Paddleboarding Safety Tips
Before you go paddleboarding make sure you:
- Check the weather and tides.
- Wear a buoyancy aid or personal flotation device (PFD).
- Wear a leash.
- Always carry a mobile phone with you.
- Wear appropriate clothing for the conditions.
- Tell someone else where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
- Where possible paddleboard in a group.
- Paddleboard within your limits.
- Get some training.
- Check your equipment is sea worthy.
- Never go paddleboarding in an offshore wind.
- Stay a close distance from the shore.
- Allow your kids to have supervised fun on your paddleboard.
In an emergency
- Stay with your paddleboard, it will provide you with floatation and makes you highly visible for the rescue services.
- If you lose your paddleboard, float on your back to save energy.
- Call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard. You can also send a text.
Weather and Paddleboarding Safety
Flat water and light winds are the best conditions for paddleboarding. Weather conditions can change very rapidly and will have an impact on your ability to paddle and stay safe.
Make sure you check the weather forecast before you go paddling.
Wind can be a paddleboarders friend if you are paddling with the wind. It will blow you along and you will cover a lot more ground with the wind behind you.
However wind quickly becomes your enemy when you have to paddle against the wind. Even with the mildest of sea breezes, it can be impossible to make any ground at all.
If you find yourself battling against the wind, kneel down on the paddleboard and paddle. This will reduce the amount of drag your body creates in the wind.
Never go paddling on the sea in offshore winds. From the beach an offshore winds can look deceivingly light & friendly. However just yards from the beach, the wind can be incredibly strong and will blow you rapidly out to sea.
Water & sea state
Wind makes the water much rougher. Past and present wind conditions effect the sea state.
If there has been strong winds overnight, the sea state can remain choppy and confused, making it very difficult to keep balance on your paddleboard.
Watch the weather forecasts for a few days before you go paddleboarding.
Tides, Rivers and Estuaries
When paddleboarding on the sea or rivers always check the tide times and get local knowledge of how the tide effects the area.
Tides go in and out twice a day. The height difference between high and low tide can vary considerably, depending on location and the phase of the moon.
When there is a large difference in tide heights, normally on a full moon, the water can be extremely fast moving and dangerous, especially on rivers and estuaries.
The tide flow moves the fastest at mid tide and is the most dangerous. At high and low tide the flow is the slowest and is least dangerous.
Always wear your leash around your waist when paddleboarding in fast moving water.
Timing your river paddle
The best time to paddleboard on a tidal river or estuary is an hour before and after high tide.
If you launch an hour before high tide, you can paddle up the river with the incoming tide flow pushing you along. Once the tide turns you can paddle back to your start point with the help of the outgoing tide flow.