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SUPing with a Personal Flotation Device

Posted by Catherine Morris on

One of the great things about stand up paddle boarding is that you can get out on the water in a wide range of locations. This also means that you'll encounter a variety of conditions, which can often be changeable, so it's important that safety is always a priority. Research proves that wearing a life jacket or PFD if you get in to difficulty will increase your chances of survival by up to four times.  Professor Mike Tipton, MBE, the UK's leading cold water survival expert, states that “Whatever your activity, wearing a well-fitted, well-maintained and suitable lifejacket or buoyancy aid could save your life.”

Around 85% of incidents happen at open water sites and the main reason is purely a lack of knowledge and understanding of hazards.  Without a lifejacket or buoyancy aid, even the most competent swimmer will suffer from ‘swim failure’ after 30 minutes of swimming in cold water but, by wearing a lifejacket or PFD such as the Airbelt PFD, you can conserve your energy and focus instead on keeping warm and making yourself visible.

Why a PFD is important for SUP safety

The national boating safety advisory council’s research proves that 86% of all boating fatalities, which happen over a wide range of water-based and waterside activities, would have been avoided by wearing a PFD. As with any waterborne vessel, when you’re on a SUP you’re at the mercy of the weather and conditions, wearing a Personal Flotation Device could help to save your life. Indeed, a growing number of countries/states and events are making it compulsory to wear a PFD in certain areas and these rules are being enforced with fines for those choosing not to comply which isn't surprising with worldwide drowning statistics hitting 400,000 each year.  


Life Vest style Buoyancy Aid Versus Belt Personal Flotation Devices

There are many advantages of wearing a belt PFD instead of a Life Vest. Most importantly, Life Vests are more of a buoyancy aid which purely offer buoyancy in the water whereas once deployed, the Red Original waistbelt PFD works as a lifejacket and supports the head clear of the water. In addition to this, as a belt PFD is more compact, less bulky and worn around the waist instead of on the chest and back, it is far less obtrusive, allowing a greater range of movement for whatever activity you’re doing. They’re also much cooler in warm weather. Buoyancy aids at level 50N such as our Red Original Airbelt are recommended for use by swimmers in sheltered waters or where help is close at hand. They do not, however, have sufficient buoyancy to protect a person who is unable to help themselves or swim.

Why choose Red Original’s Airbelt PFD?

Airbelt PFDWe teamed up with lifejacket experts Baltic to create our Airbelt Personal Flotation Device for those who are looking for a less bulky but safe buoyancy aid. Not only is it stylish but it also gives the user maximum freedom and comfort.

Our PFD is perfect for a wide range of watersports, including stand up paddle boarding, canoeing and kayaking, providing you with buoyancy if you get into difficulty. In the unlikely event of getting into trouble it will keep you afloat, reduce the need to swim and keep you visible for help.

Our Red Original Airbelt PFD comes with a 5 year guarantee and is suitable for adults and older children between 40 & 130 kgs. It’s made out of a superior waterproof fabric with the added benefit of a storage pocket handy for keeping essentials dry and safe. Click here to shop the Red Original Airbelt PFD now.


How to put on the Red Original Personal Flotation Device

The easy to grab handle ensures the PFD will be in place within just 3 simple steps: pull out, put on and inflate. We believe that inflating after donning is easier than trying to put on an already-inflated jacket, if you are in the water. The style of the neck ensures it automatically adjusts to fit individual necks with the snug fit designed to keep your head above water. 

How is the Buoyancy of a Flotation Device Measured? 

Buoyancy is measured in Newtons (N), which are the International System of Units (SI) derived unit of force.  Named after Isaac Newton, a Newton is roughly a KG of upward force.  50N is the level of buoyancy the Red Original PFD offers.

Most adults only need 20-30N of buoyancy to float - with or without clothing.  Expertly designed and tested our compact PFD at 50N is more than adequate to support someone and keep their head above water.

Using a PFD for Water Sports

Personal Flotation Devices should be consider for all watersports. Waist belt PFD's are ideal for standup paddleboarding, SUP Yoga, kayaking, canoeing and even fishing.  They are also suitable for dingy sailing, rowing boats or even snorkelling.

Whilst PFDs come in an array of designs, from jackets, to vests, to belts, whatever the design it should always be a snug fit once on.

Wearing a PFD is just one of the measures you should take to help you stay safe whilst paddleboarding, find out more on our Red Paddle co blog here.

Find out more about the Red Original Personal Flotation Device

If you would like to know more about the Red Original Airbelt PFD or have any questions, contact the Red Original Team.

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