Paddle Board Safety First (A Checklist)

PADDLE BOARD SAFETY – If you are looking for things to do in your time off, paddleboarding is a great past time. When done safely, it is a great way to get out on the water with minimum impact on the natural environment, stay in shape and make friends with like-minded individuals.  With the PADL app, you can rent a paddle board, paddle and personal flotation device (PFD) from one of our self-service stations and get started right away with paddleboarding without the need to buy your own equipment!  The key to enjoying paddleboarding or any other water sport is to put “safety first” and make sure that you are property prepared.  

Before you head out on the water, check to make sure you are prepared with the following steps:

1. Check the Conditions 

Know the conditions in the area you plan to paddle board before you head out.  You will have to check different variables depending on whether you are paddle boarding off the coast, in the Intercoastal, on a lake or on a river.  Knowing the windspeed before you set out paddleboarding is very important.  Typically, beginners should stick to paddle boarding when windspeed is 10mph or less, and everyone should stay on land when windspeed picks up over 15mph.  When paddleboarding off the coast, such as from our paddle board rental station in Key Biscayne or Vero Beach, paddle boarders should be aware of the height of the waves or “swell” they are likely to encounter when they are on the water.  The higher the swell, the higher the paddleboarding difficultly level.  Other conditions such as boat traffic, local water quality and strength and direction of the current are also very important.  Great websites for checking conditions in your area are the NOAA weather website for weather and your local county’s water quality website for “no swim” advisories.  

2. Dress for Immersion 

When you have checked local conditions and are ready to head to your local PADL station to rent a paddle board, dress in clothing that you can easily swim in.  Paddleboarding is a water sport and you are not only likely to get wet, but you can easily fall in the water.  For most people, this means a bathing suit or swimming shorts. 

3. Protect Yourself from Sunburn 

Remember that, in many cases, you are likely to be exposed to a lot of direct sunlight.  This is great if you are looking to get a tan.  However, it is essential that you protect yourself from sunburn which can be uncomfortable and cause skin cancer overtime if there is repeated exposure.  To beat the UV rays, experts recommend sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, lip balm, a cap and a long sleeve sun shirt.  

Check out our shop for a PADL Founder’s Hat ball cap or PADL Signature Long Sleeve Sun Shirt 

4. Gear Up 

Whether you are bringing your own paddle board or using PADL’s self-service paddle board rental stations, you will want to be prepared for your adventure on the water.  If you rent a paddle board with PADL you will receive a paddle board, paddle, life vest (US Coast Guard Approved Type II PFD), leash and a sea-rated whistle. All of these items should go onto the water with you when you paddleboard. In addition to these items, it is recommended that you also bring a fully charged smartphone in a buoyant waterproof bag or cases, a waterproof watch, proper footwear: aqua socks or crocs, drinking water and, if you are staying out for a while, some snacks.  All PADL rental paddle boards are equipped with a strap to hold down items such as a water bottle.  Be sure to bring whatever you anticipate needing on the water, but avoid overloading your paddle board! 

5. Spread the Word 

Let people know where and when you are going paddleboarding.  This is a great way to see if your family, friends and others would like to join you.  It is also a safe way to ensure that people know where you are in case of an emergency.  Let people know when you are expected back on land.  When you make it back safe and sound, shoot a text to them to say you are safely back on land. 

6. Wear your Leash 

PADL provides a leash with every paddle board rental.  Wear it securely around your ankle when on the water at all times. 

7. Know the Navigation Rules 

When you are on a paddle board you are on a non-motorized vessel very much like a kayak or sailboat.  That makes you the master of a vessel!  As such you are expected to know the rules of navigation which are available to browse here.  In addition to following the navigation rules it is wise to avoid paddleboarding in the middle of channels where higher speed motorized traffic is likely to pass.  Remember that some of these high-speed vessels may not be able to see you if they are going too quickly. 

Now you are ready to hit the water!  The best part about paddle board rental with PADL is that you do not need to worry about storing your board at your house, strapping it to your car or truck and washing it down afterwards.  Just download the app, rent, ride and return.  We even provide a membership option for you to paddle for less than a dollar a day!  If you are a paddle boarder or aspiring paddle boarder, download the app today and check out the PADL stations near you.  Looking to head out paddleboarding in a group?  Check out our paddle board Meet-up in your area for events, lessons and tours. 

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