Sports & Utility Boats (SUBs) 

Important SUBs News

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:


Coast Guard Launches Operation Paddle Smart


Posted: 01 May 2008 06:34 PM CDT

Boston - The First Coast Guard District is launching Operation Paddle Smart today to bring greater awareness to paddlesport safety in the Northeast.

The district suffered the loss of 58 recreational boaters and paddlers in 2007;15 canoe and eight kayak fatalities accounted for 40 percent of the total. Since 1998 when the First Coast Guard District began tracking area-specific recreational fatalities, canoe and kayak fatalities have averaged 30 percent of yearly totals - more than double the national average.

Operation Paddle Smart, though it is an ongoing program, officially runs from May 1 to June 30. The operation is a multi-partnered endeavor developed by the First Coast Guard District, Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadrons to generate greater safety awareness among paddlers and small boat operators. The primary goals are to promote the life-saving benefit of wearing a life jacket, to highlight the immediate danger of sudden cold water immersion, to encourage boater and paddler education, and to stress the importance of being a responsible and prudent mariner.

“We’ve designed Operation Paddle Smart to be a focal point for organizations and retailers to work together to promote paddlesport safety, and as an information source for all paddlers and small boaters,” said Cdr. Tom Miller, Deputy Chief of the First Coast Guard District Prevention Division.

Operation Paddle Smart members, over the next two months, will be distributing paddlesport safety packets throughout the Northeast. Data will also be collected to determine what efforts worked best and to solicit feedback from paddlers on how the operation can be improved or how it has benefited them.

“The waters of the Northeast are extremely inviting but they temperamental and can be mercilessly unforgiving to unsuspecting and ill-prepared boaters and paddlers,” said Al Johnson, First Coast Guard District recreational boating specialist. “Operation Paddle Smart is a multi-partnered effort to educate and remind new, casual, and experienced paddlers to assess the risks, envision the consequences, and use our waters safely and be properly prepared for what can go wrong. Remember, when you’re on the water, you’re in command, and your personal safety and that of your passengers or paddling partners is paramount and your responsibility.”

Paddlers on the waters of Massachusetts are required to wear a life jacket while underway through May 15, 2008; in Connecticut through May 30 and in Maine on the Saco River below the Hiram Dam through June 1.

Organizations, retailers and others interested in joining the Operation Paddle Smart partnership or paddlers seeking additional information may contact the Operation Paddle Smart hotline at 617-223-8619.



Olympic Silver Medalist Rebecca Giddens Joins with USCG, ACA to Promote Paddlesport Boating Safety
(From "You're In Command" 13 FEB 05)

Rebecca Giddens

See Rebecca's TV PSA   Listen to Rebecca's Radio PSA  

Rebecca GiddensWASHINGTON The U.S. Coast Guard and the American Canoe Association have announced a national public service campaign featuring Olympic silver medalist Rebecca Giddens. The unified effort will focus on saving the lives of paddlesport enthusiasts on the nation's waterways through the Coast Guard's most recent national outreach endeavor, the "You're in Command. Be Responsible. Boat Safely!" initiative.

Giddens' participation will include appearances in television, radio and print public service announcements, where she will stress the importance of always wearing a life jacket and never boating under the influence. Recent statistics show 86 percent of all boaters who drowned were not wearing a life jacket and one-third of fatal boating accidents involved alcohol. Rebecca Giddens

Giddens, who recently won the silver medal in whitewater kayaking in Athens, Greece, filmed the public service announcements days before winning the Whitewater Slalom National Championships in Dickerson, Md. "I was involved in a boating incident when I was twelve," said Giddens, when asked about her motivation for supporting boating safety. "If I hadn't been wearing my life jacket I truly believe I would not be alive today."

Rebecca GiddensRear Adm. J.W. Underwood, Coast Guard director for operations policy and the "You're in Command" initiative said, "We are proud to have a national champion like Rebecca Giddens supporting our concern for the safety of paddlesport enthusiasts. As paddling has grown in popularity, the need for educating enthusiasts and beginners about the importance of boating safety has grown as well."

Nearly 80 percent of all reported fatalities occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instruction. Statistics also show fatalities for paddlers have risen from last year and are ranked second for most fatalities among all recreational boaters.Rebecca Giddens

"The American Canoe Association is a strong believer in safe paddling. The best way to be a safe boater is to be a smart boater," says Pamela Dillon, ACA executive director "There are thousands of ACA certified instructors across the U.S. offering courses in communities, schools, and on local waterways. There's lots to learn and lots of fun to be had paddling and we encourage everyone to take a class, wear your life jacket, and be responsible on the water."

The U.S. Coast Guard and the American Canoe Association strongly believe that Rebecca Giddens’ support of this very important campaign will encourage people to realize that as a boat owner or operator, YOU are responsible for your safety and the safety of your passengers.  Remember, You’re in Command.  Boat Responsibly!

To view Public Service Announcements starring Rebecca Giddens and to download additional Boating Safety Material, please visit the You're in Command Resource Center.

The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary offers free Vessel Safety Checks for all vessels, including Sport Utility Boats (SUB), as well as a full range of Boating Safety Courses.

Always remember to:    Boat Smart From The Start, Wear Your Life-jacket.

For more information on boating responsibly, go to:
U.S. Coast Guard Infoline 1-800-368-5647


Vessel Examinations

Peter Urgola, Department Chief - Vessel Examinations
Send email to DC-V

Richard Myrick, Division Chief - Vessel Examinations
Send email to DVC-VE

Alexander Cascione, Branch Chief - Sports & Utility Boats Program
Send email to BC-VES

Pages prepared by: Robert Daraio, DVC-VE 2006

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