PADDLEBOARDS NOW CONSIDERED
Paddleboards have been
officially classified by the USCG as Vessels.
Paddleboarding can be done
on various pieces of equipment, including surfboards. Paddleboards are made of
fiberglass and epoxy and are generally quite large (often up to 12 feet to 19
feet long). Most modern paddleboards are made of polyurethane foam (with one
or more wooden strips or "stringers"), fiberglass cloth, and
polyester resin. An emerging paddleboard technology is an epoxy
surfboard, which are
stronger and lighter than traditional fiberglass. Cost of new boards range
from $1,500 to $3,000 for custom boards. Used boards that have been well kept
are in high demand and can be sold fairly easily on paddleboard listing web
Standup paddleboards, when
used away from swimming, surfing or bathing areas, are to be treated as
vessels. To see what paddleboards look like, go to:
Document Number: 398
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard
Date: Oct. 24, 2008
Contact: Lt. j.g. Nadine Santiago
Coast Guard Classifies Paddleboards As Vessels
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Coast
Guard in a decisional memo dated Oct.3, classified paddleboards as vessels in
accordance with Title 1 United States Code, Section 3.
This classification means that
when used beyond the narrow limits of a swimming, surfing, or bathing area, no
person may use a paddleboard unless in compliance with the Navigation Rules,
and applicable carriage requirements for this type of vessel.
This may include a Coast Guard
approved life jacket for each person on board, a sound producing device,
visual distress signals, and proper navigation lights. A police-type whistle
and a flashlight comply with these requirements.
The Coast Guard has also
exempted the hull identification number requirement from the manufacturing
"In order to address safety
issues and concerns the U.S. Coast Guard has researched the criteria, and has
determined that the device known as a paddleboard is a vessel under Title 1,
United States Code, Section 3," said Jeffrey Hoedt, chief of the Boating
Safety Division, Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety.
Director of the Oregon Marine
Board, Paul Donheffner, reported that paddle boarding has been gaining
popularity. Traditionally they were used to surf in the ocean, but are now
being used not only in the ocean beyond surfing areas but also in lakes and
It is important to note that
paddleboards in the surf-zone will not be affected by the decision and that
the Coast Guard does not define the limits of surf zones.
The U. S. Coast Guard asks all
boat owners and operators to help reduce fatalities, injuries, property
damage, and associated healthcare costs related to recreational boating
accidents by taking personal responsibility for their own safety and the
safety of their passengers.
Essential steps include always
wearing a life jacket; never boat under the influence; successfully complete a
boating safety course; and get a vessel safety check annually from your local
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or United States Power Squadrons.
The U. S. Coast Guard
reminds all boater's to "Boat Responsibly!" For more information on boating
responsibly, go to:
Standup Paddle Tips
- Safety-First be honest with yourself about your
swimming ability. Weak swimmers should wear a life
jacket because you might fall in. Never leave your board, if you lose the
paddle you can paddle it with your hands easier than swimming, also the wind
can blow it away faster than you can swim. Stay attached to it with the
ankle leash. Always paddle up-wind first, it is way more difficult than down
wind. Do not get caught a long distance down wind, you may not make it back.
- Your paddle is your friend–keep it in the water as
much as possible. You can push the blade forward or back to keep from
falling, and even lean on it or pull up on it momentarily to keep from
falling. Never let go of your paddle.
- Foot position–Stand in the middle of the board,
too far forward will sink the nose, too far back will drag the tail and be
slow. You generally want to retain the centered straight forward stance for
long distance paddling on flat water because its more stable and gives you
easier, even paddle transitions from side to side. But when the surface is
choppy or you’re in waves you’ll want to adopt a more fore and aft stance
with your dominant foot forward just as in normal surfing. Attach your
safety leash to the rearward foot.
- Paddling–reach forward with your paddle and put
the blade in almost vertically, close to the board. Stroke back, visualizing
pulling the board forward in the water. Don’t try to extend the stroke too
far past your legs, that angles the blade too much and pulls the board edge
downwards. Your blade is angled forwards for two reasons–to make the blade
more stable in the water (as you’ll see if you try to stroke with the blade
backwards) and to improve the release of the blade as you pull it up.
Stroking too far backwards defeats that smooth release.
- Happy feet–You need to learn that your feet are
not bolted to the board. As your balance improves you can move around the
board more. In flatwater you need to imitate this learning by forcing
yourself to move your feet around. Shift from centered to fore and aft
stance. Move your back foot more towards the tail then back centered again.
In chop your learning will be automatic–when you master sideways chop you’re
bound to be moving about on the board.
- Turning and Spinning–Initially you’ll be turning
the board slowly by stroking away from the board, but this is the slow way
around. Fine for flatwater, but too slow to surf. The faster way is to put
weight on the back of the board and stroke with the paddle to pivot the
board. Once you are in a fore and aft position you can start practicing this
by just putting weight on your back leg. This works even better if you take
a step backwards. You need to lean on the paddle a bit to optimize these
moves. Once you can spin the board 360 you’re ready to surf.
These tips written by
Pono Bill and edited by Randall Barna
- Vessel Examinations
Send email to DC-V
Division Chief - Vessel
email to DVC-VE
Branch Chief - Sports &
Utility Boats Program
email to BC-VES
Pages prepared by: Robert Daraio,
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