.

PDF for Paddle Boards – Choosing the Right One

A life jacket or personal flotation device must keep your head above the water.  When a PDF is fit too big,  it will be able to ride high up around your face.  If it has been fit too small, the PFD will not keep you afloat.  Most importantly, adult sized flotation devices will not work for children.

Try it on for size.

  1. Check the manufactures label to ensure that the paddle board PFD is a proper fit for your size and weight.
  2. Make sure your PFD is correctly fastened.
  3. Hold your arms straight up over your head.
  4. Ask a friend to grasp the tops of the arms and gently pull upward.
  5. Make sue there is not excess room above the openings and the PFD does not ride up over your chin and face.

For best results try the paddle board PFD is shallow water under safe and supervised conditions.

PFD Styles

Auto Inflatable

  • Inflates automatically upon immersion or manual activation
  • Comfortable and cool to wear
  • May turn unconscious wearer face up
  • requires regular maintenance
  • Not for children under 16 or non swimmers
  • This style is not for sports where immersion is excepted (whitewater paddling, water skiing, etc.)

Manual Inflatable

  • Only inflates upon manual activation
  • Comfortable and cool to wear
  • May turn unconscious wearer face up
  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Not for children under 16 or non swimmers
  • Not for sports where immersion is excepted (whitewater paddling, water skiing, etc.)

Belt Pack Inflatable

  • Inflates automatically upon immersion or manual activation
  • Extremely easy to wear
  • Requires regular maintenance
  • Not for children under 16 or non swimmers
  • Not for sports where immersion is excepted (whitewater paddling, water skiing, etc.)

Vest Type

  • May turn unconscious wearer face up
  • Requires little maintenance
  • Good for non-swimmers
  • Good flotation
  • Less bulky that offshore vests

Touring & Whitewater Paddling Jacket

  • Intended for canoeing, kayaking, rafting and whitewater activities
  • Special fit allows freedom of movement
  • May not turn a unconscious wearer face up
  • Requires little maintenance

Offshore Vest

  • Intended for boating offshore, open water, and coastal cruising
  • Offers the most flotation
  • May help prevent hypothermia
  • Bulky
  • Designed to turn an unconscious person face up

The Float-Shack will personally fit each member of your party with a USCG approved PFD.

Learn How to Properly Choose the Right Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP)
Learn How to Choose the Correct SUP Paddle

Additional Resources:

  • U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary – 202-372-1261  – www.cgaux.org
  • United States Power Squadrons® –  888-FOR-USPS – (888-367-8777)  –  www.usps.org
  • National Association of  State Boating Law Administrators – 859-225-9487  –  www.nasbla.org
  • The National Safe Boating Council – 703-361-4294  –   www.safeboatingcouncil.org

A woman carries inflatable board, paddle and PFD to Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton National Park.

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