Whether you’re stand-up paddle boarding on a river, lake or ocean, also impacts the rules you must follow.
If you’re planning to take on the waves on a stand-up paddle board, there are some rules that you need to follow. These rules will protect you and your fellow stand-up paddle boarders.
Who has priority varies depending on the type of water you’re on. There are different rules for sea, river and lake stand-up paddle boarding. Here are some of the basic guidelines.
Who has priority at sea is determined by who has the most manoeuvrability. Sea crafts with more manoeuvrability are expected to give way to those with less. As such, stand-up paddle boarders have priority over fast, motorised boats like speedboats and must give way to sea vessels like sailboats or tugboats as these boats can’t move as swiftly as you can.
The British coast guard considers rivers and lakes to be enclosed bodies of waters. On these waters, stand-up paddle boards are small crafts. According to the rules of priority, stand-up paddle boarders must give way to boats bigger than 15m, like barges and cruisers, as well as sailboats. However, motorised boats, less than 15 m, must give way to stand-up paddle boarders.
In the UK, you need a license to travel on inland waterways. You can buy a permit as part of a British Canoe Union (BCU) membership, or from one of the three organisations that manage British waterways.
In addition to following the above rules, you also need to use common sense when stand-up paddle boarding. Never head out in rough stormy conditions and always check the weather before hitting the water. As you practice your techniques, make sure to stay close to shore, so you never end up out of your depth (water or skill level wise). Following the rules and making good decisions is the perfect equation for a fun-filled day on your stand-up paddle board.