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Practice Paddleboard Safety
July 03, 2014
In stand-up paddleboarding, riders propel themselves with a paddle while standing on a surfboard-like vessel. Nearly two million Americans age six and up went paddleboarding in the past year. As the activity becomes more popular in Alabama, the Alabama Marine Police Division (AMPD) is encouraging paddlers and boaters to heighten their awareness and take appropriate safety precautions while on the water.
“Safe boating practices apply to paddleboarding as well,” said AMPD Captain Matt Brooks. “As such, paddlers are required to adhere to the same boating etiquette and personal flotation device (PFD) requirements as traditional boaters.”
In Alabama, paddleboards are considered vessels which must have a U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD or life jacket that is accessible to the paddler at all times. If the paddler is less than eight years old, they are required to wear a PFD at all times while on the vessel.
More paddleboard safety tips:
• Always wear a life jacket
• Avoid congested waterways and lakes
• Be certain of your swimming abilities
• Be aware of local regulations and navigation rules
• Be aware of winds, tides, current and terrain
• Know how to self-rescue or tow another board
• Never paddleboard under the influence of drugs or alcohol
• Never paddleboard at night
• Take a safety course
For more information about paddleboard safety, visit the U.S. Coast Guard’s official blog, here. To take a free paddling safety course, visit www.boaterexam.com/paddling/.
The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources promotes wise stewardship, management and enjoyment of Alabama’s natural resources through five divisions: Marine Police, Marine Resources, State Lands, State Parks, and Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries. To learn more about ADCNR, visit www.outdooralabama.com.