Is Your Paddleboard Equipped With the Proper Safety Gear?

by Carmen Dellutri on July 11, 2013

Naples accident lawyerPaddleboards are increasingly popular in Florida, whether in the ocean or on a lake. However, many don’t realize that the unique boards are considered more like kayaks than surfboards when it comes to boating regulations.

In fact, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) has determined that a paddleboard is a vessel in most situations and is required to have the same safety equipment as other small human-powered vessels like canoes and kayaks. As further explained by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, this means that paddleboarders must follow the following rules:

  • Unless the paddleboard is being used within a “swimming, surfing or bathing area,” the paddleboard must have a USCG-approved life jacket for each person and a sound-producing device on board while on the water.
  • Although persons on the paddleboard are not required to wear the life jacket while on Florida waters (unless they are less than 6 years of age), it is advisable to find a comfortable life jacket that you can wear or easily carry while on the water.
  • A "sound-producing device" is a small whistle or horn that can be heard for a least one-half nautical mile. "Referee-type" whistles or other similar devices that can be attached to your life jacket should work well.
  • If you are operating in limited visibility or at night, you will also need a flashlight or lantern that produces a white light. It should be displayed to approaching vessels in enough time to prevent a collision. The light should not be continually displayed.
  • If using a paddleboard offshore or on certain coastal waters at nighttime, visual distress signals may be required, per the Code of Federal Regulations.

Following these rules will not only ensure that you meet Florida’s boating regulations, but will also keep you safe. Unfortunately, paddleboards are some of the smallest vessels on the water and offer little protection from a careless operator of a boat or personal watercraft.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Cape Coral accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Cape Coral injury attorneys for a free consultation.

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