When on the water, you will find all kinds of mighty vessels enjoying a day away from the dock. You will see yachts, fishing boats, pontoon boats, sail boats, and paddle boards? Yes, they might not seem like they are something you would call a vessel on the water, yet paddle boards are many times considered personal watercraft, and treated the same way when it comes to admiralty law, rules and regulations. Failure to adhere to these rules might come back on you if something happens. They might even come back on you if nothing happens, if the coast guard finds you not following them.
Avoiding trouble with the authorities isn’t the only problem you can run into if you fail to adhere to rules and regulations relating to personal watercraft. If you get injured on a paddleboard because of someone else, you might find some issues collecting insurance because you were actively ignoring safety protocols. Some insurance companies will try and find holes in your coverage to avoid large payouts. To avoid running into these issues, follow these few simple rules while out on a paddleboard. Not only will they help in case you get injured, they might even prevent you from being injured in the first place.
Bring a Life Vest and Sound Maker: When you go paddle boarding, just like any watercraft, you are required to bring a life vest and at least a whistle. You don’t have to wear the life vest, you just have to have it on your board. The only areas that don’t require these are designated swimming areas.
Make Sure Children Wear Life Vests: Any child under six years of age are required to wear a life vest when on a paddle board.
Bring Light at Night: If you decide to go out for some night time paddle boarding, or spend a bit too much time on the water and find the sun going down before you get back to shore, make sure you have a white light present on the paddle board. Have it handy to signal other watercraft in the area to your presence. The light does not have to be constantly on, just used to signal.
Check to See if More is Needed: If you are paddle boarding in certain coastal waters or paddle boarding offshore, especially at night, a visual distress signal such as flares might be required as well.
Following these simple rules will keep you paddleboarding legally, safely, and with the peace of mind of knowing if the worse happens, you are prepared. Even with these precautions though, there are still dangers when out on your paddleboard. Just because you are safe, doesn’t mean the people flying down the canal in their speedboats will be. Even in areas that prohibit wakes, people will still fly through them. If you are injured by one of these reckless boaters, contact Ward T. Berg to make sure you get the compensation you deserve, including damage to your personal property, medical coverage, and compensation for time lost at work. These cases fall under negligence and admiralty law, both cases Accident Attorney Ward T. Berg covers.