143035_DBW Course_r3

Chapter 3 X Vessel Operation

Navigation Rules Like power and sailing vessels, paddlecraft must observe the “rules of the road,” with regard to observing water traffic, obeying buoys and signs. It is important that paddlers keep a sharp lookout, cross channels with care and always wear a life jacket. If you are paddling a canoe, kayak or stand up paddleboard, be visible, courteous and try not to get in the way of faster, larger vessels such as power and sailboats. STAND UP PADDLEBOARDING Stand up paddleboarding, or SUP as it is more commonly known, came to California from Polynesian roots and Hawaii’s surf culture. The sport has exploded in popularity beyond surfers who adopted stand up paddleboarding in order to catch waves. The longer, wider paddleboards are now used by growing numbers of boating enthusiasts on California lakes, rivers and miles of coastal waters. Paddleboarding diversity includes racing, fishing, touring, and as a plat form for on-the-water cardio workouts and yoga exercises. With so much interest and so many new paddlers merging on the water with other, larger boats, it is important to know how to be safe while enjoying California’s waterways. Because of this extensive growth of SUPs on many waterways, the United States Coast Guard responded to safety concerns and classified the paddleboards as vessels in 2008. The new classification uniformly addressed personal and navigational safety on the water. In California, this new classification means that stand up paddleboarders are required to follow the Navigation Rules. Paddleboard Safety Before going on the water, check that the paddleboard is free of cracks and leaks and that the fin and fin screw are secure. Also make sure the leash and leash string are in good condition and tethered to the paddleboard. The deck should have a non-skid pad or wax to keep the operator from slipping. If the paddleboard has a vent plug, it must be secured in place prior to launch. Personal Safety Like other vessels, the stand up paddleboard must carry a Coast Guard approved life jacket in serviceable condition and of a type and size appropriate for the conditions and the activity being engaged in. The life jacket must be worn or readily available on the paddleboard. All paddleboarders and passen gers under 13 years of age are required to wear a life jacket. The inherently low profile of the paddleboards, especially when the operator is lying down or kneeling, can be a visibility problem for other boaters. The operator must keep a sharp lookout for other vessels at all times. Operators must always have a whistle or loud sound signal device, and a white light, such as a head-mounted flashlight between sunset and sunrise. Other items for personal safety include appropriate clothing: wicking, non-cotton fabric, or a wet suit/dry suit, and foot protection.


Stand up paddleboarders are required to follow the Navigation Rules and: f Carry or wear a Coast Guard-

approved life jacket (life jackets must be worn by paddleboarders under the age of 13).

f Carry an efficient sound signaling device such as a loud whistle.

f Use a white navigation light such as a strong flashlight

when paddleboarding between sunset and sunrise and during times of restricted visibility.

WEBSITE For AquaSmart paddle safety videos on whitewater, flatwater, ocean and SUP, scan the QR code below.”

Visit dbw.ca.gov/Paddling


California Course for Safe Boating

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