Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a great activity for the whole family, both out on the ocean and on open water environments.

Water Skills Academy SUP Safety Tips

Water Skills Academy (WSA) has put together a series of short videos that explain the top ten tips for safer SUPing on different waterways and in changing conditions. The videos are hosted on our YouTube channel and feature world-record stand-up paddleboard adventurer Cal Major. We urge you to take on board Cal’s advice, to understand how to paddle responsibly so that everyone can enjoy water safely.

Red Paddle SUP Safety Tips

We have teamed up with Red Paddle to simplify the safety messages to help you SUP safely. Although the buoyancy of a board provides a crucial floatation aid in an emergency, it is important to consider our safety tips to enjoy your stand up paddleboard session.

Top water safety tips for SUP - PLOT your paddle

  • Personal Floatation Device - Always wear a buoyancy aid - if you fall into the water it will help you float and keep your airway clear
  • Leash - Use an ankle leash for surf or non-flowing water and a quick release waist-belt leash for flowing water or tidal waterways
  • Offshore Winds - Check the weather conditions, taking note of local currents and the wind direction - DO NOT paddle in offshore winds
  • Telephone - Take a mobile phone with you in a waterproof pouch, if you are in trouble -  call 999. Ask for the Fire and Rescue Service when inland and the Coastguard if at the coast. 

Further tips for your SUP session

  • If you get into difficulty, stay on top of your board and signal for help
  • If you fall into the water and lose you board - Stay calm, float on your back and call for help
  • Let somebody know where you are heading and what time you're due to be back
  • Paddle with somebody else, it's more fun and they can help in an emergency
  • Launch and recover in the relevant lifeguarded zone (black and white flags if at the coast)
  • Understand your capability in the conditions, if you're unsure paddle another day
  • Stay clear of swimmers and other paddlers

Bystander rescue during your SUP session

Bystanders rescues save lives - you could play a critical role in saving somebody's life 

  • If there is a dedicated rescue service on land raise the alarm with them before you attempt a rescue
  • Take a mobile phone with, if you see somebody in trouble in the water -  call 999. Ask for the Fire and Rescue Service when inland and the Coastguard if at the coast. 
  • Never enter the water to rescue - Your personal safety, in any situation is the number one priority 
  • Avoid direct contact with somebody in trouble. Your paddle is a good reaching aid that you can release quickly
  • Know how to perform CPR and learn some basic lifesaving skills

Want to learn more? Watch this safety video by Red Paddle

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