Paddleboards have been officially classified by the USCG as Vessels.

Paddleboarding is a surface water sport in which the participant is propelled by a swimming motion usually on a long surfboard close to the shore. A derivative of paddleboarding is stand up paddle surfing.
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 sites.

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
Office of Public Affairs
U.S. Coast Guard
News Release Date: Oct. 24, 2008
Contact: Lt. j.g. Nadine Santiago
(202) 372-4644
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 standards.
"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 rivers.
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

These tips written by Pono Bill and edited by Randall Barna
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Pages prepared by: Robert Daraio, DVC-VE 2006

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