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Old 10-21-2014, 09:04 PM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Default USCG SUP Regs (PFDs, Noise Devices, Nav Lights, etc.)

From the NW USA, where the regs seemed to have started in the first place for whatever reason. It might be good to confirm these in Florida although with a Federal agency, there shouldn't be that much difference in theory.

"Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) US Coast Guard Regulations: The Story

by Geoff James | Oct 21, 2014

Jen Fuller penned this writeup recently from an exchange with a couple of US Coast Guard personnel she had out at Ft. Baker (home of the US Coast Guard Station Golden Gate). Suffice to say that the Coast Guard is enforcing their standup paddler safety regulations for a PFD and other safety gear while paddling on San Francisco Bay."


"Two different Coast Guard representatives came up to us, unbeknownst to the other, and let us know that SUP folks now need to have a PFD, a whistle and, if on the water before or after sunset, a light. They also both said that they would “board our vessel” if there was a question if any of these items were not on board. This last statement brought a smile to our faces because of the image of a Coasty boarding a SUP. I guess swimming is part of the drill?"


"Here is the write up on SUP from the Coast Guard:

“The Coast Guard determined that SUPs (standup paddle boards) are “vessels” when operating “beyond the narrow confines of a surfing, swimming or bathing area.”

A vessel, according to 1 USC 3 “includes ever description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used. Or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water.”

What does this mean to a boarding officer?:

It means that if you (officer) see an SUP operating:

A. In the surf or swimming/bathing area, leave it alone.

B. On other waters, treat it as a kayak or other paddlecraft.

What Boating Safety regulations apply to a SUP?

Like any paddlecraft, a SUP operating outside a surfing or swimming area is subject to the NAVRLES, carriage requirements for PFDs, VDS, sound producing device, navigation lights and accident reporting.

What Kind of Lifejackets are required on a SUP?

Just as with other boats, children (12 years old and under in CA) must wear a lifejacket. Adults must have one onboard. PFDs must be Coast Guard approved and either Type I, II, or III.

Note: For people 16 years and older, who can swim and are comfortable in the water, a good choice is an inflatable lifejacket. They are less cumbersome and come in suspender style and belt –pack style.

What kind of sound producing device is required on a SUP?

A whistle will suffice for a sound-producing device.

What about Navigation Lights?

As with any rowboat, kayak, or other paddlecraft, the operator of a SUP need only carry a flashlight that can be shined in enough time to avoid collision. They are not required to have installed navigation lights.

What about Visual Distress Signals (VDS)?

For boats in CA, VDS are only required when operating offshore. If a SUP is operating offshore it would be required to carry VDS under the following circumstances:

A. It the SUP is less then 16 feet long the operator need only carry VDS if operating between sunset and sunrise.

B.If the SUP is 16 feet longer, the operator needs to carry both day and night VDS anytime it is underway (33 CFR 175.110 (a)."

Please read the complete article at:

FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi
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