One exciting way to get out on the water is by using stand up paddle boarding. However, before you decide to enjoy this wonderful sport, it is important to ensure that you’re fully prepared. The main preparation for water sport is safety, and you need to ensure this before you begin. You can start with a life jacket for paddle boarding.
A lot of people often ask whether a life jacket for paddle boarding is a must. For safety reasons, you might want to always have a life jacket with you. However, there’s a limit to the extra stuff you can carry along for paddle boarding. There are laws covering life jacket requirements, and it is important to know this before anything.
For example, if you are padding in an area that’s not suitable for surfing, bathing, or swimming, you’ll need a USCG-approved life jacket. Also, kids age 12 years and below must wear a life jacket all the time.
In general, personal floatation devices are essential as safety equipment for all sports. They act as a buoyancy aid, and their importance cannot be overemphasized.
Types of Life Jacket for Paddle Boarding
There are different types of life jacket for paddle boarding available, which often makes it difficult to choose an ideal one. Of all the different types of life jackets, the most people factor is how comfortable it is to wear. This is especially in terms of the flexibility of the jacket and how well it fits.
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There are five different categories of personal floatation devices, and this is based on the USCG classification. However, a vast majority of SUP boarders, canoers, and kayakers often select the Type III or Type V. This is because both types are comfortable and are better suited for these activities.
Here are the different categories of PFDs and life jackets for paddle boarding:
Type I PFDs
The Type I PFDs are better suited for use in remote or rough waters, especially where rescue may not be prompt. Even though this type of PFD is usually bulky, they offer the highest level of buoyancy. What’s more, is that it can turn an unconscious person to a face-up position. It is worth mentioning that the type I PFD is the type that’s available on most commercial vessels. They are also available in inflatable or hybrid designs.
Type II PFDs
This category is designed for calm inland waters, especially where rescue is faster. Unlike the Type I PFDs, the Type II PFD has a less bulky design. It is also not as expensive as the Type I PFD and also not as comfortable as the Type III PFD. The good thing about this category of PFD is that they can also turn unconscious users to a face-up position. Like the Type I PFD, they also come in inflatable and hybrid designs.
Type III PFDs
A vast majority of paddlers prefer this type because they are ideal for areas where there’s a higher chance for a quick rescue. Unlike the other PFDs mentioned earlier, the type III PFDs offer a higher degree of comfort and freedom of movement. What’s more, is that this is available for a continuous period of time. It is worth mentioning that this design is suitable for paddlers that can put themselves in the face-up position. Also, the paddlers would need to tilt their heads to help them avoid being face down.
Type IV PFDs
The type IV type of PFDs is designed to be thrown at a conscious person who is having a hard time in the water. They serve as a backup system for the other types of PFDs we’ve mentioned. Examples of these PFDs include buoyant cushions and rings. Another thing to note about these PFDs is that they are not ideal for use on SUPs, kayaks, and canoes.
Type V PFDs
This type of PFDs is mostly regarded as a special-use device because they are mostly utilized in specific activities. For the USCG to accept this type of device, it is expected that it must be worn all the time. This type of PFDs can be used for a variety of activities. This includes windsurfing, waterskiing, kayaking, and as deck suits. Like all the other categories mentioned above, the type V PFDs also come in inflatable or hybrid designs.
Alternatives – Other Vital Equipment for Paddle boarding
Safety should always be a priority when SUP boarding and a life jacket for paddle boarding is undoubtedly very important for this purpose. However, even though the like jacket can solve most of the issues you’re likely to encounter, you might other equipment. This is because there are a few other problems that you might encounter during your adventure.
There are so many things to put into consideration when selecting equipment that you’ll need for SUP boarding. One piece of equipment you might want to consider bringing along is the leash.
For safety reasons, the leash is a vital equipment for SUP boarding. This is because it helps to keep ankles secured. Leash also ensures that the board does not float to a far distance whenever you fall off. Coiled leashes are designed such that it doesn’t interfere with users while on the SUP board. The leash would only extend whenever you fall off the board.
For beginners and people who aren’t perfect swimmers, the leash is not necessary an important consideration. However, it is important to note that without a leash, it may be more difficult to retrieve your board. Also, for people who aren’t strong swimmers, having the board close by is a plus.
There are different types of life jacket for paddle boarding available, and if you’re wondering whether it’s a must, you might need to consider safety. This is because safety is the most important thing for any water activity, including paddle boarding. In addition to safety, you might want to consider the style of the board and comfort.
In addition to life jackets, there are other vital equipment that can help improve safety. An example of this is the leash, which is also a handy safety tool for paddle boarding activities.