As summer picks up and the cool breeze of your local lake, river, or saltwater beach beckons you to get away from work and onto the water, you’re probably considering something right now; getting one of those weird boards everyone else is floating around on when you pass the local waterway up every day.
Those are paddle boards, and they’re a blast to use for a wide variety of reasons. You can use them for everything from simply floating around to inshore fishing.
However, you’re probably wondering how safe they are unless you’re a real daredevil. After all, they go on the water, you don’t have a seatbelt or anything to keep you on them, and they require a little balance.
So, are they safe to use?
Well, yes. They’re actually one of the safest “watercraft” you can use. They don’t move too quickly unless you make them do so with your own body strength and skill, they’re easier to balance on than other boards, and you just fall into the water if you do lose your balance.
However, there are still risks you need to be aware of. We’ll go over the top three risks you should know about and how to minimize them. If you follow the following rules, you’ll enjoy a safe, pleasant, paddleboarding experience.
1: Use Common Sense
This is the biggest thing you can do to stay safe. If a storm is coming in, get off your board. If you see an iconic pointy fin nearby, get back to shore. Don’t take your paddleboard into hazardous areas such as harsh runoffs, white-water streams, and other places where falling and hurting yourself is likely.
The first step to making it a safe experience is to just use your head a little bit. This also means not letting the fun nature of paddleboarding get the best of you. Stay mindful, don’t drink or smoke anything, and generally make sure you’re in the right mindset to handle yourself on the water.
2: Stay Tethered
You may or may not wear a life jacket while paddleboarding. We recommend that all paddleboarders, especially beginners, wear one for sure. However, they can impede certain activities as you develop your skills.
Even if you have one on, your paddleboard is your lifeline. If you fall off, it can float away, and that lifeline is gone. You’ll just be swimming around in the water until you get back to shore, get rescued, or something worse happens.
Luckily, paddleboards have a tether that you tie to your ankle or wrist. If you fall off, the board can’t go too far away from you.
3: Know How to Swim
Finally, you’re going to be on the water. You’re also not stuck on top of your board, and you can easily fall off. That’s typically not a big deal, and it can even be fun to take a quick dip. However, it’s your responsibility to make sure you have sufficient swimming skills to ensure you’re not relying on the board to keep you from drowning. If you can’t swim, take some classes and learn how to before you get a paddleboard.