Now the doors are at long last open we can finally dust off our boards and take to the water this season. With a year's worth of exploring to catch up on we do have to remind ourselves on making sure we safe whilst out on the water for both ourselves and each other.
Whether you’re a seasoned paddler with multiple miles to your belt or you are a first timer looking to take up one of the best watersports available. We all need to make sure we’re staying safe on the water and also help educate new paddlers to ensure we’re enjoying our waters safely. In this blog we share with you some key principles to follow to make it easy to stay safe on the water this summer!
Remember PLOT Before You Paddle
With so many factors to consider when heading out the water, we've simplified it down to a few key essentials to remember. So grab your paddle boarding buddy and remember to PLOT.
P – Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
Very much like wearing a helmet when riding a bike, wearing a PFD (personal floatation device) is a must even if you’re a confident swimmer. For those who are more water confident a waist belt such as the Air Belt PFD is a quick and easy solution for those just-in -case moments. If you did find yourself needing a little support whilst in the water or to keep you a float. Simply pull the bladder from the pouch, pop over your head and pull the toggle to inflate the bladder. The air can be topped up through the mouthpiece should you need to. The CO2 cartridges can be replaced for your next outing, so you’re recharged and ready to go!
If perhaps you would like instant floatation or you’re not a confident swimmer Buoyancy Aids provide a safe and snug fit and require no activation. Buoyancy Aids are superb if you’re looking for a custom fit depending on your weight. Whilst all Buoyancy Aids require to be CE approved the fit and cut do vary and each have their own unique features such as pockets and whether they are fitted with a front zip, over the head or over lapping with clips. We recommend you check out your local paddle sports shop and try a few on.
Wearing a SUP leash is like wearing a seatbelt in a car. Staying attached to your board will give you the best chance of getting back on your board and being seen by others. Afterall your board is your life raft when it comes to self rescue. It’s important to inspect your leash regularly for any abrasion or damage and secure the leash comfortably yet snugly on your leg below the knee.
Using The Correct Leash
A coiled leash is perfect for flat still water paddling such as lakes canals and flat waterways. A straight leash is used for moving water such as surf and rivers. If you’re paddling on a moving river you should wear a quick release belt around your waist to attach your leash to. This can be quickly unclipped if your leash or board gets snagged or caught.
O - Offshore Winds
If you’re coastal paddling or on open water we should never go out in off shore winds as that is exactly where we will end up. Check the weather right up to you’re about to launch and during your paddling session. Plan for changeable winds or alternative routes should you need a back plan. If you’re not too sure don’t go out, if your paddling location has lifeguards on standby chat with them about the local conditions.
Pop your phone in a Waterproof Pouch and keep with you at all times make sure it’s fully charged and someone knows where you plan on paddling and a rough time of when you will be back. If you’re using various mapping apps or tracking apps make sure you’re familiar with how they work as some require you to always have signal. Being familiar with all of your equipment and technology can really help iron out any issues.
Explore Safely this Summer
Wherever you paddle and whoever you paddle with make sure you’re always wearing a PFD and a leash. The world of paddle boarding is a great one and by following a few core principles and educating others to do the same will ensure we can continue to explore hit the water this summer!